Driving Performance and Demonstrating Value in a Staff Counsel Organization

Does your staff counsel organization sometimes struggle to demonstrate its value in comparison to outside counsel? This is a common challenge. Capturing data and analyzing metrics can give staff counsel the “apples to apples” comparison they need to show how they stack up against the cost and case outcomes of outside counsel.

Staff counsel organizations are under pressure to increase efficiency and do more with less. This calls for using available resources in the smartest possible way with minimal manual intervention. Effective analytics help teams to successfully manage caseloads and assign appropriate staffing levels. A good metrics program also provides insight into high-risk cases, identifying early those that may require additional efforts or resources. Metrics also help to shine a light on areas of strength and identify opportunities for improvement for staff counsel leadership. This supports well-informed management decisions and improved department operations.

Most staff counsel organizations will benefit from implementing the following core metrics:

Open/Close Case Counts (Churn Report)

This metric serves as a high-level measure of case management effectiveness. Comparing open and closed case counts can help flag potential needs, such as better use of case plans, increased settlement rates, or even hiring additional resources.

Cycle Time

Longer cases are more expensive, so shortening average cycle times directly translates into cost savings. Measuring cycle time helps you understand the true risk profile of your claims and save on litigated claim costs, in terms of both legal spend and indemnity.

Task/Overdue Task

It is critical that case tasks – such as the letter to claims accepting a case and communications with the court – be completed on time to avoid penalties or even negative case outcomes. This metric makes it easy to monitor tasks consistently and keep the task completion rate high.

Effective Cost Per Case

Reporting back to claims on the cost of cases is important for measuring budgetary performance and effective cost of the staff counsel operation. This report displays the true total cost of the case, broken out by legal fees, legal expenses, and indemnity outcome – settlement or judgment.

Case Assessment

Outside counsel frequently completes early case assessments on matters - and staff counsel should as well. This information allows the claims department to understand the essential case elements and captures key data for segmentation in additional reporting.

Effectiveness

This metric provides a big-picture view of staff counsel performance. Usually a dashboard report aggregating elements like cost comparisons, effective costs, and staffing notes, this report helps demonstrate how staff counsel is providing true value when compared with outside counsel.

These are the most common metrics that prove useful to staff counsel leadership, and it is therefore best to consider implementing them in your organization. However, your particular business and operational goals will determine the specific mix of metrics that will be most useful to you. The key is to begin collecting and analyzing your data in a disciplined manner so that it can begin to yield benefits as soon as possible.

Our whitepaper Six Core Staff Counsel Metrics dives deeper into these metrics with additional guidance on what they can tell you about your staff counsel operations and how to use the results to make improvements.


About The Author

Vince Venturella

Vince is the product manager responsible for the development of Wolters Kluwer's ELM Solutions insurance market offerings for claims and staff counsel. Vince is a strategic, results-oriented legal technology leader with a consistent record of improving processes, developing innovative solutions, and leading diverse product teams. He has worked in legal management consulting and technology solutions within the insurance market for almost a decade. Vince is a graduate of The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio.