Best reports for small in-house legal teams

Small in-house legal teams can use reports and dashboards to create a culture of streamlined legal efficiency and delivery, despite limited resources.

If you run a household on a tight budget, you need to look at your spend every week (perhaps every day!) to understand where your limited resources are being spent. You might pore over your bank account statements, the latest store discounts, looking for every opportunity to save money.

Critical facts: what is your bank balance, what is coming in, and what is going out. 

Likewise, running a business.

And a Legal Department.

For an in-house legal team, the currency is more than money: in-house legal workflow helps you understand legal requests that are coming in, and legal work that is going out? This helps you decide what must be prioritized - and what can be de-prioritized - given your limited resources?

If you are a small Legal Department, using reports to understand your workloads and work velocity can be a lifeline to achieving efficiency and streamlined work delivery to your internal clients, with limited resources. The top 5 reports for in-house legal teams to manage their legal workflow include:

  1. Volume: what is the current work 'balance' and existing capacity available to address it?
  2. Clients: who are your most demanding clients, and what do they need?
  3. Budget: how much have you spent, do you expect to spend and with whom?
  4. Matters List: what are the biggest issues, and what is their current status?
  5. Executive Summary: snapshot of work composition to communicate with stakeholders.

Report #1: In-House Legal Team Volume

How busy are you? Really? Do you know how to answer this question?

"I'm buried."

"Things are crazy."

"I have so much to do I can't see straight."

Emoji options: πŸ˜±πŸ˜«πŸš«πŸ˜¨πŸ™ˆ

But if you want to quantify your work, so that you can:

  • manage delivery expectations from your clients
  • build a business case for more resources
  • compare this quarter to last quarter
  • understand why your matter management load feels so different / awful

you need to run reports that show you the work by volume, weighted for size, risk or other metrics that impact workload, such as complexity, or strategic importance.

In the short term, this may show data in isolation - how does it look today (you can now answer: "I'm juggling 30+ matters all due next week")? Over the longer term, you can compare this volume quarter on quarter, or year on year, to see variances across time, seasons or due to structural changes. 

Compare volume with the resources in your team to identify where gaps might exist for managing the workload. Though in your small in-house legal team everybody may be juggling heavy workloads, some may have more flexible deadlines than others, or short term capacity with longer term need for assistance. 

An in-house capacity dashboard will help you to visualize team capacity and move legal work around to manage the collective blood pressure of your team.


Report #2: Your Business Clients

Where does the legal work come from? Again - do you know how to answer this? The squeaky wheel gets oiled, but what if that squeaky wheel has only one matter... and it's not even high priority?

By quantifying legal work requests through your in-house matter management software, or via legal intake, you can quickly create a visualization of the work to help you understand your most regular business clients. Adding a priority or risk rating, will help you to identify where the greatest demand exists, together with its relative importance, and help you to consider resourcing options, including additional training, automation, self-help tools, outsourcing and more.

Xakia Analysis Report

Report #3: Your In-House Legal Budget

You may outsource only small amounts of work or almost everything, but you should still know where you stand at any point in time. This includes:

  • Amount billed per matter
  • Amount budgeted per matter
  • Amount billed per firm
  • Amount billed per time period (this year / this quarter / trending over time)
  • Amount budgeted for current year

This allows you to track potential overrun and keep your budget in check. An in-house matter management system will keep this information at a minimum, and modern matter management software will surface this information in interactive dashboards and reports for ease of analysis, so that your small legal team can click a button, and not have to moonlight as a data analyst. 

Xakia spend dashboard - simple, powerful, affordable

Report #4: Matters List

The work matters (no pun intended). You need to stay on top of the major business-critical issues week-to-week, if not day-to-day. A clear, simple list that sets out the matter, key data points and the latest status update will keep you abreast of the updates you need. For stakeholders such as CEO and Board, this report may also be relevant to ensure that updates on high risk matters are easily delivered and digested.

Again, a click of the button saves the time of an email update request and collation time by any member of the team. Amen to that!

Concise matters list

Report #5: Executive Summary

Perhaps the most important of all is the report that brings critical information together in a single page report. For a small Legal Department, having a way to quickly visualize, digest and action the metrics that matter will help to understand and shape resourcing of business demands.

Small legal team General Counsel should prioritize running and reading legal reports, and sharing these with their teams and stakeholders so that everybody is (literally and figuratively) on the same page, focused on the same metrics and the same outcomes.  

Xakia short executive summary report

Get powerful reports with in-house legal software

To learn more about Xakia's in-house matter management and legal analytics software - purpose built for teams of 2 to 20 - and how it can help you manage your small legal department, get in touch with the team today for a demo OR start your free 14-day trial here.



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