Legal Analytics for Legal Department Resource Management

From Go to Grow: How to use legal analytics to select and stretch in-house internal and external legal resources

🤓 Math problem: There is only one pie and it must be consumed. It must be cut into uneven pieces, but each person must receive the exact same amount of pie. Cut too small and the pie pieces will crumble. Cut too big, and the pie pieces won't fit on an individual plate. How do you calculate the size of each pie piece and how much to give each person?

Bonus question: how do you re-calculate if the pie gets bigger and the pieces more plentiful, but the number of people consuming remains unchanged?!

Distribution of in-house legal work across finite resources is complicated: you must understand the work and the resources available to address the work, in order to maximize your output, but it comes in uneven (and sometimes unpredictable) chunks.

Legal data analytics can help you achieve a fair distribution of legal work across your Legal Department in four ways:

  1. Effectiveness: Understand how your team can have the most impact with their output.
  2. Automation: Know where and when automation can speed up the process.
  3. Capability gaps: Understand the work that needs to be done.
  4. Capacity gaps: Identify where capacity can be tapped for work delivery.

It is important to note that your in-house legal resources are not just about your in-house team: legal resources include a myriad of people, processes, tools and service providers available to you. Understanding them all, and how they each fit into this puzzle will help you to maximize your resourcing solution.



Maximizing your Legal Department resourcing is first about effectiveness rather than volume. Qualitative measures of each legal matter will help you with this understanding: strategic impact, complexity, risk and value. 

However you depict these metrics, be sure to have a way to immediately identify the legal work that:

  • should be prioritized (has high value)
  • sucks up your resources with no benefit (high complexity, low value)
  • can be delayed / ignored / eliminated (has low/no value)

Be ruthless. This will ensure that everything you do, and everywhere you 'spend' your resources, is as effective as possible.

Xakia quadrant - complexity and strategy

Depicting these choices graphically will help: your business stakeholders won't take kindly to being ignored or delayed, but they may tolerate it more if there is a clear means of communicating why their work has been deprioritized.

On the flip side, demonstrating how the Legal Department is increasing their impact on your organization's strategic goals through allocation of resources in this way will win you many friends and accolades. 


You cannot ignore your business clients forever, no matter how small or individually un-impactful (real word?) their request may be. Generative AI is all the rage for these sorts of problems, but not yet reliable / affordable / accessible enough to fill this gap. So leaning on the tools that are already available and helping to scale resources, namely automation, be sure to:

  • understand your repetitive / individually low risk matters (even if collectively they are higher risk)
  • make time to set up automated documents / self serve solutions for your business clients*
  • use reports to show your stakeholders how you are increasing volume of work throughput
  • use reports to show your stakeholders how your average turnaround time falls

* Automation is not an "all-or-nothing" solution. You may choose to keep a human-in-the-loop on requests, so that automated documents are sent to your Legal Department, giving them a big step forward on resolving a legal request, but not immediately putting the final document in the hands of the business clients. Explore your options to find the right solution for maximizing your resources, without compromising your quality.

Legal Department turnaround time

Capability gaps

In-House lawyers are masters of being across many areas of law. They must be generalists with a very deep knowledge on many different areas of specialization AND they must be able to apply this to the widely varied set of circumstances.

But even in-house lawyers with a myriad of skills have their limitations.

If you want to maximize your resourcing, you need to know where your various resources can be most effective so that you can point the right resource, to the right area of work.

The first step in this process is to understand the work that is being done:

  • Use legal data analytics to show clearly which categories of work are in hottest demand
  • Use legal data analytics to inspect who is doing this work most often (this can include the complexity and strategic value of each person's work)
  • If you do not have the internal capabilities for a growing area of law or a growing need within your organization, use dashboards / reports to identify which parts of your work should be outsourced to bespoke firms with specialist knowledge, or ALSPs (potentially in bulk for more effective / efficient rates)

Leaving the specialty work to the specialists will ensure that your resources are maximized without the need to go on a learning curve for every new legal request.

Xakia Legal Dept dashboard by category

Capacity gaps

Finally, it is critical that your use of analytics to understand where there is capacity. In an over-stretched team, this is a really tough question. Your best options may rest in points above around automation and outsourcing, but if those have been exhausted, consider the following:
  • Use a capacity dashboard to identify where there may be gaps. These may be timing gaps only (e.g. large projects with a short hiatus) or be relative in nature (everybody is equally busy, but some are "more equal" than others). 
  • Small as capacity gaps may be, this will help you to maximize every single person in the team.
  • If you use a traffic light system, interrogate the data to understand the type of work being done by those with 'green' lights and whether it can be managed / delayed / ignored in favour of more urgent and impactful work.

1769254_capacity dashboard graphics - update required_2_110723

Dividing the pie

Having maximized your resources and divided your workload pie into equal parts today, you do need to consider the best way to manage your resources moving forward. The above strategy does not, for example, consider long term skill development for more junior lawyers, an investment which is important for longer term resource optimization.

Be sure to consider a longer term optimal resourcing model for your workload and your business goals, and work toward this as you build out your in-house legal software, processes and resourcing model. Just remember - legal data analytics can help you to understand what you need and when you need it. 

Want to learn more about smart resourcing?

Download our legal resourcing quadrant fact sheet to see work types and resourcing plotted on a quadrant for highest impact.

Other posts you might like

Legal teams large and small rely on Xakia