About the author

Edward Chang

National Account Executive with LexisNexis CounselLink

Data-Driven Vendor Management Scores a Home Run in Law Departments

By Edward Chang

Page Reading Time: 2 minutes

When you do an online search for, “what does an in-house legal department look like,” office images show people sitting around a table with laptops, papers, notebooks, pens, etc. None of it looks very technology- or data-driven.

But to anyone who thinks legal departments can’t be data-driven powerhouses, I have one word for you: Moneyball. That’s right, this baseball story is the perfect example of how you can use data-driven decisions—even in the most unconventional places—to drive success.

If you’re a sports fan or like inspiring stories, then you probably already know the story behind Moneyball the book, and later, the movie starring Brad Pitt. Just in case, here’s a quick recap:

When the Oakland A’s General Manager, Billy Beane is challenged with budget constraints, he decides to use deeper, data-driven strategies to recruit undervalued baseball players. Instead of relying on batting average, height, and weight normally associated with certain positions, Beane looked at in-game activity, such as how many times a player made it to base and scored a run. In the end, his data-driven team-building strategy led the Oakland A’s to win a record 20 consecutive games.

So what does all this have to do with legal departments? Billy Beane used data-driven decisions to build a winning team. Turns out, so can legal departments, using data from their vendor management solutions to build a winning team of outside counsel and law firms. In fact, baseball and vendor management overlap in several areas.

Managing Your Vendor Team

Every baseball team has a manager who oversees and is responsible for game strategy, lineup, practice, instruction, and more. Vendor management allows you to be the “team manager” of your vendor lineup with a holistic view and metrics into vendor costs, matter type distribution, efficiency, diversity, timekeeper performance, and more. These detailed metrics help you evaluate, comment, rate, and score firms, giving you the data you need to better manage and evaluate the value you receive from vendors.

Picking the Right Vendor

On a baseball team, all players have their designated position to play—a place on the field where they have proven to excel. With vendor management, you have a structured, data-driven process that shows which vendors excel at which type of legal work. With easy-to-use scorecards, you can quickly identify top, average, and low performers, making it easier to choose your key players.

Working as a Team with Your Vendors

To be successful in baseball, or any sport, the team has to work together as a cohesive unit—collaboration is essential. Vendor management makes it easier to collaborate with outside counsel and firms on matters, invoices, documents, fees, and even early payment terms. As result, you build a team roster of trusted relationships that are productive and rewarding.

From baseball to vendor management, data offers a tangible way to manage, monitor, and measure performance. For a law department, it’s important to build a winning team of vendors that it can count on to deliver results. And today, we have the technology to help in-house legal departments score unlimited homeruns using reliable data from vendor management solutions.