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Client case study: Building a metrics and reporting model for the in-house legal and compliance function of a global financial institution

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Cathleen Butt

Executive Director

New York

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Tom Wilkinson

Senior Consultant

London

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Eoin O'Connell

Principal Data Scientist

Belfast

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14 September 2021

When A&O Consulting was instructed by the in-house legal and compliance function of a major global financial institution to create a data-driven reporting program, the project led to the development of metrics and processes tailored to transform the client’s insights into its operations. A&O Consulting’s executive director Catie Butt, senior consultant Tom Wilkinson and principal data scientist Eoin O’Connell explain how they worked with the client to build a scalable platform, designing approximately 80 performance metrics in total, to measure and report the value of the function to the wider business and inform planning and decision-making by the legal team.

As the value of data becomes increasingly evident in all our activities, a growing number of General Counsel and legal operations leaders are exploring how to make better use of the data available to them. Not only can data help legal management teams to better track what is happening across their teams and operations to enhance performance, it can also help to anticipate and avoid risk.

Crucially, it can also demonstrate the value that legal and compliance brings to the wider business in achieving its strategic goals and objectives.

With this in mind, the legal and compliance department of a leading global financial institution approached us at the end of 2020 with a proposal to help advance its innovation objectives and enable it to use metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs) to better manage its operations and showcase its broader contribution.

The client had the strategic goal of being able to design dashboards which demonstrated the holistic performance of the function, and as such needed to consider a variety of metrics in the assessment of performance. Whether tracking metrics related to external spending, internal costs, client satisfaction, strategic objectives, matter management, risk or learning and development, the challenge was to identify how metrics could be as meaningful as possible and help to support decision-making at various levels of the organization.

Being a forward-thinking organization with a newly established legal operations function, the client had also recognized an opportunity to use data proactively rather than reactively in managing the department, and for actively mitigating issues before they became tangible.

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