Advantage of Using BSC For Legal Departments

Using the BSC for legal department measurement and evaluation is a technique that may be employed by a lot of companies in order to determine the performance level of their legal departments. This way, the method of evaluation is made simpler and more efficient with the use of a time-tested and proven evaluation tool.

The legal department of a company is in charge of making sure that the rules, regulations, and policies of the company are being carried out and observed by its members. Also, the department is given the task of handling all the legal matters that may be faced by the company, such as entering into contracts, making proposals, handling internal disputes, discipline of members, and the institution of suits and answering them, in case the company is made subject of one. This shows that the legal department has one of the most critical functions in the company structure. Hence, there is a need to constantly monitor its performance and effectiveness.

The present day has a large demand for satisfactory metrics and performance indicators in order to properly gauge the value of the legal services that are delivered by the concerned department in a company. Being a part of the latter, the success of the company has a large bearing in the success of the legal department because it handles one of the most crucial aspects of the functions of the company.

In taking consideration of the basic perspectives that affect a company, such as the financial, customer, internal business processes, and learning and growth, in relation to the vision and strategy of the company, the performance of each department can be better evaluated because of the specific concentration on each perspective. More so in legal departments, where in certain cases, the very existence of the company is placed on the table. The relationship of the legal department to the company in terms of the four perspectives involved in the balanced scorecard is also highlighted in the determination of its performance level.

As a feature, the balanced scorecard is a very simple measurement and evaluation tool to use in gauging the performance level of a department, or the company as a whole. Also, this instrument is a very economical tool to use. This reality is contrary to the general idea that using performance evaluation tool is a very complicated process, needing the expertise of measurement and evaluation experts and causing the company to incur a lot of expenses. With the fact of its ease of use and economical nature, the company will undoubtedly experience a more efficient evaluation process without the allotment of a lot of expense.

The value of the legal department to a company cannot be discounted. Using the BSC for legal department evaluation will certainly prove to be a good move for the company, considering that efficiency and economy are always in the forefront of the list of objectives of every company. All that has to be done is to know how to implement the tool and everything can be expected to flow downhill from there.

What Are Tournament Legal Golf Rangefinders?

The concept of a Tournament Legal Golf Rangefinder has only existed since the USGA and R&A added an extension to Rule 14/3b back in 2006. Rule 14/3b stipulates that a player is prohibited from using any artificial device or unusual equipment for the purpose of gauging or measuring distance or conditions that might affect his play, and the penalty for breaching this rule is disqualification.

This rule in its own right means that any type of golf rangefinder at that point was deemed to be illegal for use in competitions or tournaments. The extension to the rule simply states that “The Committee may make a Local Rule allowing players to use devices that measure or gauge distance only”.

This now means that golf course committees and tournament organisers can apply this local rule to allow players to use a rangefinder that provides distance measurements only in their competitions (which most of them do now!). So the definition of a Tournament Legal Golf Rangefinder is one which has the ability to provide yardage distance measurements only and is used under tournament or competition conditions where the local rule has been enforced.

If you are looking to buy a golf rangefinder and use it in competition it is important that you check it is Tournament Legal and only provides distance measurements because there are lots of rangefinders now available that offer additional features including adjusted yardage measurements for slope angle, temperature and altitude conditions, as well as ones that provide suggestions on club selection.

Although these more advanced type of rangefinders are excellent coaching and training tools and may appear more exciting, at this moment in time they are deemed to be illegal for tournament play, so it is only advisable to buy one of these devices if you are only looking to use it in friendly competition or for practicing purposes.

Tournament Legal Golf Rangefinders also tend to provide you with a very useful scan mode which enables you to pan across the landscape and receive a continuous display of accurate distance measurements to the targets that you scan over. This is a great facility to help with locating lay up points or judging carry distances greenside bunkers or lakes.

Some of the new Tournament Legal Golf Rangefinders currently on offer have become so incredibly fast and accurate at producing results that they can have a maximum distance range of anywhere up to a mile and be accurate to within inches.

Legal Efficiency

Corporations are continuously looking for ways to become more efficient. Process improvement programs once only utilized in the manufacturing sector are now a dominant presence in all industries. The goal is to improve efficiency and as a result improve the bottom line. There are performance metrics for the organization, employees, suppliers and even customers. Thus, it is a natural outcome that legal management would also be scrutinized for efficiency.

During the summer of 2005, Bottomline Technologies, the provider of eXchange, conducted a survey of the Fortune 1000 companies and AM Best 200 insurers regarding legal performance. E-mail invitations were sent to approximately 1,892 individuals and more than 10 percent responded. The results were reported at the ACC 2005 Annual Meeting.

The results of the survey indicated that the respondent law departments use law-firm performance data mostly to “award new work to high performers” (59% selected this response) and to “reduce the number of outside counsel” (47%). The least important uses of the performance data were to “help firms become more efficient (26%), “internal analysis only” (22%) and to “tie firm compensation to performance.” These results validate that companies are paying attention to their legal spend and allocating work to the most efficient firms.

The first step in maximizing legal efficiency is to align the organizational goals and objectives with those of legal counsel. Much of legal management is risk management. To be truly effective risk management programs must identify what is strategically important to the organization. In this way legal activities are focused on strategic objectives and higher organizational priorities. It also empowers the executive management team to confidently make business decisions because there will be a clear understanding the risk-reward propositions and operating level decisions will be evaluated within the context of the company’s overall strategies for undertaking and bearing risk.

Counsel should be provided with the organization’s strategic plan. Conversely the law firm should provide the organization with a written legal strategy. The legal services must satisfy the business purposes not the other way around.

Legal efficiency is also gained through specialization. More midsize firms are making the decision to specialize their practices in an effort to compete in a market filled with mega law firms. While this is a strategic decision that serves to differentiate the small firm and position them as an alternative to their behemoth competitors, it is a strategy that benefits the market place.

Specialization can improve productivity and efficiency. When a firm chooses to specialize and to limit their client base they are able to gain concentrated experience. They develop an extensive knowledge base around a specific area of law and achieve expediency in dealing with issues in this expertise. The firm that chooses to specialize is also able to achieve a competitive advantage by offering consistency of results in their chosen niche.

Specialty firms are able to achieve greater efficiencies as they do one thing and strive to do it better and faster than the general practice firm. Clients will gain specific expertise, time and cost savings.

It may be tempting to choose the low cost provider when it comes to legal spending but doing so could cost more money. While it is important to negotiate fees and fee structures, it is unwise to give too much weight to the hourly fee. The cheapest firm may not be the most efficient and as such will cost you more money. You may hire a firm that bills $200 per hour but because of lack of expertise, operating inefficiencies or poor management that $200 per hour can cost you more money in the long term than paying a higher hourly fee with the specific expertise and performance management that you need. In example, the $200 per hour firm may spend 40 billable hours in managing a particular legal matter. Another firm that charges $350 per hour may have handled the same legal matter in 10 billable hours.

There are a number of questions that can be asked to assess a firm’s efficiency. Does the firm appropriately outsource? Is the time spent appropriate to the task? Are task being handled at the most efficient level, i.e. is each member of the firm operating within their area of expertise and responsibility? How does the firm select its clients? Is the firm able to readily access historical knowledge? A law firm must have the expertise you need, the ability to readily access that expertise and must be able to apply that expertise in a time and cost efficient manner.

Finally, legal efficiencies can only be gained by applying rigor to the review process. Just as workflows are evaluated to maximize efficiency and productivity, so can legal management evaluate, analyze and compare costs, process, outcomes and best practices. Identify areas where operating efficiency and quality can be maximized. In reviewing, measuring and aggressively pursuing quality, you will develop a knowledge base that can be leveraged in future legal matters as well as improve your bottom line.