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Legal Metrics Hires a Metrics Curator to Foster Awareness and Adoption of Client-Centric Metrics in Law Firms

NEW YORK CITY, NY (March 2, 2022) – LEGAL METRICS®, the Legal Tech data analytics company for Diversity and Legal Operations metrics, today announced the addition of Sara Lord as Legal Ops Metrics Curator and Evangelist. Sara joins the team from Bloomberg Industry Group

Legal Metrics supports the industry’s diversity, legal ops, and value leaders by providing a unique “diversity and legal ops system” within law firms to:

  • Automatically calculate and visualize metrics for internal and client reporting;
  • Provide an “app store” approach to metrics, whereby a firm can view client and industry survey metrics every month, for the monitoring of trends and compliance with client requirements; and
  • Complete industry surveys without all the manual calculations.

For legal departments, it provides no-cost, no-effort panel analysis and benchmarking for deeper engagement with panel firms.

Sara will focus on supporting the existing diversity initiatives of legal departments, industry surveyors, and advocacy groups. In parallel, she will be working with leaders across the industry to design additional metrics that our system can help automate and use for benchmarking like matter value and cycle time, ESG, and social impact. She will facilitate partnerships with progressive software providers, consultancies, and data sources to add value to existing systems in place in firms and departments today.

“We’re delighted to welcome Sara to our growing and passionate team of metrics provocateurs,” says David Cunningham, founder, and CEO of Legal Metrics. “The market is maturing so law firms are recognizing the need to provide their client-centric leadership (diversity, legal ops, value) with a professional system for visualizing monthly trends and results, just like they have done long ago for their CFOs, CMOs, and HR leaders. Partners responsible for clients are recognizing that getting surprised by a client’s legal ops and diversity analysis is a failure to recognize how the client assesses the firm’s value.”

“As a data analyst and former practicing attorney,” Sara says, “I am passionate about helping to advance the business of law through increased education, transparency, accountability, and data-driven decision-making. Legal Metrics’ offerings can facilitate change by providing crucial data in an easy-to-understand format to law firms and legal departments seeking to benchmark and improve their operations. I’m excited to join its mission to create much-needed visibility into business priorities and success factors, and move the industry forward!”

For media enquiries: info@legalmetrics.com Website: https://legalmetrics.com/

Welcome to the team!

Legal Metrics Scales for Growth with Key Hires

Legal Metrics, the data analytics company for diversity and legal operations, today (1 November) announced that it has hired Ryan Steadman as community & client engagement lead, and Vale (Valentin) Cantu as client onboarding lead. 

Legal Metrics supports diversity, legal ops, and value leaders by providing a unique “diversity and legal ops system” within law firms to automatically calculate and visualize all the metrics for law firm internal reporting, compliance with each client’s unique diversity or panel evaluation program, and for completion of industry surveys. For legal departments, it provides no-cost, no-effort panel analysis and benchmarking for deeper engagement with panel firms.

In Ryan Steadman’s new role, he will lead Legal Metrics’ engagement with its customers as well as its community of over 200 legal leaders who provide feedback on metrics and software features. He will listen to law firms, legal departments, and software and data providers to analyze requirements and define new ways to help law firms see themselves as their clients and potential clients already see them.

In addition to being known for his deep motivation of diversity initiatives, Steadman previously led growth for legal tech productivity software company Zero Systems. He has led numerous data automation and process improvement engagements with law firms, which have impacted people, productivity, and process redesign.

Founded by David Cunningham and supported by a consortium of legal departments and law

firms, Cunningham believes that Steadman’s approach will help the company to support the industry in facilitating diversity and legal ops data visibility and transparency across the legal services supply chain. “Ryan is not only interested in the stories that the data can tell, but he’s also passionate about making a difference in diversity and inclusion,” Cunningham explains. “As we move forward, we needed an advocate for those who are exhausted by manual calculations and realize that it’s time they also have a system for their needs, just like CFO’s, CMO’s, and CHRO’s are expected to have.”

“I’ve been a deep enthusiast of the Legal Metrics’ mission, especially around the diversity and inclusion efforts for our industry. Once firms can facilitate and act upon the data securely and anonymously instead of repetitively just collecting data, collectively as an industry we can do some very powerful things. Dave had me at “Can you help us make a difference?” Steadman says. “During my time in legal tech and service delivery, it’s clear that the caliber and quality of our community are what drives substantive and organic behavioral change. The tech helps, modestly, to facilitate that change. The company has a purpose-built system to help democratize and surface diversity, inclusion, and legal ops data and insights, and to act as a catalyst for change. I see tremendous opportunity to help facilitate data and to encourage law firm and legal department leaders to measure and manage metrics that matter,” says Steadman.

In Vale Cantu’s new role at Legal Metrics, he will be responsible for onboarding customers to help them facilitate and streamline metrics for law firms and legal departments. He will work closely with client project teams and data analysts. Cantu brings a deep data analytics and business intelligence implementation skillset, having gained valuable expertise and experience with the industry’s leading practice management and financial billing systems

Cunningham explains. “As our market becomes aware that there is now a purpose-built system designed to manage Diversity, Equity and Inclusion surveys where law firm leaders can see their own results, trends, compliance, and panel/peer benchmarks in real-time rather than being surprised annually

by a client report or published survey, and where legal operations metrics can be measured and managed, we need to build out our capabilities to rapidly onboard new customers.”

“I am tremendously proud to be a part of such an intelligent and hardworking team! Our mission is an important one that I firmly believe in, and I look forward to the change we can achieve in the industry,” says Cantu.

For more on this article, please visit: https://legaltechnology.com/2021/11/01/legal-metrics-appoints-makes-double-hire-to-drive-metrics-approach-to-diversity-legal-ops/

For media enquiries: info@legalmetrics.com

Website: https://legalmetrics.com/


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Notes To My (Legal) Self Season 2, Episode 18: Diversity Metrics 3.0 (ft. David Cunningham and Ashley Clingo)

David Cunningham is the founder of the data-driven legal ops initiative Legal Metrics and the Chief Information Officer of Winston & Strawn. Ashley Clingo is a licensed attorney who focuses on bringing Legal Metrics to life through dashboards and designs that provide clear and useful insights for legal and business teams.

Ashley has a background in data, statistics, and programming and has led numerous projects in legal artificial intelligence and data analytics. Diversity metrics define priority and progress but have been very simple measures in the legal market. Consider the first phase of metrics (1.0) to be the diversity of timekeepers at a law firm. The second phase is more sophisticated by considering recruiting pipelines, committee inclusion, and financial rewards. We are now at the beginning of a third phase, whereby we correlate these diversity metrics to other aspects, such as matter outcome, client satisfaction, value, client business unit, cycle time, and other factors. And we finally automate the calculations of these metrics to free up the time of the diversity team and allow more sophistication and trending analysis. In this podcast, we’ll cover this journey and the expected insights to be learned.

Read the interview here: https://www.listennotes.com/podcasts/notes-to-my-legal/season-2-episode-18-pW12mbsS9Xc/

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Making the Most of Legal Metrics

In an interview published on the Reinventing Professionals podcast on April 27, 2020, Ari Kaplan spoke with David Cunningham, the chief information officer at Winston & Strawn in Houston, Texas, who is leading the Legal Metrics initiative, which is an industry-wide group designing a solution to understand and visualize legal operations data.

By Ari Kaplan.

For the full article, visit: https://www.legalbusinessworld.com/post/legalmetrics

Articles published in Legal Business World eMagazine #4

Ari Kaplan

Tell us about your role and the genesis of the Legal Metrics initiative.

David Cunningham

I am the chief information officer at Winston & Strawn and was fortunate to be invited to be part of the Corporate Legal Operations Consortium (CLOC) when it was being created. Even though I work for a law firm, I learned to understand the perspective of the in-house legal operations community on how its members evaluate law firms, assess value, and determine the quality of the outside counsel relationship. I also noticed that everything they wanted to change quickly in the legal department was often changing more slowly in the law firm, and that the two groups often were not measuring themselves in the same ways. At the same time, the legal departments were capturing a broad range of metrics and creating balanced scorecards with objective and subjective data, including from survey feedback. Since law firms did not understand all of those metrics, we decided to solve the problem by creating a solution to address that gap.

Ari Kaplan

Why is the legal community so focused on metrics in the current climate?

David Cunningham

The concept of “legal operations” started in the corporate legal department and is associated with running the department as a business since managing legal spending requires measuring performance against predetermined goals and gauging progress at key intervals. The legal departments are the driver and many are quite advanced. Law firms have not really been measuring as much as their clients since they have historically focused on financial data. They have, however, done a good job of hiring legal operations professionals tasked with identifying what their clients want and how to leverage that information to provide better service.

Ari Kaplan

Can metrics really change behavior?

David Cunningham

I often hear that legal operations is a fad or that defining metrics doesn’t change hiring decisions. While there has been some truth to that, it is now changing the buying behavior within the legal department pretty aggressively. When you have companies like Novartis and Intel, among others, saying, “If you don’t meet our metrics, we either won’t hire you or we’re not going to pay all of your bill,” it makes a difference. Directly on their dashboards, legal departments highlight their spending, rates, diversity criteria, survey feedback, and other metrics. A company may have a panel of firms that provides representation, but a law firm in that group may not realize that there is a big red mark across its profile because its rates and lawyers may be great, but its diversity isn’t up to par, or an after-matter survey showed that some of its professionals were not good listeners. Ultimately, metrics do affect buying behavior and we are seeing a snowball effect that is really starting to pick up and change the general counsel’s view of who they hire.

Ari Kaplan

What are the broad objectives of the Legal Metrics Initiative?

David Cunningham

Our primary objective is to help law firms see themselves as their clients see them. We also want to empower law departments to measure diversity more effectively. Finally, we want to give individual leaders within law firms a better understanding of how they and their teams are impacting the overall performance of their organization.

Ari Kaplan

Prior to the launch of this initiative, how has the legal community addressed this need?

David Cunningham

Legal departments have been moving quickly and law firms have increased their hiring of professionals focused on legal operations and client services, but neither has aligned their metrics, which has created an imbalance. Law firms, for instance, are often manually compiling diversity statistics, which can take hundreds of hours for some. They are not using that data to make decisions the way that legal departments do. In fact, in-house teams are rapidly becoming sophisticated data analysts, calculating whether the results match what they paid and if their satisfaction level is consistent with those results.

Ari Kaplan

How will you encourage a diverse array of organizations, including those who are competitors, to collaborate?

David Cunningham

You would think that would be a problem, but it is the opposite of where we stand. The Legal Metrics initiative has grown very quickly, especially because in-house legal teams have been reaching out to the law firms with which they work and encouraging them to participate. They are also interested in helping their panel firms work together more seamlessly. Law firms are similarly interested in becoming more sophisticated and familiar with their operations. As a result, competition or secrecy has not affected the response. Many participants are actually contributing metrics they have developed assuming that they will receive more in return than they give so it has been a great effort. In fact, we offer Metrics Mondays every other week to introduce new functionality, offer a list of new metrics, and respond to questions about roadmaps. Then, we give the groups two weeks to share feedback. It has been quite cooperative.

Ari Kaplan

What do you expect the end product to look like?

David Cunningham

We have just created our first real working dashboard and want law firms to more easily calculate, visualize, and share their data with clients. The initial use case is for law firms to provide select legal departments, which have declared their criteria publicly, with diversity metrics that they can measure against aggregate benchmarks.

Ari Kaplan

How do you see Legal Metrics helping law firms, law departments, and other legal organizations over the long-term?

David Cunningham

Our list of metrics is long and the more I promote this effort, the longer it gets. There is currently a list of 30 different areas to study. Simply making it easier to calculate metrics has increased awareness of the data points that matter. There has been limited visibility into any non-financial information to date and suddenly we are enhancing sharing. We envision greater real-time data availability and increased transparency.

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Legal Diversity is Gaining Ground: David Cunningham at Interact 2020

Why is diversity gaining momentum for corporate legal departments and law firms, even during a pandemic?  In part, it’s because the push toward diversity aligns with the demand for legal metrics and analytics that’s also remarkably gained steam.

For the full article visit:


Diversity will be the topic on the table during It Is Time We Got This Right: Legal and Law Firm Diversity, a panel session to be held on Day One of Interact 2020.  The session will be moderated by Victoria Hudgins from LegalTech News, with a star industry panel that headlines David Cunningham among its members.  Together, they’ll discuss how diversity contributes to the effectiveness, collaboration, and ultimate value of legal departments and law firms.

As CIO at Winston & Strawn LLP, David has led one of the world’s most prominent firms in using technology, analytics, and streamlined business processes to deliver both value and agility for its clients.  Concurrently, as the founder of Legal Metrics, he’s helped advance how the legal industry agrees upon, visualizes, and shares the metrics that “define effectiveness, efficiency, value, and good working relationships,” as its website explains.

That’s given him a unique, multi-angled perspective on the topic of diversity, and how legal metrics have aligned with what’s become an industry-wide initiative.

“The legal departments always set the pace…”

Corporate legal departments have, of course, been primary drivers of diversity.  Clients like Microsoft have had longstanding diversity initiatives in place, and these organizations have dangled carrots (or shown the stick) to incentivize law firms who want to retain their business. “The legal departments always set the pace when it comes to changes like this,” he says.

The yardsticks being used to measure progress can vary, David explains.  A key metric is often proportionality in headcount, but in some cases law firms are also graded on their pace of change: they may not have arrived at an optimal level, but their efforts over time toward reaching it are recognized by the client.  Some clients are interested in a firm’s overall diversity, while a company like Novartis is focused on the diversity of the team that’s servicing them; others want to see that the senior leadership a firm has managing their matters is diverse.

One “very interesting” development?  Legal departments are being held to headcount limitations, and law firms have been forced to tighten their belts, too, even though the amount of work hasn’t declined. “There’s more work to be had if you’re really good,” he says, and are capable of proving to clients you’re able to do more with less by leveraging metrics, analytics, and reporting at a high level.  Being able to use metrics to demonstrate diversity, of course, is another advantage.

How pandemic has accelerated change

How has COVID-19 impacted all of this?  “We’re still learning,” David says, though some effects are apparent.  “It’s now hard to have a relationship-based client service approach because you can’t go visit the client.  So it appears to have accelerated the focus on metrics-driven relationships.”

Proof of the strength of the diversity movement might be the fact it’s gained momentum even during the pandemic.  As David explains, during periods of economic and social disruption, innovation and advancement typically suffer as companies retreat to tried-and-true practices to weather those storms.

“The focus on diversity is louder than it was a year ago.”

Yet in observing the effects of COVID-19 on the call for legal diversity versus what happened during the last major disruption, the 2008 financial crisis, he’s noted a significant difference.  Whereas the 2008 crisis put a brake on diversity efforts as legal professionals and their clients became concerned with hunkering down, the opposite has happened during the pandemic.  “The focus on diversity is louder than it was a year ago,” he says.

The number of firms joining Diversity Lab and legal departments implementing internal and external diversity metrics programs has been “far higher” than in 2019, he points out, despite the pandemic.  As firms and departments are pressed into making significant changes in how they operate and measure success, diversity has benefitted.

Learn more about legal diversity at Interact 2020

There’ll be much more said by David Cunningham and other panelists on the subject of legal diversity at this year’s Interact, the virtual conference for Mitratech’s global user community.  Other topics that might be touched on: How remote onboarding may – or may not – have a positive impact on legal diversity; how mid- and small-sized law firms may have the innate agility to move the needle on legal diversity more readily than larger ones; how the Big Four consulting firms may become bigger competitors for client legal business.

All these factors and more are part of what David sees as a truly transformative period in the legal industry.  “I’m sure we’ll see some remarkable things over the next five to ten years,” he says, and increased diversity is one pillar of that transformation.

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Clients Track Diversity But Law Firms Miss the Message

For the full article, please visit: https://news.bloomberglaw.com/business-and-practice/clients-track-diversity-but-law-firms-miss-the-message

A growing number of major legal departments are treating a law firm’s diversity statistics as an important factor when deciding whether to hire that firm.

Consider the so-called “Intel Rule.” The technology giant says that starting next year it will no longer work with law firms whose equity partnership is not at least 21% women and 10% minorities.

Microsoft Corp. has its own approach, tracking the percentage of hours that diverse partners work on its actual matters and providing bonuses to its firms that perform the best.

Plenty of general counsel have other, less visible ways of measuring diversity inside law firms, which still dramatically trails in the law compared to other industries. One problem, according to Winston & Strawn’s Chief Information Officer, David Cunningham, is that law firms are unaware of the specific metrics being used or how they stack up to other firms individual clients hire.

It is a problem Cunningham is hoping to solve with a new venture that is developing a system to digitally share diversity data between clients and law firms. It would be a step up from today’s typically analog systems that require law firms to fill out surveys on an annual basis or after matters are completed.

“Objective one is to help the law firms see themselves by the metrics through which the legal departments already see them,” Cunningham said. “It’s waking them up, basically.”

Cunningham’s Legal Metrics has developed some momentum before an official roll-out aimed for later this year.

He is backed by members of legal departments at Google, Adobe, Netflix and law firms including Winston & Strawn, Goodwin Procter, Clifford Chance, DLA Piper, and Paul Hastings. All told, there are individuals from more than 25 firms involved, at least six legal departments, and more than 10 professionals from consultancies or other legal services businesses.

Cunningham said the group will not track any personally identifiable information and that any sharing between clients and law firms would require opt-in from both parties.

He said he has been surprised by the interest he has received from law firms, as some have viewed the industry’s growing interest in sharing metrics more generally with skepticism. They are concerned hard data could be used as a cudgel to push down prices of legal work or influence how law firms staff matters.

But Cunningham said law firms are already being measured on their diversity metrics. He said he shows law firm leaders charts that clients use to benchmark firms against one another. It is often a surprise to leaders who have compared themselves to static, industry-wide surveys conducted annually. Individual departments often have targets above industry averages.

Cunningham said he is pushing legal departments to share more broadly their median scores for various diversity metrics.

“If you’re not doing well on metrics like diversity, it’s not a secret to your client. It’s just that you don’t see it from their perspective,” Cunningham said. “So we are trying to create that awareness within a firm.”

One challenge Cunningham will face is the myriad ways clients measure diversity. He said there are currently more than 20 metrics used to define diversity. Some legal departments, like Intel’s, are pushing for increases in the number of women and diverse partners at a firm. Others, like Microsoft, are focused on making sure those lawyers are actually handling their matters.

Cunningham said his goal is not necessarily to dictate to legal departments what types of metrics should be tracked. Instead, he is aiming to make it easier to communicate those metrics between departments and firms.

An early law firm member of the Corporate Legal Operations Consortium, Cunningham said he has been developing the metric sharing idea for at least four years.

“When you step outside of legal, you realize we have a 15-year immaturity gap,” he said. He noted how automotive companies, for instance, collect near real-time information on matters as detailed as how many defective parts they’ve received from suppliers.

“This isn’t really innovation,” he said of data sharing. “It is trying to catch up with other industries for both law firms and legal departments.”


A Winston & Strawn-launched consortium, made up of participants including Am Law 100 firms…

One of the most comprehensive reports of its kind, this report,created in partnership with Wolters Kluwer Legal & Regulatory, analyses data for 316 legal departments of all sizes, across 29 countries, and 24 industries.

National Law Review. Firm leaders should consider simple, effective interventions that will protect the progress they have made in elevating more women and minority attorneys to power, and make it possible for that work to continue.


Today, 87% of corporate law departments are subject to demands that they become more data-driven, which is hard to do if people define the same thing differently.