Six KPIs your legal department should track

Philipp Rosenauer
Partner Legal, PwC Switzerland

Caitlin Hemminga
Associate | Data Privacy | ICT | Implementationᐩ, PwC Switzerland

Key performance indicators (KPIs) are important management practices for any legal department – even in-house legal departments. KPIs are metrics that you track to judge if you are on target with a set goal. In today’s world, analytics play a critical role in the performance and success of a business and navigating successes. Nevertheless, KPIs require careful consideration and tailoring to the accompanying metrics. After all, no one KPI fits all. In our blogpost, we provide you with an overview of the most important KPIs that should be tracked.

One of the biggest mistakes you can easily avoid is trying to track too many KPIs. By tracking less, you minimise the risk of over-analysing processes. It is critical that as a legal department you find out what you want to measure and especially why. Also, identifying what information you need to be able to make a measurement and where you can get this information from. In all, creating a harmonised format that allows you to track and present the KPIs and its progress will be instrumental in combining all these elements. To guide you on potential KPIs to track that provide a holistic overview we have outlined five for you to consider.

1. Contract quantity

This is a straightforward measure that looks at how many contracts the legal department has completed over a certain period. Usually, it is recommended to measure this over the financial year, although this can also be changed to quarters or any other measure of time that one finds appropriate. This is a high-level look into the quantity of contracts but can be furthered by looking at the types of contracts. This KPI is particularly helpful when measuring how effectively a business manages contracts. 

2. Contract processing time

The previous KPI, albeit useful, does not provide as much insight into the overall contract lifecycle and contract management as a KPI on contract quality can. By measuring the overall time needed to collaborate on legal agreements is integral to understanding how the organisation can collect revenue and what areas within the contract processing time need improvement. A way to organise your contracts is by contract types. Tracking both contract quantity and processing time, one can accurately measure contract performance and contract lifecycle management performance values.

3. Budget vs actual spend

One of the most essential elements to consider is where it is possible to save costs and where inefficient processes are taking place. A KPI that tracks the time and cost per matter will be able to highlight these elements. This can be rough calculations to highlights bottlenecks and can also help make the case for additional resources where the need arises.

This KPI is particularly useful because it too can streamline future matters that show similar indications for resources in projects of a similar nature and size.

4. Intellectual property development

Intellectual property is an asset but is often an afterthought. Where applicable, tracking the number of patents, copyrights and trademarks applied for versus granted during a year will indicate the costs and success rate associated to each intellectual property asset. 

5. Client satisfaction

The client for in-house legal teams is core to the business. Measuring client satisfaction can highlight what needs to be improved on and make the business successful. Obtaining such information can be easily done through direct surveys but can also be analysed by the number of client referrals and client retention rates.


An in-house team can implement these KPIs to support their subjective assessment of their organisation and business. Defining the most critical issues and tracking them are essential when managing the legal function and department.

KPIs must be clear, measurable and attainable but also communicated efficiently to all necessary parties. Every modern in-house legal department should be using such metrics for a better overview of the work done, client support and achievement of goals and objectives to ensure better management.


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