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By leveraging analytics, legal teams can better demonstrate their value to leadership, collaborate more effectively with other departments, and fuel process improvement.

To achieve these objectives, you’ll need to develop a strong understanding of the legal analytics available to you, and how to track and analyze them to improve legal processes.

This in-depth guide to legal analytics will answer all of your burning questions and outline how you can leverage analytics to ensure your legal team’s success.

What is legal analytics?

Legal analytics is the use of data to improve legal decision-making, resource management, strategy building, and business processes.

This data is typically divided into three categories:

  1. Individual data: This is the existing (and prospective) clients' online activities, particularly on your website. It is sourced from digital analytics platforms such as Google Analytics, any cookies you have on your site, and data from email and social media campaigns.
  2. Internal data: This is your in-house legal or legal ops data, such as the number of hours your team spends on certain tasks, the timeframes of contract approvals, and billing data.
  3. Legal industry data: This is third-party information you source from research groups, data publishers, and other publicly available industry data.
Also read: How to Use Contract Analytics Software to Uncover Insights

Why is legal analytics important? 

Legal analytics allows legal teams to take a more data-driven approach.

Rather than operating on assumptions (i.e., assumptions about how much is spent on certain case types or about how effective vendors are), legal professionals can use said analytics to open up more objective measurements and improve decision-making.

Take the example of forecasting the likelihood of a given motion outcome.

Legal analytics removes the need to make “best guesses”.

A legal team can analyze previous similar cases, using legal analytics to provide a more precise probability. With this information in hand, the team is more informed and better able to determine whether or not a given motion even makes sense to pursue.

4 legal analytics to track to improve legal processes 

Legal analytics generally fall into one of the four following categories:

1. Spend analytics

Spend analytics provide insight into total legal spend and provide the basis for identifying cost-saving opportunities. Using these analytics, legal teams can spot areas where they’re overspending and implement policy changes or onboard software tools to help cut costs.

Additionally, spend analytics can be used to demonstrate legal ROI (we spent X on this project, which we won, saving Y dollars).

“The one metric that I love is legal spend over time versus revenue. The spend may go up, but it won't go up nearly as fast as revenue. Finding a group of companies, getting the data on who works there, how much they spend on external counsel, lawyers per billion, etc., is a difficult task. But once you put that hard work in, you can show your legal leaders what your total legal spend versus revenue over time versus benchmarks was. That's the kind of thing that makes your CFO smile.”

~ David Lancelot, ex-VP Global Head of Legal, eBay Classifieds

Embracing Legal’s Role as Business Co-Leaders

2. Billing analytics

Billing analytics provide insights into the total list of invoices, as well as more detailed information such as the following:

  1. Approval statuses
  2. Accrual statuses
  3. Billing guidelines violations

These analytics can be used to support quality vendor management practices, supplementing teams with data on whether suppliers submit accurate accruals on time and whether they follow billing guidelines.

With these analytics in hand, legal teams are able to communicate more proactively with vendors and resolve billing issues before invoices reach the accounting department.

3. Matter analytics

Matter analytics provide data about the total list of legal matters, along with more detailed insights:

  1. Matter status
  2. Vendors assigned to each matter
  3. When the matter was worked on

These analytics allow legal teams to make more educated decisions on when and where to use outside counsel vs. in-house counsel.

By using matter analytics, an in-house legal department can identify the most common matter practice areas and combine this with vendor costs to explore whether they might take the following actions:

  1. Reduce the number of vendors they work with
  2. Hire more in-house expertise
  3. Consolidate services to law firms that offer a wider range of legal services

4. Vendor analytics 

Vendor analytics provide information about the total list of vendors with more detailed reports showing the following:

  1. Average matter cycle times
  2. Hourly rates
  3. How alternative fee arrangements have been used

These analytics help legal ops teams understand current vendor spend as well as performance. This enables them to make strategic decisions to optimize for both.

They can also support good vendor management practices by providing objective insights into performance and ROI, thereby providing a basis for performance-based conversations with third-party suppliers.

How can legal analytics be used?

Legal analytics provide four important benefits for in-house legal.

1. Showcase your value to the business

Legal teams can use analytics to demonstrate the value they bring to the table in a data-driven, objective manner.

By showing reports like ROI on legal spend, and by demonstrating how and where the department has optimized and improved vendor spending behavior, legal can shift from being seen as a cost center to a driver of business success.

2. Enable collaboration between legal and other business teams

Legal analytics can pave the way for better communication between the legal team and other business units.

For example, legal often works closely with procurement to ensure vendor contracts are drafted accurately, and that suppliers actually comply with them.

Legal analytics relating to compliance rates can help fuel effective conversations between legal and procurement regarding vendor vetting protocols.

Similarly, legal can share important data and insights into customer behavior as it relates to contracts, such as the average amount of time it takes for a contract to be signed and sent back.

Sales can then use this information to make more accurate forecasts.

3. Enhance reporting and build trust with the C-suite

Legal analytics provide the basis for more effective legal reporting and storytelling.

They help legal team leaders explain the impact of certain investments or activities.

For instance, having invested significantly in a new cloud-based contract lifecycle management solution, legal analytics can show how this investment has reduced costs and risks, or improved other variables such as renewal rates.

4. Fuel legal ops process improvement

Lastly, legal analytics can (and should) be used to fuel ongoing improvement.

Legal analytics tells you about the effectiveness of internal legal ops processes, and good legal teams use these insights to understand where changes need to be made.

For example, if the average amount of time a contract spends in the redlining stage is increasing, this may be a sign that the customers you’re targeting take issue with a certain clause or phraseology being used in contract templates.

This might highlight, then, a need to review your standard language in order to better suit the needs of a changing marketplace.

What type of analytics do lawyers most commonly use?

Lawyers use advanced legal analytics platforms to execute the following processes.


eDiscovery is a process that involves collecting, reviewing, preparing, and analyzing case information.

Analytics software facilitates the exchange of information between legal parties during investigations and litigation, and AI-powered tools help legal teams search for key terms or filter document data more easily.

Legal research

Legal analytics tools can reduce the time it takes to conduct thorough and accurate research by helping legal professionals surface relevant cases and important clauses through a search-based functionality.

“A good research wing will help you approach problems in the right direction. You will have the correct precedents, and so, you will have an edge when it comes to litigation and developing products for a new geography.”

~ Bhavna Singh, GC & DPO, Subex Limited

Elevating Legal: Fostering Transparency and Accountability in Large Tech Enterprises

Predictive analytics

Data analytics with a predictive function can help in-house counsel forecast several important items:

  1. How long a case or project will last
  2. How likely it is that they’ll win
  3. The need for support from outside counsel

Rather than having to manually comb through hundreds or thousands of data points, teams can leverage predictive legal technology to analyze trends, irregularities, and correlations to build a stronger strategy.


Legal analytics support the need for firms to market their services and enhance their insights into customer behavior, needs, and value to the business.

For example, while your typical revenue from a given case type might be higher than all others, your marketing analytics might tell you that the cost of advertising to and acquiring that customer is, in fact, much higher than for all other cases.

Why are legal analytics tools important?

Legal analytics platforms allow law firms and in-house legal teams to take advantage of the huge swaths of data they already have access to.

With modern technology such as AI, language processing, and machine learning, advanced analytics platforms allow legal professionals to take more data-driven, objective approaches to formulating legal strategies and forecasting case outcomes.

Also read: How to Choose and Use the Best Legal Analytics Software

What type of legal analytics tools are there?

Legal analytics is a broad field, and there are a number of highly specialized tools available, depending on your specific needs.

Generally speaking, though, legal analytics tools can be broken up into four distinct categories:

  • AI-powered legal research platforms (like Casetext)
  • eDiscovery-specific legal analytics tools (like Everlaw)
  • Predictive analytics and forecasting software (like Lex Machina)
  • Contract lifecycle management with built-in analytics (like SpotDraft)
“Most C-Suite executives bank on data and hard metrics and not word-of-mouth. When you have certain metrics that shed light on how legal teams have contributed to growing the revenue stream of the company, it becomes easier for the GC to make business cases.”

~ Gitanjali Pinto Faleiro, General Counsel, Company Secretary & CCO at Greenhill & Co.

Navigating the C-Suite as a GC
Also read: Basics of Contract Management Software - Your Go-to Guide

What to keep in mind when choosing a legal analytics tool 

Considering integrating a legal analytics tool into your software tech stack?

Here’s what you’ll want to keep in mind as you move through the buying process.


Does the legal analytics platform you’re considering have native integrations with the other tools you’re already using?

If so, then you’ll be able to easily plumb in your legal data to make use of the analytics capabilities. If not, you might have to invest further time and money in connecting those software platforms.


Automation is a key player here, allowing legal professionals to spend less time on repetitive manual tasks and more time on actual data analysis.

Check on the extent to which your potential legal analytics tool allows you to build custom automation recipes. Additionally, look for a simple drag-and-drop or no-code editor, reducing the need to rely on technical expertise when building automated workflows.

Also read: What is Contract Automation? Expert Tips & Insights


It goes without saying that you’ll want to find a legal analytics tool that fits within your budget, but you should also consider future growth opportunities.

Some platforms charge per user, others per company, and others still by usage.

Consider how this might increase your expenses as your business grows, and whether the pricing model of the platform has long-term viability.

AI assistance

Many legal analytics platforms are beginning to integrate artificial intelligence features to improve user experience.

For instance, the ability to ask the AI engine a simple, plain-English question (e.g., How many contracts were closed last month?), and then have the platform pull up the exact data you need to see, is a huge boon.

Also read: Unlocking the Potential of AI in Contract Drafting: Enhancing Speed and Compliance

Customer support

Lastly, consider what kind of customer support the platform offers, as you’ll likely need some kind of help getting set up and/or resolving bugs as you dive further into the tool.

Here are a few points to bring up:

  1. Is customer support available 24/7?
  2. Through what channels (phone, chat, video, email, etc.) can we reach customer support?
  3. Are there sufficient self-guided help resources online?
  4. Is there an onboarding and training process included?
  5. Are there any additional costs associated with accessing support or training?

Make legal analytics your competitive advantage

For in-house corporate legal departments, legal analytics software is an important subset of tech to wrap your head around.

With a good platform under your belt and a solid understanding of how to leverage its features, your legal team will deliver more value, uncover greater insights, and be able to make more informed, data-driven decisions.

Looking to level up your contract lifecycle management process with detailed analytics and custom automated workflows?

Check out SpotDraft, the CLM platform for teams of all sizes and budgets.

Make your contracts simpler, faster, and smarter with SpotDraft. Request a demo today.

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