All law departments review their law firm invoices. Few law departments, though, extract management insights from those invoices. In-house counsel mostly view invoices as paperwork to be initialed and processed for payment by someone in accounting.

Yet invoices contain many useful insights, and the effort it takes to reap them is modest. Let’s consider what a department can glean from the invoices of a single law firm and what it can learn from the metrics of company invoices taken from multiple law firms. My point is not so much about questionable billing practices, such as those Amtrak may have allowed, as it is about what law departments can learn from invoices.

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