A primary duty of most in-house counsel is managing the work that is performed by outside counsel. Much attention is devoted to controlling the fees and expenses in legal bills. Electronic billing systems have been widely adopted by in-house counsel to monitor spending, track budgets and enforce client billing guidelines.

When major projects are completed, however, in-house counsel often miss even greater opportunities for savings. They don’t take the time to analyze the outcome, including settlements, awards and other amounts paid or received. And yet those numbers often turn out to be much larger than legal fees. Some law departments have found that they can significantly reduce spending by focusing on their results: They can improve the handling of future work, provide more work to outside counsel who deliver the best results, structure alternative fees that reward efficiency, and change business practices to reduce future litigation.