New Initiative Seeks to Establish Common Language for Legal Matters

Standards for the Legal Industry (SALI) is behind an initiative to create “matter standards” that in-house legal departments, law firms, and business partners can use.

Extract from article by Jennifer Williams-Alvarez

To increase efficiency, it’s been suggested that the legal profession is in need of a common vocabulary to describe legal work.

One group, Standards for the Legal Industry (SALI), is behind an initiative to create “matter standards” that in-house legal departments, law firms and business partners would be able to use to describe matters, which for in-house counsel could improve everything from procuring to executing legal work.

“Fundamentally, we don’t have a common way or standardized way to communicate what is being bought and sold in this marketplace,” said Justin Ergler, director of alternative fee intelligence and analytics at GlaxoSmithKline and co-chair of the matter standards committee at SALI, the independent agency behind this initiative.

It’s true that companies and firms are compiling data, but they are defining matters in different ways, Ergler said. With a common language, there’s opportunity to “create better [requests for proposals] and ask better questions as far as what is being defined,” he explained. “You can leverage the past to inform what things can look like going forward.”

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