CLOC endorses the SALI Alliance project, developing legal matter standards across the industry

CLOC has publicly backed the SALI Alliance project, which is developing legal matter standards across the industry.

CLOC, or the Corporate Legal Operations Consortium, has grown rapidly to become one of the leading voices and forums representing clients in the legal market, both in the US and in other major markets such as the UK. So, its support is highly noteworthy.

It matters especially that CLOC is on the buy-side of the legal market equation, at least in terms of its core members. This is because what the SALI Alliance, (or the Standards Advancement for the Legal Industry Alliance), is trying to do, which is to map out what lawyers do, and to create a shared taxonomy to describe it, could be a major help for buyers of legal services.

For example, if a company wanted to understand what it was spending on legal services it would need to do more than just look at all of its bills, it would need a way of clearly classifying all the work done for it. The challenge there is that many law firms classify their work output in different ways, so building an objective map of what’s happening is hard to do. I.e. you may have lots of bills, but those bills are not all worded the same way.

Moreover, even if company A managed to map its legal spending alone, it would not necessarily be able to share its insights with company B – if it wished to for market improvement purposes – because they’d likely be working off a different set of terms and classifications to describe the work that had been performed. I.e. it’s the old apples and oranges conundrum. And of course, there is only one solution to this: work with the same shared classifications.

But, that is easier said than done, as you need multiple parties to start using these standards – and to agree on them in the first place. But, where there is a will, there is a way. And it looks like the will to do this is growing.