Bottom line of our legal training investment?- Don’t tell me.


The global legal community spends a fortune on legal training. What does it get in return? No one knows: effects of legal training are rarely measured. That seems somewhat troubling given the huge financial commitments involved.

Few legal organisations track the possible changes in their employees’ effectiveness resulting from attending legal training programmes. Even fewer monetize such performance improvement. Assessing legal training results has no priority: “Did they learn anything? No idea, but sorry I am very busy now”.

Why not bother a bit more about evaluating that costly investment in our core businessactivity that also involves our greatest asset: our people?

What is the value of legal training?

Some legal organisations consider professional learning in the same category as exercising one’s religion: It is simply not done to question or consider its utility. Learning, like religion and love, should be seen as “a value in itself”.

But spending an organisation’s scarce resources should require some justification. The organisation might beneftit if  the money is spent elsewhere within the organisation. No one knows unless training’s costs and benefits are quantified. Some organisations tryto do measure costs; hardly any organisation burns its fingers on trying to measure benefits.

American students struggling to repay their law school loans know their answer: Their investment in a legal education was a disastrous investment decison. How do they know? They they can measure the financial outcome of their legal training investment (no job, no additional income) against its costs (repayment loan + interest). Their outcome is clearly visible and painfully negative. But at least a reasoned discussion based on facts is possible.

How to determine the value of your legal training?

Legal organisations sending their people to legal training often have no clue to what extent the amounts spent on such training (+ indirect costs) will contribute to the organisation’s bottom line.

Are legal organisations unknowingly in similar dire straits as those frustrated law students? Forget the sales pitches of legal training institutes. Forget the weak teaching quality. Instead ask yourself the basic question: is the return on legal training investment (ROI) positive or negative?

The answer? No one knows. That is surprising, given that we are dealing with professionals claiming to be commerically driven. This legal species does not know or seems not  bothering to know whether a substantial part of its expenses makes it poorer or richer.

Does your legal training offer value for money? – measure it

Ignoring the bottom line of legal training is unnecessary given existing valid and reliable tools and techniques to calculate the profitablity of an investment in legal training.

To measure is to know. These days legal organisations can measure to what extent the training, provided to their legal specialists, contributes to the organisation. Choosing to remain ignorant about legal training’s effectiveness is no longer the only option.

At TrainWell we help organisations set up evaluatory frameworks for legal training. Such training ranges from fully technology enhanced learning to conventional learning. In future blogs I will discuss how to find out whether your legal training makes you and your organisation bettter off … or not.

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