As a lawyer, you’re no stranger to legal research and analytics. Data drives your practice and law firm as you review dockets, draft briefs, search SEC filings, and find deeds. But is your firm intelligently conducting research on and reviewing the analytics related to its bottom line? If not, it’s time to get started.
Your law firm likely already has some kind of reporting system, or at least a CRM, in place. The question to ask yourself now is whether your system is working and whether you’re taking full advantage of and properly reviewing all the data it produces. By putting the right tools and systems in place, your law firm and its administrators can have aggregated key performance indicators (KPIs) on important data at their fingertips. Reporting and legal analytics will give your law firm real-time, actionable insights into your productivity and profitability.
We understand that these concepts may be new to you. That’s why this article offers helpful tips that will help your firm maximize the value of your law firm data with the right legal analytics tools.
Legal analytics is the process of collecting, organizing, and then applying data to the practice and business of law. The goal is to use the data you have to make more informed decisions that enable you to better manage your firm’s performance.
With the right analytical tools, your law firm can assess its own data and numbers to create helpful reports on all aspects of its business model and then take actionable steps to streamline workflows and increase its profitability. In sum, data analysis is a magic wand that can help your legal practice sort through the chaos and drive toward better performance.
Analytics gives your firm a competitive edge because you’ll be able to unlock the value within your data and gather business intelligence that you otherwise wouldn’t have. Your administrators will be given that magic wand to help maintain, improve and, if needed, transform your law firm.
For example, legal analytics can help you, your law firm, and your legal professionals and administrators forecast the ebb and flow of certain matters, strategize financially based on facts, and manage internal resources and teams more intelligently. You can view user-friendly data visualizations that graphically represent billable hours, money going in and out, and invoices.
We already know your next question. This all sounds great, but how does it apply practically to the nuts and bolts of my law firm’s practice and operations?
Through reporting and analytics, your law firm will be able to identify, for example, its highest paying clients and matters, figure out where the money is being made and where it’s being lost, manage staffing and track lawyers’ billable hours, ensure accuracy in origination credit and compensation matters, and use other raw data points to build complex spreadsheets and pivot tables to aid your firm’s decision making.
This translates to using legal analytics and reporting to set pricing, stick to realistic financial performance standards and targets, make informed hiring and employment decisions by knowing which specialty groups are growing and need more help and which are falling behind, track key client relationships, and allocate resources between departments appropriately. Financial reporting helps your firm reduce risk and identify cost-saving opportunities.
By reviewing internal data and creating customized reporting, law firms can use analytics in nearly all of their day-to-day operations, improving their profitability and functioning in both the short term and long term.
Each law firm has unique needs. A real estate boutique will need something different than a large litigation firm, and the types of reports run will vary based on those individual needs (and also show why customization is so very helpful).
Below is a list of examples of the types of reports your firm should consider when building out your reporting structure across all departments and practice specialties. For more detailed information regarding what these reports include and how often to run them, check out our legal analytics and reporting guide.
The right reporting and analytics will help your law firm administrators evaluate the health of your firm. They must be able to identify KPIs that speak specifically to the firm’s unique needs and determine how often these metrics should be monitored: weekly, monthly, quarterly, or annually. Firm leaders will be empowered to make more strategic decisions because they’ll know just where the firm can and should grow and where it should scale back.
Legal reporting and analytics will undoubtedly help your law firm optimize its performance. Choosing smart legal analytics solutions and reporting tools makes it easy to develop a competitive advantage and keep your firm running smoothly all year long.
Once you implement the right analytics tools, you’ll find your firm is running smoothly and efficiently. To accelerate your progress, download our legal analytics and reporting guide, which will give you a deep dive into different types of reporting so you can choose the right reporting options for your firm.