Attorneys go through years of formal education to learn how to practice law. They do not emerge on the other end as business majors. And yet, law does have a business side to it. That business side cannot be ignored if a firm hopes to hang around for the long term. So, how do you know if things are going well on the business side? Analytics.
Analytics is the science of applying a method of logical analysis to understanding data. In some circles, measuring key performance indicators (KPIs) gives management a good idea on how the business is going. KPIs are not bad, but we think a more comprehensive analytical approach is better for law firms. There are many moving parts in the practice of law, some of which force the business and practice sides to intersect in unpredictable ways.
We say all of that to say this: your law firm’s legal case management software should have analytics capabilities built in. Below are four reasons explaining our position. In the absence of built-in analytics, handling the business side of law is more difficult than it needs to be.
The business side of law is about generating revenues, managing expenses, drumming up new business, etc. Yet it is not enough to know that all of the business functions are being handled. Management has to know how they are being handled, and those involved have to be held accountable.
Accountability applies to a firm’s attorneys as well. From billable hours to cost controls, management needs to know how every attorney in the office is performing. Simply put, analytics facilitates accountability by providing a ton of pertinent information. When management knows exactly what is happening in every department, everyone becomes accountable.
Hand-in-hand with accountability is understanding both individual and corporate performance. The law firm needs to know who is meeting established goals and who is not. Management needs to know how the marketing department is doing at attracting the most viable clients. They need to know if clients are actually satisfied with the firm.
Anything and everything related to performance can be tracked with built-in analytics. Indeed, that is one of the strengths of the analytics and data reporting tools built into NuLaw
3. Future Performance
One of the most important reasons for understanding past performance is that it can be an indicator of future performance as well. With built-in analytics, law firms can use their case management software to see where they have been, where they currently are, and where they are going. This makes charting a path for the future more productive.
The first three reasons for building analytics into legal case management software all point to the fourth reason: responsiveness. If there’s one area in which the legal industry has historically under-performed, it is responding to the changing culture. Law is a profession of tradition. And unfortunately, tradition is very slow to respond to change.
Those law firms that will succeed in the technology era are the ones that figure out how to be responsive. They are the firms that will use analytics to gauge the state of the industry and their own relationship to it. They are the ones that will respond quickly to any and all measured changes in order to stay at the leading edge.
Analytics is critical to modern business. It is especially critical in the practice of law, as is accounts for the fact that attorneys are not business experts. What about your case management software? If it doesn’t have built-in analytics, maybe it is time for a change.