Firm business

Taking law firm business intelligence to the next level

The original article can be found here –

This blog explores how law firms can take business intelligence to the next level and why it’s important to do so. It recognizes the age-old principle on which the legal profession was built: “make data pay”.

Of course, the way we generate and view “data” in the legal profession has changed dramatically over the past decade, and needless to say, it has become completely unrecognizable over the course of the history of the last century. Going back even further, to when our avowed 14th-century ancestors doodled with pens by candlelight, to a time when people were barely able to formally study law for the first time , we can recognize that, in its simplest definition, the work of the legal profession is, and always has been, about the processing and exchange of data by experts.

Lawyers are already experts at “making data pay”

By its very nature, for legal business, data is at the center of everything a law firm does. For example, with conveyancing, there is a whole host of complex data that needs to be effectively shared in a timely manner between a range of parties – including seller, buyer, real estate agent, mortgage lender, HM land register, property search providers and so on.

In addition to all the data that law firms collect about ownership and the people involved, the attorney has and understands the ever-changing information about conveyancing regulations and how the law should be practiced and the risks avoided, for example the fight against money laundering, etc. data heavy is the process when two people get divorced. Their “structured” and “unstructured” data must be captured accurately, recorded carefully, and communicated effectively, often under extremely emotional circumstances, before the parties can come to a conclusion.

Another complex and highly regulated area of ​​law, where the lawyer is entrusted with data that is both very personal and sensitive. Personal injury lawyers collect and review evidence (data) and a whole host of other data sets that they must present on behalf of their clients, sometimes with life-changing results. The same applies to criminal law firms, protection court lawyers, immigration law specialists, commercial law firms, etc. The expert processing of data of all types continues, without exception, in all areas of law.

Today, the legal profession needs to be up there, at the very top of the leader board, of the sectors most capable of handling the most complex data sets, “structured” and “unstructured”, and making data pay. For this, the sector should take well-deserved credit.

Lawyers witnessing a digital explosion

However, there is an even more important data story to tell for the legal profession in 2022 and beyond. In our lifetime, we are witnessing a huge continuous explosion of data. Not just for lawyers, but for all of us as individuals and within companies. Never before has data been the subject of such a debate, such a level of regulation and legislation (GDPR etc.) and never has data been more recognized for its value.

According Statistical there were 4.66 billion active internet users worldwide in January 2021 and each time one of these users clicks, they generate more bytes of data. In fact, other Google research suggests that in 2020 the average person generated 2.5 quintillion bytes of data every day. Thanks to Wi-Fi, mobile networks and smart devices in our tech-savvy world, most of us are participating in this data revolution.

Of course, the Covid-19 pandemic has moved the digital needle of adoption faster for all of us, in all areas of our lives, as we have embraced video calls, online NHS consultations and more plus online shopping/internet banking. than ever before. These revolutionary times have placed consumer expectations, in terms of digital, at an all-time high. Law firm clients expect to interact with their attorney and other law firm staff securely online. Additionally, the amount of business intelligence available, due to the widespread adoption of digital, is phenomenal and quite overwhelming for law firms in equal measure.

Many law firms have an appetite for digital disruption

While the legal profession has traditionally been criticized for being slow to embrace technology, many law firms we speak with every day are hungry for digital disruption and greater data visibility.

While many law firms are steeped in tradition, those seeking solutions such as “Access Workspace for Legal”, we find, are learn from the most consumer-centric sectors, presumably retail and banking, among others. i.e. industries that have long benefited from the use of BI (business intelligence) and BIG data analytics, and have a digital ecosystem that brings together multiple data sources into one one central location online.

The consumerization of the legal industry is driven by increasing competition and changing client behavior and expectations. And the business intelligence tools of law firms have their part to play. Data visibility goes far beyond just improved decision making but by connecting multiple systems and sets of information, law firms can use it to improve their competitive positioning. The way the professional handles law firm data analytics is the answer to many of today’s challenges for the industry. Law firms are well positioned to take full advantage of business intelligence.

For a profession that has been making data pay for centuries, today’s data explosion brings an additional level of understanding, in terms of customer behavior, needs and expectations.

Knowing data at this scale also provides law firms with valuable insights into employee behavior, needs, and expectations. And in this era of recognition and acknowledgment of the importance of mental health, and the publicity the legal profession has had regarding fee pressures and burnout, people and HR data have a crucial role. to play in the success of a staff law firm. well-being and resilience; and talent acquisition and retention.

After centuries of successfully monetizing data, law firms are well positioned to embrace the data explosion of the 21st century and take full advantage of the huge dividends offered by data analytics and business intelligence.

Information overload of the legal profession

However, in addition to great insight, the explosion of data available to businesses also compounds the problem of information overload. Professor Richard Susskind OBE, the renowned legal IT commentator has been writing and speaking about “information overload” in the legal profession for nearly four decades. His early predictions from the mid-1990s continue to prove correct time and time again. For example, in Susskind’s book The Future of Law, published in 1996, he predicted that in the future, the dominant means of communication between lawyers and clients would be electronic mail.

This revelation was shocking to many people working in the justice system at the time. He was called out for saying such a thing by top lawyers who said “he shouldn’t be allowed to speak and he brings the legal profession into disrepute”. He also said the wider use of the web would be the first port of call for lawyers and judges undertaking research. For which he was criticized for “not understanding the practical and cultural significance of the law library”. Of course, these reactions are completely laughable now, but anecdotes of this nature only lend credence to Susskind’s predictions of “information overload” more than 25 years ago, when he pointed out that the untapped potential BIG data and business intelligence for law firms stating that “technologies are emerging and focus much more on the analysis and use of information than on its reproduction and storage.

The law firms that are able to recognize the value of the ever-increasing availability, volume, and insight that data can bring are the ones that are set to grow and prosper in the new 20s. For companies that find ways to manage their data, find tools that make it easy for them to make sense of their data, and perhaps even outsource their business intelligence to trusted advisors and technology partners, the dividends promise be important.

A McKinsey Report highlighted in Forbes magazine just before the pandemic hit, suggested a number of key statistics law firms should consider: “Data-driven organizations are 23 times more likely to acquire clients ; six times more likely to retain customers; and 19 times more likely to be profitable as a result.

Technology for law firms that goes far beyond workload management

Sectors that have paved the way for business intelligence to better understand consumer behavior, needs and trends are consistently reported to be banking, retail and insurance. Many published examples of how companies have used data to improve customer service, retain existing customers and win new customers have been well documented. With the advent of digital solutions such as Access the workspace for legal serviceslaw firms will finally be able to join all the dots, in terms of all their data from multiple systems, and do the same.

Things have changed rapidly over the past decade in the law firm legal IT space. For greater clarity, focus, and success, we find that law firms today are looking for practice management software and business intelligence software that goes beyond workload management. They want an all-in-one solution that provides a collaborative space where crucial data is presented with simplicity, giving them the confidence to make sound business decisions.

Read more: Legal Unlimited: What can law firms learn from consumer-centric industries?

This article was written by The Access Group’s legal team who provide award-winning software for law firms.

Legal Access, is a provider of legal software for law firms. It brought together, through acquisition, six of the leading legal software, technology and compliance companies, employing more than 400 people with legal technology experience dating back nearly three decades in some cases.