Video: Tech, Data and your Law Practice [Lawyernomics 2018]

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In recent years, data has infiltrated everything we do. To adapt to current consumer trends, lawyers must improve their firm’s internal processes. Jack Newton, Clio CEO and Co-Founder, and Patrick Palace, owner of Palace Law, are here to usher lawyers into the age of data-driven law and to help answer questions around how lawyers can be more data focused in their law practices.

Watch the full presentation, The Age of Data-Driven Law, here:

“Why isn’t the law something like a process that we’re continually trying to measure, optimize, and re-measure?” says Newton. “You want to measure what your state is at one point in time, make some improvements and see how you’ve evolved and how you’ve been able to improve that business process.”

This thinking led inspired Newton and Clio to create the Legal Trends Report to identify data at a granular level, so lawyers can see a swath of relevant and timely information—from average billable rates per practice area to how those rates compare between urban and rural jurisdictions.

This type of data could even help a law student who recently graduated law school decide where to move, and take the bar, by showing him or her the effective hourly rate calibrated for cost of living across the country. Attorneys across all practice areas need the right tools, and they need the correct data.

Newton believes that the three rates lawyers can track that are most beneficial to their careers and practices are:

  • Utilization rate: the amount of billable time in a workday
  • Realization rate: amount of billable work that ends up on a bill
  • Collection rate: what clients pay you

By tracking these key performance indicators (KPIs), lawyers and entire law firms can become more efficient and productive by either getting more business or maximizing every minute of the day with the clients they already have.

“What consumers really care about is responsiveness,” he says. “You need to be lightning quick in your responses.”

At Palace Law, Attorney Palace has taken these ideals and put them into practice, leveraging technology and innovation to present his firm’s offerings the way consumers want to consume legal services while simultaneously enabling lawyers to better provide for their clients every step of the way.

“I’m here to tell you that data is sexy,” says Palace. “The people who love data are the people who are innovating, who are making money, who know what the return on investment is in everything they do in their office.”

By switching intake forms from hard copies to a Google spreadsheet for every practice area, Palace’s firm uses an algorithm to help predict which cases they should take and which they shouldn’t accept based on the cases they’ve signed up and won in the past. Collecting and accessing this data makes it easier for paralegals and attorneys alike to achieve more consistent, time-tested results that continue to get more accurate over time.

Along with intake forms, Palace’s firm also tracks every single review—positive, negative or neutral—with a real-time trend line to see if they’re trending more positively or negatively every week. Additionally, they also keep track of every blog post they publish, to see which ones are getting traction online and which ones aren’t, helping them hone their content strategy.

In the end, you can’t fix a problem if you don’t know the problem is there. That’s the benefit of using data. By using data and technology to take care of time-consuming administrative tasks, lawyers can focus on their clients.