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3 Things Law Firms Learned From Putting a Legal BI Tool to Work

Posted by Sarah Rosenberg on Tue, May 01, 2018

3 Things Law Firms Learned From Putting a Legal BI Tool to Work

by Sarah Rosenberg / May 1, 2018

Data, we hear about it all the time. Law firms have tracked almost every action and decision made within the firm. There are various reasons this data is gathered and tagged from firm to firm, but most importantly to give information about what work attorneys do and the clients and markets they serve. What we have noticed some firms are lacking is using this information to make better-informed business decisions.

Legal BUsiness IntelligenceThis past week we attended and sponsored the ARK Group’s Business Intelligence and Analytics in the Legal Profession Conference. Industry events are a great place to network and hear other professionals real-world experience with legal tools. Their aim for this conference was-- “to address the increasing prevalence (and significance) of data analytics and visualization tools within law firms — and how these tools are being used to accelerate productivity across key firm dimensions” --and they did just that. This conference sparked the idea to share a little bit about what law firm’s have learned from putting a business intelligence tool to work at their law firm. Three concepts discussed at the event that stood out were:

1. The path to a successful legal BI implementation
2. How to transform your data into actionable insight
3. Empower your entire firm with data

Our long time client, Ivan Orlic, the CFO at Davis Polk & Wardwell provided a fantastic informational session sharing with attendees, The Path To A Successful BI Implementation. We’ve had the opportunity to work with him at Davis Polk and Kaye Scholer, implementing our BI applications at each. His in-depth finance and accounting knowledge and 20 years of experience shows he truly understands how the importance of focusing on increasing efficiencies and disseminating actionable information through the use of innovative technology. Ivan’s session was so valuable, we thought it was important to share some takeaways here.

First things first, defining your BI goals sets your law firm up for success throughout the entire implementation process. There are four steps to make sure your firm’s needs, goals and culture all overlap and mesh together well.

  1. Understand your target audience and their needs
  2. Consider the bigger picture
  3. Define metrics and data points
  4. Define success

Ivan defines success as 80% of all billing partners using the dashboard within 6 months of the launch. Making sure the dashboard accurately monitors client activity, engagement activity, and timekeeper activity puts you on the right path to hit and exceed that number. Our recent blog post shares how to reach a 92% partner adoption rate, what a success that is!

law firm BIThe next three steps in the path to a successful BI implementation are Design, Develop, and Deploy. The design should stay focused and be developed around the user, and use cases. You want information on time on matters, billings, collections, WIP and A/R, and other KPI’s. Basically quick and actionable information for the user. As the BI dashboard for your law firm goes through the development process, the three main steps will be programming, validation, and testing. Most importantly, a well developed communication plan produces a successful project. Finally, you hit the deployment step and again communication is vital, this time with the users to provide support and check-ins.

Before reaching this process of implementation it is very important that you choose the appropriate BI solution. Selecting the right legal BI platform for your firm can be an intricate decision that includes multiple individuals and needs. The wrong decision could not only cost you thousands of dollars, but set your firm back months regarding data integrity or worse. This checklist, The 7 Attributes of an Effective Law Firm BI Platform highlights the necessary features you should look for.

More thoughts to come on the other topics we mentioned in a three blog part series: How To Transform Your Data Into Actionable Insights and Empower Your Entire Firm With Data. Be on the lookout on BigSquare’s Blog Spot for part two and three. Before we close out this post, we want to extend our gratitude to Ivan for sharing his expertise and experience working with legal business intelligence solutions and BigSquare with the conference attendees. His session and the entire conference was a great success! We love to be a part of events that share such relevant and important legal industry information.

Law firms have learned responding to an evolving business landscape in which they must reconsider how they compete—as well as who they are actually competing with is very important. The challenge and opportunity today is to understand how to apply these tools in the context of what law firms’ work and clients demand.


BigSquare is the leading provider of Business Intelligence for law firms and professional service organizations.  We focus exclusively on law firm reporting, law firm BI, law firm profitability and law firm analytics.

Key Profitability Metrics for Law Firms Cheat Sheet

Tags: Business Intelligence Legal BI

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