Why you should resolve to become a data-driven legal department in 2019
As this year comes to a close, we’re looking back at 2018 and looking ahead to 2019. It’s common to make New Year’s resolutions for your personal life, but what about your professional life? In part-one of this series, we started talking about how becoming a data-driven legal department or law office can produce exciting benefits for you and your coworkers.
The Legal Files Software team explained how quantitative reporting and data mining can help legal professionals with staffing and risk management, but the benefits don’t stop there. They also extend to areas that include spend management, litigation and departmental performance.
Whether you already have a legal matter management system or you’re considering implementing one in your workplace, you’ll find that reporting can improve the way that you practice law. You already have a wealth of data and information, so why not become a data-driven legal department and reap the benefits of quantitative reporting?
Example Three: Using data for spend management
In the legal profession, the term “spend management” gets thrown around quite a bit. Simply put, spend management refers to finding a way to effectively manage costs, primarily via external resource allocation, rate management, leverage and alternative fee arrangements. Although spend management applies to many different costs, outside counsel fees are among the most common.
When it comes to spend management for outside counsel, you want to ask whether your current reporting tool provides strategic information that can help with decision-making. You should be able to view different facts and performance-related information, rather than just information about costs.
If your legal department or law office is only tracking costs, it might appear that outside counsel with a lower fee is a better investment. However, with case management software from Legal Files, you can view detailed information that allows you to see nuances and spot trends. Your team may find that the more expensive outside counsel produces much better results and is worth the added cost. Quantitative reporting allows you to see the entire picture, rather than just a piece of it.
Example four: Using data to improve departmental performance
Every legal professional serves a different group. For example, if you’re part of a corporate legal department, you serve that corporation. However, it doesn’t matter who you serve in your role as an attorney or paralegal, it’s always important to work efficiently and provide superior service. This is another area where it makes sense to become a data-driven legal department.
With quantitative reporting, you can review your data to find ways you and your team can be more effective as a legal department or law office. This is important because you can’t track what you don’t measure, and you can’t make meaningful changes without comprehensive metrics.
When it comes to departmental performance, it’s important to track individual employees and the department as a whole. Legal Files allows you to track response times on requests for information and requests for legal services for both individuals and groups.
By reviewing workloads and turnaround times for the legal department, you can see how your department is providing services and look for ways to cut down on response time and increase speed. One such way is implementing tools from Legal Files, including document automation and task management. When it comes to individual employees, evaluating workloads and running proper reports can show whether you need to provide additional work or additional help to complete the work they already have.
Legal Files reporting helps to identify which areas need improvement and can provide guidance on the best way to do it. For example, if the data reveals that employees need help, it doesn’t always mean hiring more staff, although it can in some cases. Sometimes, it can simply mean utilizing tools in Legal Files to identify roadblocks and break down the steps in complicated processes. Basically, it involves using tools to work smarter, not harder.
Example five: Using data to help with litigation
If you’re a legal professional who deals with litigation, you want to craft the strongest litigation strategy possible. In order to do this, your legal department or law office needs to be able to review successful arguments from similar cases. However, this involves looking at more than just the facts of a case, you’ll also need to know information about judge rulings, the experience of opposing counsel and different jurisdictions.
When it comes to judges, data can help you see how a judge has ruled on similar cases in the past and the types of authority he or she tends to cite. This information can help you craft your strategy and arguments. If you have proper venue in multiple courts, you can use data to review the potential jurisdictions that could hear your case and find the one that is most likely to be favorable to it. As for opposing counsel, data can provide insight into their experience and their courtroom behavior, which can help you prepare to face them in court.
It might seem like a burden to collect all of this data about past cases, but this is another area where being a data-driven legal department is valuable. With quantitative reporting from Legal Files, your team can easily collect and analyze the data that is important to you. Best of all, this information can be available in minutes, rather than in hours or days, which allows you to craft a data-driven litigation strategy in a relatively short period of time.
Putting together all of the pieces of the data puzzle
Now that you understand why it’s important to be a data-driven legal department or law office, you can start taking steps to become one in 2019. Make the coming year the most organized and effective one yet.by implementing a software program like Legal Files that offers quantitative reporting.