The Couch-Jumping Partner, Part II

September 10, 2014

Internet BackgroundIn the first part of this post, I discussed my experience working with law firms and how partners have really seized on the information and data available to them – sometimes in very animated ways!

In this portion of the post, I am going to explore the uses for this data.

1)    Winning business

Partners are reviewing data on how long a company has taken to resolve matters with their current counsel, then using data on their own firm to show, when possible, how their firm has been resolving the same types of matters more efficiently.  This can fuel conversations with prospects around how the firm not only has an excellent record but can also save them time and money.

2)    Deciding whether to take on a new client

Not all new business is good business.  Knowing how a potential client has handled matters in the past can help the firm better match their culture with that of the potential client and do a better job of going after “ideal” clients.

3)    Responding to AFA requests

Clients asking for alternative fee arrangements want predictable costs.  Law firms agreeing to alternative fee structures want predictable expenses.  Knowing how a company prefers to manage litigation or how it has handled matters in the past can help a firm have a better starting point from which to set those fees.  Additionally, firms can look at a group of the client’s competitors to assess a benchmark for the industry, or even look at the judge hearing a matter or the overall court and understand those trends, which in turn lead to smarter decisions up front.  The firm is able to shift from decisions based on hunches to data-driven decisions.

4)    Advising a client, estimating the cost of litigation and settlement negotiations

Case resolution statistics are being used more and more to review trends for a group of industry competitors, a judge or court, and then to advise clients on what to expect should the case go to trial, and/or whether they should consider settlement.

5)    Litigation strategy

Understanding the experience of a judge, opposing party, opposing counsel and/or the opposing counsel representing the opposing party in front of the judge, and what’s happened historically – all of this can fuel better strategy around how to handle a specific matter.

I am a self proclaimed data geek.  I admit it.  I love it.  The magic mirror peering into the future may never be perfect, but it is getting better and better as more and more-precise data is fueling better business decisions.  Witnessing partners become so enthused and hearing them brainstorm around all the ways they can incorporate the information to grow their business – to be a part of that conversation, to me, that’s a good day.  That’s a win-win.

It almost makes me want to jump on a couch.