As the first quarter came to an end, many lawyers found themselves under last-minute pressure to recall where they spent their time and record it in the billable hours tracking system. This can be a stressful and time-consuming process that limits law firm’s focus only on billable hours rather than the overall success of a law firm.

There may be better options than focusing on billed hours when measuring a firm’s success. But before we head to the alternatives, let’s compare some data.

According to a PWC Law Firm survey, in 2022, the top 10 law firms tracked on average 1373 billable hours per fee earner annually. However, if we look at companies below the top 50 by their performance, the average billable hours drop by almost 25%, down to 1050 hours annually. Often, it’s not about working more or less but about having healthy data practices that are part of organisational culture.

Collecting strong data (data beyond billable hours) is the only means to make decisions about a firm’s performance more reliable than trusting coffee grounds. As Aku Sorainen, founder and senior partner of the law firm Sorainen, says: “If we don’t get enough quality data to the system, then we can’t analyse the data: trash in, trash out.”

A lesson from leading law firms: build a data-driven culture

Lawyers shouldn’t dread data. For ambitious individuals, data is a powerful career-boosting tool and the best way to prove their value. Law firm management should ensure they are given the right tools and supported by well-crafted processes, then relax and let them flourish.

When asked what helped to build such a winning culture at Sorainen, Aku Sorainen shared some tips:

“Data hygiene must be an element of the culture, where everyone feels responsible for the correctness of all data. At Sorainen, we have around 40 different performance indicators, and the importance of those indicators depends on the lawyer and their personal strengths and weaknesses. Thus, we rely not on strict requirements but on a flexible system that focuses on individual aspects. To strengthen such a data-driven culture, we have found it helpful to measure not only such statistical factors as utilization, realization rates, and delay-days of data entering the system but also the following:

  • How proactive does the lawyer in developing important client relationships?
  • How valuable does a lawyer make the CRM entries for other lawyers?
  • How much are the templates and precedents being used, and what differences are there between partners and teams using those tools?
  • How many debriefing notes do different teams make?
  • How many outbound referrals to our clients and foreign law firms do our partners and lawyers make?

Eventually, measuring these activities impacts the firm culture, and all people, including partners and lawyers, become more disciplined in entering relevant data into the system.

When we can create such a culture where all lawyers are responsible for entering, managing and sharing data, we can start entering opportunities to use economies of scale, data-analysing tools and other sophisticated IT tools.”

Sounds good, but no IT system matches your expectations?

Crespect is an intelligent legal practice management system designed to manage and grow your legal business.

With Crespect, you can give your team an all-in-one tool built on state-of-the-art law firms’ practices. As a result, it is a frustration-free case. Time and client relationship management features are only a few examples of what you can expect.

We still have some spots available for early adopters – it’s your chance to jump on the high-performers train.

Book a call to learn how Crespect can help your firm grow.