Capturing the value of legal services: matter management in the cloud

Capturing the value of legal services: data-driven practice management

Data-driven legal services practice management

│ Software review & data-driven legal services in collaboration with Matters.Cloud

Traditionally lawyers have been measuring the value of their input in correlation with the time spent on legal work. While tracking time is relatively quick and easy, capturing the true worth of legal services can be a challenge. Yet demonstrating added value is increasingly needed in light of a changing economy and client pressures to reduce bills. Digital tools designed for the legal industry allow a shift away from the billable hour and enable workflow data analytics that capture valuable human expertise. 

We work closely together with the Matters.Cloud team to help lawyers structure their matters and capture both qualitative and quantitative metrics of their performance. By offering law firms a cloud-based business tool with customizable data fields, we found that Matters.Cloud provides a veritable way of showcasing the added-value of legal services.


Editor’s note: Matters.Cloud have asked InvestCEE to prepare a detailed overview of their cloud-based legal practice management solution. This article is Part 3 of the Matters.Cloud software review series and focuses on capturing metrics as legal service performance indicators.  Part 1 and Part 2 were dedicated to the business functions enabled by Matters.Cloud and questions to ask vendors when shopping around for a cloud-based practice management system. InvestCEE software reviews focus only on legal technology vendors and products that we believe demonstrate quality, thoughtfulness, responsiveness, and legal innovation. 


Data-driven legal practice management

The emergence of data-driven systems and legal technology tools, combined with the rapid pace of digital transformation (further accelerated by the COVID-19 crisis) put significant pressures on legal teams. Lawyers, both solo private practice attorneys and those working in teams, are increasingly required to track and demonstrate the actual value they create for clients. To make the most of the current circumstances, legal teams must evolve into a strategic task force that is able to make the most of technology tools.

InvestCEE insight #1: Forward-thinking legal teams use data analytics to track and demonstrate added value beyond the billable hour. 


matters.Cloud Package for InvestCEE Clients

↠ Special Discount – 50% off for six months
€12.50 per user per month for the first 6 months, then just €25 afterwards. No minimum users and rolling 30 day term applies.
↠ Free Initial Configuration Session
We will work with new clients to configure the solution to meet their particular needs. During this session we will cover aspects including setting up matter types, creating activity and expense code sets relevant to your work types, inviting additional users, configuring invoice details and more.
↠ Free Data Transfer Assistance
We will work in partnership with you to import existing data (eg Clients, Matters and Un-billed time lines) into the matters.Cloud system.

Lawyers in a Strategic Role 

Operating as a strategic task force, legal teams can be far more proactive in tracking and measuring all sorts of legal data (and not just time) compared to their traditional peers. Equipped with the right technology and a data-driven mindset, lawyers gain a more competitive presence in this new reality: better positioned to evaluate and demonstrate the actual value created for individual clients and businesses. Also, better positioned to support increasingly digital economies.

InvestCEE insight #2: In a digital economy, the value of legal work largely results from core human expertise multiplied by the ability to efficiently “package” legal know-how into technology. 


 

While the COVID-19 crisis has set a number of new priorities, implementing technology to streamline workflow and capture data remains immediately relevant for both legal and business teams. Technology is available to simplify workflow and digitize routine or manual processes. Forward-looking legal teams should prioritize implementing such systems as soon as possible. A proactive approach to making the most of technology is critical to mitigate the long-term effects of business interruption created by the pandemic. 

InvestCEE insight #3: Smart legal leaders use this momentum to turn their operations into a data-driven, strategic operational unit.


Capturing Data in Legal Services

In Part 1 of the article series about Matters.Cloud, InvestCEE consultant Chuck Henrich explained that data security of legal practice management platforms deserves as much attention as usability and feature sets. In Part 2, we highlighted key questions to consider when investing into a legal practice management tool — from the perspective of solo lawyers and small to mid-size law firms. In this Part 3 of the article series, we share insights about doing legal business differently by capturing value beyond reference to time units

To measure value of legal services more accurately, lawyers need to capture all sorts of data in their processes — both internal and client-facing workstreams. A carefully crafted practice management platform enables lawyers to more efficiently structure their matters and capture qualitative and quantitative metrics of legal services. We found that the client- and matter-specific data fields developed by Matters.Cloud enable lawyers to better demonstrate the added-value of their legal services.

InvestCEE insight #4: To make the most of data analytics, each legal team should have an internal list of metrics to track in their work processes — adapted to the dynamics and working style of each team. 


Guidelines for Data-driven Legal Services

While we believe that capturing workflow data should be aligned with the specific working routines of each legal team, there are some general guidelines that may be helpful to all lawyers across the private practice spectrum.

To inspire for more data-driven legal services, we have come up with a non-exhaustive list of metrics and looked at how Matters.Cloud enabled capturing data in each of the below areas:

  • Resource/capacity allocation: what type of legal work the team is doing, and who is performing the work for which client.

Matters.Cloud labels and organizes functions via a clean, lean, configurable dashboard that surfaces key performance indicators (KPIs) out of the box. KPIs in legal services context include time and resource expenditures, billing, profitability — metrics that enable visibility on the business of law. An intuitive, user-friendly dashboard helps changes lawyers’ perspective on data-driven legal service delivery.

  • Business efficiency: track opportunities, ongoing matters and number of projects closed.

Matters.Cloud’s enables lawyers to track the valuable work it takes to land a new client or matter, and to leverage the information gathered pre-engagement. Business intelligence starts at the opportunity stage: the “Opportunity” view in Matters.Cloud allows lawyers to record data and measure all work invested to win an engagement, then convert that opportunity to a live matter, capture ongoing workflow data, and keep track of data recorded for each completed task and project. 

  • Operational efficiency: track project plans, tasks and milestones.

Matters.Cloud allows lawyers to break down each matter into phases and tasks, including recording of the estimated time required to deliver. Essentially this acts as a checklist helping to guide the lawyer through the  case and assisting them when keeping the client up to date on progress.  

  • Client relationship management: keep safe and track client information for delivering an excellent client service.

Bringing together aspects typically associated with a separate CRM software, Matters.Cloud allows law firms to capture notes, tasks, opportunities and documents. This feature helps solo lawyers and small to mid-size firms focus on delivering an excellent customer experience. 

  • Budget and pricing: track value creation for specific workstreams or projects.

Matters.Cloud enables applying estimates to each phase of legal service delivery to help determine the correct approach to pricing. This approach allows lawyers to understand the impact of adopting a fixed price for delivery of the work.

Matters.Cloud also makes it easy to raise invoices for non-time based work allowing a fee for delivery of a service to be added in a few clicks.

For firms using a combination of hourly and fixed fees, Matters.Cloud allows for specific activity level rates rather than the traditional approach of rates for each person. This allows repetitive tasks that have a lower value to be priced accordingly. Something that is particularly important for smaller practices where an experience lawyer may undertake different aspects of the work.

Firms considering adopting a subscription approach to delivery of legal services, can measure the time spent by setting their time entry to ‘under contract’ rather than billable, helping them to understand the costs associated with delivering the subscription services.

  • Internal deadlines: track how long a client request sits with the project team or is awaiting approval.

Matters.Cloud allows lawyers to record internal deadlines under the “Tasks” functionality. The “Tasks” timeline view which provides everyone within the firm with details of upcoming internal deadlines. It also lists categorized tasks and statuses and allows easy export for internal reporting purposes.

  • External deadlines: track internal performance against client or institutional schedules.

With Matters.Cloud, lawyers can record external deadlines under the “Tasks” or “Appointment” tabs. This enables visibility within the team for all upcoming external deadlines. Similarly to tracking internal deadlines, Matters.Cloud helps categorize client-facing tasks and statuses and ensures visual reporting for law firms’ internal meetings.

  • Preliminary risk rating: estimate risk levels undertaken with certain types of legal work or projects.

Matters.Cloud allows lawyers to configure and customize project-specific data fields to capture risk and compliance information, helping to automate the process and reduce risk of non compliance.

  • Subsequent risk analysis: track the number and outcome of legal and business risks mitigated by the legal team, value of fines, settlements, etc.

Matters.Cloud provides an easily extendable data structure that allows lawyers to capture matter-specific data points such as mitigated risks, case outcomes etc. to be recorded against each matter for subsequent analysis.


Demonstrating Value with Data

By tracking various metrics in legal work (and not just time), lawyers can adapt to changing industry trends quicker and supercharge their team’s performance. The sooner legal teams are able to implement a data strategy through smart technology, the more leverage they will gain from efficiency and information management. 

Using technology to track workflow data enables legal teams to shift away from the billable hour and demonstrate the actual value created by legal services. In turn, that creates cost certainty for clients, and revenue predictability for firms.

InvestCEE insight #5: With data-driven tools and insights, lawyers can increase the quality of legal services and offer strategic support for business clients and the economy at large.


matters.Cloud Package for InvestCEE Clients


Ready to Launch Data-driven Legal Services?

Now is a great time for solo lawyers and small to mid-size firms to start capturing and measuring data in their internal and client-facing work processes. We have selected Matters.Cloud for our LegalTech Marketplace because we found their data-driven practice management solution to truly help small to mid-size firms and solo practitioners capture and measure qualitative and quantitative performance indicators in legal work. Opt in for the Matters.Cloud Package for InvestCEE clients to test key features or get in touch with us to learn more.

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