More than likely, your firm is collecting data. Lots of it. From information about your clients, to win/loss records, to business growth and opportunities. But do you know how to best use all of this data to your advantage? There are many ways to utilize data in different parts of your legal process.
Data insights are becoming a widespread necessity across most industries including legal. They can provide invaluable information to your firm and increase efficiency. Data can influence every part of your process, from inception to reflection. It can help you understand where your money is best spent, how to simplify your work, and how successful current processes really are.
But the expanse of data can be so vast that the challenge lies in reading, understanding, and using it. So let’s take a look at a few specific ways you can use data to improve your work process.
Use data dashboards to help articulate progress
We know data collection is both crucial and continuous, but how is the data of any use if it’s not organized? Consolidating your data into dashboards has numerous benefits for you and your firm as it makes your data more readily accessible and easy to interpret.
Once organized, looking at your data in dashboards can help you articulate what resources you already have and what you will need going forward. For instance, you can view past data to gain insight into what the cost of a future project might be, help set expectations with clients on their case based on other similar proceedings you handled in the past, or tangibly report growth outcomes year-over-year with senior partners.
Making data dashboards can admittedly take some creation time up front, but once established and built upon, they remain an invaluable resource for visually showing stakeholders the facts. Getting everyone on the same page will help you make business decisions quickly and more soundly in the future.
Data can contribute to a more efficient process
Efficiency is imperative in the legal world. There is only so much time for lawyers to complete all of their necessary tasks, so streamlining smaller work is certainly something to consider. In the realm of document drafting, one way to streamline your process is by utilizing document automation.
Document automation pulls data from existing sources to automatically fill in existing document templates, leading to the creation of a new document. By automating this process you’re reducing the number of manual tasks within the drafting process. Using document automation, and subsequently data, to create automated workflows simplifies the process, leading to a more efficient firm.
You can also save time as the automated workflow routes the document for approval while minimizing the need for manual intervention. This allows lawyers to do fewer tedious tasks related to this process, and instead focus on agenda items of higher value, saving the lawyer time and creating a more efficient document drafting process. This streamlined process is possible due to the capabilities of data in the automation process.
Evaluate performance by data capture and comparison
Data collection is table-stakes in the legal industry. However, with the implementation of technology, the amount of data being collected and processed has exponentially increased. This makes comparing data an even more complicated endeavor.
But using data for evaluation isn’t limited to comparing the cases you’re working. It can also be used reflectively in a performance evaluation overall on the firm at large or the individuals within.
Once your data is organized, perhaps in a dashboard as we previously talked about, you can use it to make comparisons and glean insights into how to improve. What data you’re comparing is contingent on the performance goals you or the firm is striving to achieve. It’s important to compare data to understand if your firm is on track to meeting its goals, or to determine if an individual is performing how you want. You can also use data to articulate areas for improvement.
Let data-driven insights set your firm apart
Data is increasingly relevant to every segment of the legal process. There is a place for it in spending decisions, in process simplification, in performance evaluation, and more. Being able to understand and use data will only add to your firm’s arsenal. It provides a unique opportunity to understand where you can improve so you can gain an added edge against your competition.
Looking to learn more about letting data lead your legal process? Check out this blog on having a data-driven legal practice.