Measuring ROI: The bottom line on litigation technology
What is your time worth to you?
Whether you measure time by the billable hour, by your capacity to serve more clients, or by having work/life balance, maximizing the value of your time will drive profitability and the satisfaction you derive from your work.
Time saved, time used wisely, and time invested in the future of your practice: They’re key factors to consider when you evaluate litigation technology and the return on investment (ROI) for your firm.
Use technology to increase profitable time
How many hours a week do you spend drafting briefs, triple-checking cites, and assembling tables of authority? For larger cases, do you have to contract out for help with these tasks?
The nuts-and-bolts work of drafting, editing, and organizing is a vital part of the service you provide to clients. But when done without the right tools, it can divert resources (be it brainpower or money) that are better spent elsewhere. One important way that litigation technology helps you grow revenue is by enabling you to spend less time on time-intensive and repetitive work. When technology can handle burdensome tasks more efficiently and more accurately, you’ll find you are freed up to focus on higher-value client service and practice-development activities.
Two prominent examples of technological solutions that allow you to focus on profitable work are Drafting Assistant and Case Notebook. These litigation tools organize your essential case information, allow shared notes and files, and greatly reduce legal document drafting time. They enable firms to realize significant time savings in these common, day-to-day legal tasks. The difference can be significant.
Figures 1 and 2, below, show a few examples of the time savings firms can anticipate, based on studies that tracked the amount of time it took for attorneys to complete actual legal tasks – with and without technology.
Calculate the return on technology investments
If you use legal drafting technology to create your documents, the hours your firm would save each week is shown above. Multiply the hours saved by your billable rate for 52 weeks a year, and think about the impact that time savings can have on:
- Your firm’s capacity to serve more clients
- Improving the quality of your work
- Having more time to focus on your marketing efforts and grow your firm
If you were building something, would you rather hammer nails all day, or do the job in an hour with a nail gun? Moving to a streamlined, more efficient way of working frees you up to do what you do best – as a lawyer and a business owner. Financially, a leaner workflow helps you reduce write-offs and recover a higher percentage of research costs.
The end result: improved attorney billable hours, a stronger bottom line, and more rewarding days at the office.
Move beyond “business as usual”
From printed books to CD-ROMs to Web-based resources, the tools that attorneys use to conduct legal research have changed dramatically in just a few decades. Preparing for a case without the benefit of the internet seems unthinkable today. Yet some law firms have been slower to embrace the benefits of technology in other key aspects of their practice, such as case management and record keeping. For those firms, the hidden cost of “business as usual” is another key factor in evaluating the ROI impact of legal technology solutions.
Consider, for example, a 10-attorney practice that keeps its case notes and other records in bankers boxes. Boxes, additional files, a law library, and other material such as computer hardware are stored or maintained on site. That computer equipment and other IT resources – networks, software, etc. – are proprietary and serviced by multiple vendors.
While bankers boxes and yellow pads may be good enough to get the job done, the firm in question likely is failing to maximize its profit per case. That’s because the firm is likely:
- Wasting valuable time creating, recreating, or locating documents relevant to a case. That’s time that can be used more productively on analysis or other strategic work
- Paying for library and storage space, and for the maintenance, repair, and upgrade of computer networks and other proprietary systems
By moving to an cloud-based system for managing workload, a firm can eliminate extra costs and redundancies while improving its response time and ensure the confidentiality of case files and other records.
You want tools that deliver financial returns and help you tackle your daily workload in a time-saving – and quality enhancing – way.
With less time drafting, revising, proofing, and looking for potential trouble spots, attorneys can now be more confident their work is error free. They can now spend more time on activities that clients value more: listening, focusing on the bigger picture, and developing a sound legal strategy.