Productivity data: this is how lawyers work
One of the hardest parts of running a law firm is getting the most out of your time. This is because running a law firm is not easy. Your to-do list can quickly become overwhelming when you’re in charge of both practicing law and running your law firm.
This is where streamlined law firm processes come in. If you reduce redundancies, your law firm will run more smoothly and efficiently. One of the best ways to increase your productivity? By choosing the right software tools to run your law firm.
Of course, every law firm is different. The productivity needs of lawyers vary by practice area. Practice area requirements drive workflows and processes, and therefore even lawyers using the same software will use it differently depending on the type of law they practice.
The benchmark report
Benchmark data recently obtained from the MyCase law practice management platform supports this hypothesis. The data was anonymized and then analyzed to understand how different legal professionals working in various practice areas used the features available to them.
The goal is to find out which features have the most impact on lawyers’ day-to-day activities and learn more about how lawyers in different practice areas do their jobs. To get this insight, we compared practice areas, focusing on the biggest gaps in productivity feature usage.
The end result is the MyCase 2022 Benchmark Report, which will be a three-part series. In Part 1, we analyzed productivity data to determine how work is done in companies and by whom. Parts 2 and 3 will provide insight into financial and lead generation data.
Part 1 was published this month and provides lots of interesting insights into how lawyers work in their firms. It includes benchmark data that lawyers can use to compare their firm’s performance to other firms in a similar situation and ultimately make better business decisions. Below, I highlight some of the most notable findings.
Capture more time
Let’s first look at the data related to time tracking. For attorneys who bill by the hour, accurate time tracking is key to profitability. Among other things, we looked at how avocados track time and what features increased captured time. The most notable learning was the difference passive time tracking tools can make to a company’s bottom line.
Passive time tracking tools work in the background and capture a lawyer’s work while using software. The data in the report shows how valuable this feature can be for law firms.
Notably, 25% of legal professionals using Smart Time Finder logged 186,214 additional billable hours in 2021, or 25 additional billable hours per person. Assuming a billing rate of $350 per hour, this means that $65,174,900 worth of billable time was captured globally using this feature, which represents an additional billing of $8,600 $ per lawyer.
Other interesting data from the report highlights just how different the workflows of different practice areas can be. There are particularly notable contrasts between litigation and transactional practices, especially when the practice areas with the largest gaps in their use of productivity features are analyzed.
For example, consider the difference in the average number of text messages sent from the MyCase platform per case in the following practice areas:
- Family law — 20
- Criminal law — 20
- Real estate — 15
- Trust and estate — 9
There is a similar trend with Secure Customer Portal messages sent per case:
- Marital — 23
- Family law — 19
- Trust and estate — 10
- Real estate — 8
As you can see, the number of communications sent varied by practice area, with some clients requiring higher levels of interaction.
Similar trends were found with collaboration data. Fewer documents were created and shared in transactional practices, while marriage and family law professionals created documents and collaborated on them more often with clients.
Here is the data on the average number of documents created per case:
- Family law — 31
- Marital — 27
- Bodily injuries — 21
- Criminal law — 13
- Traffic — 6
Then, the number of documents shared per case:
- Marital — 24
- Family law — 20
- Employment — 18
- Trust and estate — 9
- Real estate — 7
How does your business compare?
Now that you have a better idea of how other law firms do their jobs, take a look at how your firm operates and try to better understand where the inefficiencies lie. Figure out how the tools your company has in place are affecting productivity, for better or worse.
Compare your company’s daily practices with the data shared in this report. How simplified are your business processes? Do you communicate and collaborate with your clients as often as other firms?
This benchmark analysis is helpful because the more you understand how the technology you choose is used in your business, the better your business will perform. By increasing the efficiency and productivity of your business, you provide an easier and smoother experience for everyone in your business and for your customers.
Nicole Black is a Rochester, New York attorney and Director of Business and Community Relations at My case, web-based law firm management software. She was blog since 2005, wrote a weekly column for the Daily Record since 2007, is the author of Cloud Computing for Lawyersco-authors Social Media for Lawyers: The Next Frontierand co-authors Criminal Law in New York. She is easily distracted by the potential of shiny and shiny technological gadgets, as well as good food and wine. You can follow her on Twitter at @nikiblack and she can be reached at [email protected].