Being a lawyer is tough.
You rarely feel satisfied. According to the law firm office culture, you’re lazy if you don’t work three hours after you’re mentally and physically exhausted. No one seems to know or care whether you have provided clear value to your clients. Yeah, you produce results, but you push so much paper along the way it’s impossible to tell whether it was worth it.
Results are one big vacuum. Whether you’re great or you stink, most people won’t care. When you get a good result, you still piss everyone off because you emptied their pockets along the way. And when you do get to the pinnacle moment – trial – you lose weeks of sleep trying to convince a judge and a jury that know nothing about, and could care less about, what you’re doing.
In the business world, lawyers are just a massive expense. For lawyers in law firms, the only values you can specifically measure are the negative ones – your expenses and how much they owe. You try to demonstrate your value by sharing success stories, but you don’t measure that in any way that can be reasonably applied in the business world. The same problems exist for lawyers in companies. Unlike other executives, you’re on the negative side of the expense sheet, not the positive. You don’t make the company any money. No matter how hard you try to explain your value, businesses don’t understand.
Lawyers and clients deserve better. If a lawyer is good at what she does, clients should demand her. Similarly, clients deserve to know who to hire. The managing partner and the client’s executive are great friends, but everyone else from both companies is in a constant struggle to explain why so many profits should go towards legal expenses.
The right analytics is the missing piece to the puzzle. Lawyers need to be specific about more than just how much they are owed. Similarly, businesses need the opportunity to choose the right lawyer.
If lawyers don’t take charge of analytics today, they are leaving their fates up to everyone else.
Software Eats Industries that Don’t Measure Themselves:
Software will eat your job when you least expect it. By putting the customer first, Amazon, Uber, and AirBNB stole tens of billions of dollars from service companies.
These companies did it by matching supply with demand. How did they do that? Mostly using analytics. By knowing more about the users than their competitors, these companies delivered exactly what their users needed. Additionally, these companies destroyed their competitors by eliminating wasteful expenses, such as high salaries for middle management, lavish real estate, and having people do things that software does better.
The Ubers and AirBNBs of the world measure everything. As a result, they have eliminated their competition.
Ignoring Analytics Means You Might Fail:
If you don’t measure yourself, someone else will. Businesses use analytics to save money. Businesses gather data on performance and costs. Lawyers don’t fully understand how businesses operate and what their agendas are with their litigation. One business might want to hold onto money and keep paying its lawyers, while another might want to do the opposite. If you as a lawyer don’t know how you’re being measured, you may not find out until you get the axe.
Ignoring Analytics Invites Others to Write Your Destiny For You:
Analytics aren’t always a fair arbiter. Just like judges, analytics come with biases and opinions. Even when the analytics authors are trying their best, their still just displaying the data that they’re asked to provide. In other words, analytics are always valuable; however, someone trying to prove themselves may find that they can be incomplete. If you as a lawyer don’t share your value proposition, you can’t expect someone else to do it for you.
Software companies are destroying the middlemen in every industry, and the law is not immune to it. Unlike the traditional lawyer-client relationship, software companies use analytics to help connect supply with demand.
Paying attention to the lessons in this article comes down to one thing: are you a good lawyer or not? If you’re not and don’t plan to be, ignore this article because your time is running up. If you’re a good lawyer, you have work to do to.
Software will make good lawyers’ lives better. No longer will you be a gaping expense without any clear value. Instead, you will be the transparent competitor that’s good at what she does. Your clients are going to be happy to have the best lawyer, too.
Being a lawyer may still be tough for a while; however, if you’re a good lawyer, the future couldn’t be brighter.