Firm Analytics, KPIs and Reporting Tools

What is Firm Analytics, KPIs and Reporting Tools?

Firm analytics, key performance indicators (KPIs), and reporting tools enable law firms and legal organizations to integrate data from various sources and use data analytics, advanced reporting, and dashboards to gain insight into profitability, performance, effectiveness, market trends, marketing campaigns, and other business considerations.

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Why should a law firm use analytics, KPIs, and reporting tools?

Analytics, KPIs, and reporting tools help firms understand financial trends, marketing costs, productivity, spending, and revenue to make informed pricing, budgeting, and operations decisions. Firms can better manage resources with real-time and historical billing information showing utilization, realization, and collection. Use historical spending data on marketing and other suppliers to realize future savings. Analytics and reporting tools can track productivity by hours and convert that to dollars or different values to assess.

Clients demand insight into the work accomplished on their matters and often require legal spending and budget approvals and updates. Analytics and reporting tools can deliver data to clients using informative dashboards and advanced reporting techniques.

How can my law firm use firm analytics, KPIs, and reporting tools?

Use analytics, KPIs, and reporting tools to understand the costs and value of current and historical marketing campaigns and matters. This allows you to compare prices and cases, assess practice strengths and weaknesses, determine firm and lawyer productivity, and even build tailored fee arrangements that work for clients. Analytics can show attorney availability and compare their billable and nonbillable hours across practice areas. Firms can even become smarter litigators by managing risk and achieving planned outcomes.

What features do firm analytics, KPIs, and reporting tools include?

These tools typically look at marketing costs, timesheets, invoices, revenue, and accounts receivable to show productivity (by lawyer and firm) and income and identify the risk of uncollectable bills and weak practice areas. For example, firmTRAK Visualize provides a legal-focused KPI dashboard with more than 100 KPIs and metrics for law firms. Foundation Firm Intelligence (Litera) transforms data about clients and matters into actionable information.

Many legal technology providers include analytics, KPIs, and reporting tools specific to the business problems they address. Lawmatics provides custom insight into client-attorney relationships using the firm’s goals and objectives, custom reporting, and data analytics. ECFX Notice tracks various electronic court filing (ECF) activities in an analytics dashboard, which automates downloading, profiling, storing, and distributing court documents in ECF notices for federal and state courts.

Law practice management suites track time and expenses, manage billing and invoicing, and provide accounting and trust accounting software with analytics and in-depth reporting that offer insight and analysis to handle the business and law practice.

Spend management software like Bodhala and Enterprise Legal Management by Elevate plan, track, control, and review outside counsel legal costs. These platforms provide legal spend analytics for corporate legal departments with in-depth analysis and spending optimization.

The LawNext directory tracks the features of firm analytics, KPIs, and reporting tools, including client KPIs, custom reports, dashboards, matter KPIs, matter tracker, financials, integrated legal KPI dashboard, matter tracking, productivity KPIs, productivity target tracking, and accounts receivable.

Should I choose firm analytics, KPIs, and reporting tools that are cloud-based or on-premises?

Suppose the firm’s business and practice data is stored on-premises and is not ready to transfer to cloud-based repositories for analysis. In that case, on-premises analytics, KPIs, and reporting tools software are cost-efficient—data is analyzed locally and not transmitted to the cloud.

If the firm’s data is in the cloud, choosing a cloud-based provider of analytics, KPIs, and reporting tools is the most cost-efficient. Data born in the cloud should stay there unless the firm has stringent client data security and privacy requirements or needs to integrate with legacy systems that SaaS cannot access. The organization must have sufficient IT budget and resources to support the installation, troubleshooting, and maintenance of the on-premises software.

Using cloud-based software reduces the total cost of ownership. Cloud software requires no capital expenditures (CAPEX) and maintenance on local computers to run the software. It relieves organizations of the administrative burden of supporting, upgrading, and patching on-premises servers. The user experience from cloud-based software is like on-premises systems, but users get immediate access to the software’s latest features and security updates in the cloud.

Should I select all-in-one software with firm analytics, KPIs, and reporting tools or a-la-carte software?

Many legal software providers, including law practice management suites, provide data analytics, KPIs, and reporting tools with their all-in-one offerings. If the firm uses all-in-one software or plans to acquire it, scrutinize the provider’s out-of-the-box offering and add-on software for analytics, KPIs, and reporting tools. It may be sufficient for your requirements. If not, investigate adding custom database fields to capture, report, and analyze the required data.

If all-in-one software does not meet firm requirements, investigate an analytics and reporting tool that supports your existing software. For example, Clocktimizer (Litera) and Intellistat Analytics (BigHand) provide vital metrics, tracking, and reporting for Aderant and Thomson Reuters Elite Enterprise and Elite E3. If you use Clio Manage myFirmData can build reports using more than 250 fields, including custom fields, and firmTRAK Visualize can provide more than 100 different KPIs.

Select an a-la-carte offering of analytics, KPIs, and reporting tools if you need to collect data from disparate resources to analyze and report. The offering should support your existing software or connect to it via an open application programming interface (API). For example, Iridium BI (Bighand) provides law firms with analytical dashboards to fit goals and custom business requirements.

What should I expect to pay for firm analytics, KPIs, and reporting tools?

If you use an all-in-one offering for analytics, KPIs, and reporting, pay no more than the cost of the software and any add-on required for analytics. Starting at $39 per user per month, Clio’s Easy Start plan supports a firm dashboard, financial reporting, time and expense tracking, and trust account reporting. Clio’s Advanced plan for $99 per user per month provides more advanced reporting for fee allocations, matter budgets, etc.

A-la-carte offerings for analytics, KPIs, and reporting tools can start for less than $100 per month and scale by feature availability and the number of active users. For example, firmTRAK Visualize begins at $49 per month for one to three active users.

If you’re looking for an a-la-carte offering, don’t limit your options to legal technology offerings. Many data analytics and reporting tools can ingest data exports in Excel or other formats for custom analytics and reporting. For example, Microsoft Power BI Pro starts at $10 per user per month, and Tableau visual analytics pricing starts at $70 per Creator per month and $15 per Viewer per month. Power BI, Tableau, and other options outside of legal tech will need IT support attuned to data analytics and visualization.