How can SME law firms become more data-driven?

Amy Bruce, Head of Marekting at Osprey Approach

By Amy Bruce, head of marketing at Legal Futures Associate Osprey Approach

In the first episode of the second series of the Osprey Approach Build Better Habits webinars,  I was delighted to be joined by CJ Anderson, director at Iron Carrot, Ian Hopkins, senior consultant at CPM21, and Sam Jordan, COO at InfoTrack. Our expert panel shared their practical tips and advice on how to become a more data-driven law firm and how that can help you optimise for long-term success.

What does it mean to be data-driven?

According to the 2023 LPM Frontiers report, becoming more data-driven in decision making is one of the top three strategic priorities for SMEs over the next 12months. Our guest speakers were in agreement that being data-driven enabled teams to make more informed decisions but crucially, it’s about changing the firm’s culture and adopting a different mindset.

CJ explained that “being data-driven is about using data to support a goal you’d like to achieve. Using data takes away some of the mental calories from people that are making those decisions.”

Both Ian and Sam highlighted that whilst data removes an element of emotional decision making, intuition is still key in getting the most from your data. Sam expanded, “humans make decisions emotionally, but being data-driven means those decisions can be backed up by data for better outcomes.”

Becoming a data-driven law firm is a long-term project, not something that will happen overnight. This is why Ian thinks about utilising data in two stages: “Step one is about moving people away from making decisions based solely on gut instincts. I believe most firms are in that stage. Then, once established, you can push on and develop into a true data-driven business.”

Why modern law firms should prioritise becoming data-driven

Our panellists highlighted that becoming more data-driven doesn’t just impact firms’ financial performance but also client service and empowering employees.

Sam highlighted the power data can have on your long-term success: “Perhaps the ultimate value of being data driven is how it can create a competitive advantage for your firm. Data should be used to make decisions that will open up new opportunities.”

Long-term success is routed in your ability to hone your competitive advantage. CJ discussed how data can help firms tackle their top strategic priority: enhancing the client experience. “Most law firms are looking at data from a client perspective to enable them to have better client conversations.

“If you have the right data to hand you can have a better conversation about how many hours are on the clock, how much work will cost, how you will help them, and the firm’s action plan.”

Four habits law firms should adopt to become more data-driven

The panel agreed that modern law firms should focus on the following habits to become more data driven:

  1. Decide what is important to you

Start by aligning your data to your firm’s goals and objectives. CJ explained: “know which data is important to you and make sure everyone in the firm knows where to find it, how to input it, and how to get the data back out.”

  1. Agree on the metrics

The metrics you track should be clear and uncomplicated. CJ recommended that firms, “agree on what the metrics are, what they mean, and how they’re going to be calculated. It sounds pedestrian, but it’s important all departments are calculating and analysing the data in the same way.” Reducing ambiguity in the data is crucial for accuracy and impactful decision making.

  1. Provide training

A successful data-driven culture requires effective utilisation of the data you collect. Sam recommended that “the data needs to accessible to everyone. People need to know how to input it and use it, which requires the right skill sets and therefore the right training.”

  1. Work in a measurable way

The goals you’re looking to achieve as a firm should be measurable in order to utilise the data. Sam explained how his team at InfoTrack work in a measurable way: “It’s important to connect the dots across the business and for us… we have five priorities, every quarter, that we try to achieve. Those top five objectives flow throughout the company so every department and individual have measurable objectives that align with those top goals.”

Building a data-driven law firm requires the right culture and legal tech

It’s no wonder that becoming more data-driven is a strategic priority for many SME law firms because it sits at the heart of long-term success. Accessing and utilising data helps you develop your competitive advantage and deliver a service that clients recommend and return to. Data helps you get the most from your employees but also empowers them to meet their own goals.

To get exclusive advice and guidance on becoming a more data-driven law firm, watch the full episode on-demand for free now. In the webinar CJ, Sam, and Ian share further best practices and guidance on:

  • Where to start when implementing a data-driven strategy
  • Three more habits all successful data-driven law firm adopt
  • The legal tech and digital tools needed to be data-driven

Becoming a data-driven firm helps to fuel a continuous improvement mindset, which is one of the four fundamental habits we’ve outlined that all modern law firms should adopt for long-term success.

We’ve covered all four habits in our Build Better Habits webinar series, which you can watch on-demand now.


Associate News is provided by Legal Futures Associates.
Find out about becoming an Associate


Loading animation