Tough Topics Challenging Office Conversations

Why Law Firms Should Be Embracing Analytics

Estimates indicate that 328.77 million terabytes of data of data are produced daily. However, law firms represent a segment that hasn’t fully embraced incorporating data into their practices. 

Jeff Anderson

A Bloomberg Law report shows only one-quarter of attorneys reported that their organizations currently have data-focused staff. Unlike the rest of corporate America, leveraging data analytics for better business decision-making is still in its infancy. According to Bloomberg, firms, surprisingly, don’t believe there’s a need for data expertise. This not only explains their hesitancy, but also doesn’t make sense given how data-centric society has become.

Technology — especially data analytics — can help law firms weather new challenges, among them rising costs, maintaining profitability, a shortage of attorneys and the retention of existing staff.  

It has been harder for law firms to avoid technology’s advancement. In fact, Gartner expects spending on legal technology to grow threefold by 2025. Additionally, the International Legal Technology Association (ILTA) is focusing efforts to bring data to the legal industry and help organizations integrate it into their practices.

With the economy still unpredictable, law firms will continue to reevaluate their needs. However, they should be open to incorporating data analytics to gain an advantage in growing and prospering in a changing marketplace.


Law firms don’t need internal data-focused staff to obtain metrics to make informed, data-driven decisions. Partnering with a data analytics provider with legal experience can help firms improve visibility into the key performance metrics that matter, such as performance (by staff, legal disciplines, partner firms, etc.); case levels; spend and budget; litigation expenses; flat-fee efficiency; and case duration. 

Everyone is getting on the digital bandwagon within the legal ecosystem, from clients to courts to expert witnesses. It’s time for law firms to learn to use that information more strategically to make better decisions — where they can make changes, boost productivity or optimize operations.

Numerous data analytics solution providers exist in the marketplace. However, the most innovative vendors with deep legal expertise can seamlessly pull together multiple data sources into one common view through configurable, custom-built dashboards. In many instances, dashboards can be integrated with existing legal tracking systems and/or gain access to aggregated data from other law firms worldwide to provide more valuable and insightful analytics on a variety of matters.

Law firms that incorporate operational data analytics can expect some of the following benefits:

  • Faster, more informed decisions enabled by on-demand access
  • Time savings through process automation
  • Creation of new value by freeing up team members to focus on higher priorities
  • Easy-to-understand and up-to-date metric summaries for stakeholders and leadership, accessible in real time
  • Consistent status reports on a schedule, populated with current data
  • Consolidation of data sources into one full view


More law firms have become targets for cybercriminals this past year considering the personal and confidential client information they possess. A recent report shows 27% of law firms experienced a security breach in 2022 alone, spanning more than 100 law firms in over 17 states.

“Everyone is getting on the digital bandwagon within the legal ecosystem, from clients to courts to expert witnesses. It’s time for law firms to learn to use that information more strategically to make better decisions — where they can make changes, boost productivity or optimize operations.”

Data security is paramount when engaging any data analytics provider since the legal industry is very regulated. Your cyber defenses must be rock solid not only in terms of maintaining compliance, but also protecting law firms’ integrity and reputations.


Incorporating data analytics into business decision-making can seem daunting — particularly for firms that are not analytically sophisticated or technologically savvy. However, working with the right data analytics partner can make the experience a success.  

Here are the top questions law firm leaders should answer before starting their data analytics journey:  

  1. What decisions should we be making based on data and facts instead of relying on our “gut feel?”
  2. If we had a clear, highly accurate and real-time view of our operations, how much more efficient could we be?
  3. How much additional profit could we drive with more data-driven insights into our operations such as associate utilization and performance, dimensions of matters, attributes of the best cases, and forecasting of case duration and spend?
  4. How could we take advantage of data and analytics technologies that have been successfully used by other law firms and/or pioneered in other industries?

It’s impossible to look into a crystal ball to see what next year may bring. Inflation is still not under control, remote work continues and clients expect more services. Law firms cannot control any of these economic levers. However, firms can control how they plan and manage these marketplace impacts with accessible, real-time data that informs smarter business strategies and tactics.