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Metrics are all the rage these days. Given the steady invasion of technology into our lives, it was only inevitable that metrics would impact the legal field. For example, now metrics can be used to measure you productivity (or non-productivity) at work.
Happily, lawyers offer a somewhat intangible good, so we cannot be measured quite so easily. The focus of legal metrics is, therefore, a bit more "touchy feely" than you might assume. The key performance indicators for lawyers don't simply boil down to billable hours.
In other sectors of the labor economy and industry, KPI is generally used as a Sword of Damocles to incite an employee to work harder or faster in order to meet predetermined productivity goals set out for the month. These days, the time has been broken down even further into weeks -- even days.
These are the KPIs for larger firms who seek to measure the performance of partners and terrified associates. KPIs for solo attorneys are thankfully not so unnerving. You can't fire yourself.
No, performance indicators for the new type of solo or small firm attorney measure clients rather than "work done," so to speak. Here are some of the new measuring sticks for the KPI equipped solo:
Notice the heavy dependence on client responses.
The odd thing is that some of the biggest competitors to solos and small firms are not other firms but technology itself. Clients, for better or worse, turning to "do-it-yourself" legal kits like where a lawyer is bypassed. We leave it to you to conduct due diligence and find the pros and cons to pass onto your clients.
The grand takeaway is that you might consider handing out satisfaction cards to your clients in order to get a good idea of what works and what doesn't. Ultimately, the client's experience with you is your product -- not your monthly numbers.
There is, unfortunately, a noticeable chasm in the field for KPI software, so it looks like we have to largely do it ourselves. Solos I know have been tracking data for the above indicators using excel and have made some rather impressive charts. And they work, too. One lawyer, for example, very quickly found that one key indicator all but directed her to stop talking in particular types of cases. It was methodical work, but it saved her several thousands of dollars and hours of time.
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