Great Predictions for the Legal Industry in 2016 – What do you think?
Welcome to this month’s issue of inVOICE. These “5-minute reads,” brought to you by InvoicePrep, are short, informational executive briefs designed for law firm executives and managing partners. They provide practical tips and provoke new ideas to make your management of your Firm more effective. (For our prior newsletters please visit us here).
Last month we highlighted several of InvoicePrep’s 2015 accomplishments, including the fact that the number of law firms using our services doubled. This month, we’re back to more a more serious focus – all tying in to what the experts predict for 2016. As we emerge from the holidays, it is a great time for our readers to think about what 2016 is going to mean for them!
What the Experts Predict for 2016
Each year I always enjoy the LexisNexis Business of Law Blog Annual Predictions. This year there are 41 predictions for the legal industry in 2016 – from some of the industry’s best and brightest. And they’re great!
Here are some of the ones that really jumped out at me (all paraphrased):
- There will be new and emerging market opportunities (i.e. cybersecurity)
- Continued focus on legal operations, procurement and pricing practices, and technology
- No more AFAs and discounted fees (everyone will like that one!)
- Clients will get better at establishing metrics related to business success; law firms will get better at rewarding client-oriented behaviors
- Clients and lawyers will become 21st century allies…due to a revolution in the delivery of legal services…clients will demand timely results at appropriate pricing
- Growth will be stagnant, meaning more pressure to keep and grow current clients, and to harvest new ones
What’s The Best 2016 Prediction?
While I can’t say which of these many interesting predictions is the most accurate, the one that really resonated with me, that I really thought hit the mark, was made by Brian Kennel of PerformLaw. Frankly, I thought he really nailed it with a prediction supported by what we are seeing with our law firm customers as well. Here’s what Brian said.
“2016 will see significant advances in litigation management metrics and 3rd party lawyer rating services. Clients have been managing lawyer performance mostly as a billing concept. This year will see big data approaches to win/loss rates, lawyer performance by jurisdiction, case type, cost and just about any measurable factor.
Smart firms will recognize these trends and add value to the change process. Self-analysis of case handling performance including length of time files remain active, average total cost of cases including legal fees and indemnity, lawyer efficiency comparisons for similar assignments and competitive comparisons are great places to start. Data-driven approaches to the practice of law will be terrifying for some and an incredible opportunity for others.”
Why Is This Prediction So Powerful?
Let me tell you why this prediction resonates so strongly with me. There are two reasons.
First, these exact data elements are what the e-billing software providers have been suggesting to clients for years that their billing and matter management software will provide. In other words, clients have been told for some time that they can have clear transparency into comparative law firm performance by using these data points.
Second, this prediction resonates strongly with me because we have been recommending to firms that they analyze these precise data elements and that they present them back to their clients as market-differentiators. In other words, that firms should take the lead in this conversation as a way to distinguish their firm’s performance from others’.
I agree with Brian’s prediction, in that others have also suggested that law firms need to be increasingly ready to present these data point. A recent article in Litigation Management magazine spoke to similar issues.
What is good for firms is that, while it took their clients years to begin acting on the billing data they have been accumulating, law firms can “catch-up” almost immediately, given the new billing technologies in the marketplace. For example, our invoice preparation software, with a couple of tweaks regarding outcome, jurisdiction, and file duration, enables firms to provide their customers and new business opportunities with an accurate snapshot of their performance, and with more detailed data than they’ve ever used before.
So, what’s my prediction for 2016?
My prediction is namely that more firms than ever before will use their billing data to demonstrate not only that they have superior, more accurate, and more client-focused invoicing processes than their competitors, but also that their legal performance is superior as well. That’s a prediction that, if true, will make both firms and their clients happy!
InvoicePrep enhances law firm profitability by improving e-billing quality and accuracy. When invoices are prepared properly, payment is more prompt and the number of denied charges decreases. InvoicePrep’s system is streamlined, efficient and uses a combination of cutting-edge technology and professionals with extensive legal invoice compliance and e-billing software knowledge. To learn more about InvoicePrep, please visit www.invoiceprep.com