How Revenue and Billing Transparency Can Improve Law Firm Work Culture

Blog post originally shared on Iridium Technology is now part of BigHand. Learn more here.

For decades, law firms have charged their clients by the hour. It was a solution that seemed logical at the time. There is a lot that goes into working a case, and no way to tell how long it will take when an attorney begins to pursue one. As such, working a case and billing customers upon resolution seemed to work. However, legal clients today are demanding much more transparency, and this old billing structure no longer makes sense. 

As BI dashboards start to emerge and more firms begin using them, legal teams can now provide clients with the transparency they need and want. These BI solutions also allow attorneys to offer their clients alternative fee arrangements, while providing the attorney with incentive to track accurate data.

The Problem with Hourly Billing

Hourly billing did solve the problem of evaluating a case and what it is worth. Clients were simply paying for the attorney’s time per an hourly billing model. Today, clients are beginning to wonder what attorneys are doing with that hourly fee. More than ever, clients want to know where their legal fees are going. Is the attorney really working on the case? How much progress are they making? It is virtually impossible to tell.

As more clients demand transparency, alternative fee arrangements are starting to override the traditional hourly billing structure. Clients are now beginning to lean toward negotiated fixed or flat fees. Many are also starting to request task-based fees, also known as value-based fees. 

While alternative fee arrangements are beneficial for clients, they also have a surprising impact on work culture in law firms. 

The Gamification of Billing

Attorneys do not want to spend their time inputting the hours they have worked. These are the tedious tasks associated with the business end of the law firm. Instead, attorneys want to work cases, find solutions, and help their clients. However, alternative fee arrangements can make inputting this data more interesting for all attorneys. 

When law firms use a BI solution, this data is easily seen and compared not only with the attorney that inputted the data, but all other attorneys in the firm, as well. This allows an attorney to compare their results with their peers and turn it into a friendly competition, or game. 

This concept is known as gamification. When individuals play a game, it makes them feel happy and better about the task at hand. Winning also makes individuals feel good. As such, when billing systems can incorporate gamification, attorneys are more likely to put in the required time, and bring in more profits for the firm. 

Use a BI Solution with Many Billing Options

Legal teams always want to offer their clients the best service possible. That requires listening to the client’s needs, and offering alternative fee arrangements when necessary. As such, it is important that law firms use a BI solution that can help them run their business and continue to impress clients. At Iridium Technology, now part of BigHand, we have just the solution to help law firms do both.

About BigHand Business Intelligence

BigHand’s Legal Business Intelligence is the most advanced BI solution for law firms. It’s flexible, autonomous and source agnostic data warehouse solution, replaces manual law firm finance reporting with a real-time digital overview of your financial data.

Specifically tailored for lawyers, finance and management teams, it strips the complexity away from the mountains of information you generate. The self-service tool gives users controlled access to the appropriate legal finance data which can be quickly and easily shown through any visualization tool of choice, including PowerBI.

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