Top Takeaways from Sandpiper’s C-Suite Roundtable: Law Firm Profitability, Data and What Lies Beneath

Rob Stote, Managing Director of Matter Pricing at BigHand, joined a panel of legal experts last week for the Sandpiper Managing Law Firm Profitability, Pricing and Data Analytics Conference. The topics of discussion centered on the need for accurate, timely and “one version of the truth” data, fundamental to a firms’ ability to make informed pricing and budgeting decisions.

It was a pleasure to join Sandpiper’s panel once again for the Managing Law Firm Profitability, Pricing and Data Analytics Conference. Throughout the event, various panels explored topics centered on the use of data as it relates to staffing, profitability, and client value, with each group sharing insight into client demand, data, and the connection between the two.

Like the need for a solid foundation for a house, good decisions must also be based on solid data. The problem, however, is that firms often find themselves struggling to access this information, with no way of getting “one version of the truth”. Pulling different information from different systems is not only inefficient and often inaccurate, but can quickly leading to unprofitable decisions and frustrated clients.

We know that law firm clients are looking for…

  • A way to measure the value they get from their partner firms
  • Insight into their spend
  • A view into overall efficiencies (gained or lost)
  • Candid conversations about equality, diversity, and inclusion (EDI)

…but without access to data, law firms struggle to meet these demands. It was commended that clients are looking to balance risk and results, and are willing to pay more if the value is there, but they need for data to measure this value. Often, clients look to their partner firms to provide insight, but it simply isn’t available and what we know is that this needs to change, fast.

From there, the conversation focused on advanced data analytics being the name of the game, and how a firm’s inability to meet client demand will cost them. With the increase in sophistication, clients have started to build internal tools to measure and help inform them as to what they ‘should’ be paying, or what their spend should be. One panelist added that client-side ability to produce and analyze data should be a flashing red light for data laggards. Firms need to get in front of these conversations so they can be conversant on the points above around value, spend, and EDI, because if not, they run the real risk of “being dropped”, as another panelist commented.

The need for easy to use, reliable pricing tools is increasing as more business professionals and lawyers begin to engage in these value-led conversations. At BigHand, we engage with firms on the topics of pricing, profitability, and resource management every day. We offer a variety of solutions to support management teams in achieving their profitability and BI objectives, and give them the tools to empower them to make more informed decisions and better meet the demands of their clients.

For me, there’s one quote that summarized the conversation up nicely - “It all Tarantinos back to data” (thank you, Justin Ergler!) Like in a Tarantino movie, all roads lead back to the beginning, no matter how twisted and convoluted they may be. All roads lead back to data. The firms that master data are able to offer more value and ultimately, become more profitable as they navigate the road ahead – whatever that looks like and however twisted it may be.