2017 Legal Trends Report
One hot discussion point in the 2017 Clio Conference was the Legal Trends Report.
The report claims to be a “first-ever data-driven study of the legal industry.”
I don’t doubt that claim, but I recommend you take a look at the report for yourself.
Clio used anonymized data from more than 60,000 of its users to create “a comprehensive analysis of the legal industry.”
The Non-Billable Time Problem
One of the interesting findings was that in an 8 hour workday (the average for Clio users), 48% of the non-billable time gets eaten up by administrative tasks. Here’s a drill down of that 48%:
- 16% spent on licensing & CLE requirements
- 16% spent on office administration
- 15% spent on generating and sending bills
- 11% spent on configuring technology
- 6% spent on collections
I submit that lawyers should work to create operational efficiencies, and automate or outsource as much as they can.
That’s what the LawFirmAutopilot course is about.
The Lack of Focus Problem
The Clio report revealed that 25% of legal professionals are interrupted more than 10 times per day, and 30% are interrupted between 6 and 10 times per day.
Research shows that resuming work after an interruption takes an average of 20 minutes. Maybe you recover more quickly than average, but it’s clear that all interruptions are the enemy of productivity.
So odds are you are have some kind of struggle with keeping focused.
Check out meditation (here some blog posts about my experiences with it)
The Not Enough Clients Problem
Clio found that lawyers spend about 2 hours a day on business development, and said they’d spend even more if they had the time.
However, “91% of firms couldn’t calculate any return on their advertising investments, and 94% didn’t know how much it cost them to acquire a new client.”
In other business segments this would be shocking. In the law business it’s shocking only to a few lawyers.
Sadly, there is no easy “paint by numbers” solution to the problem of getting a predictable stream of new work.
But there are so many people who are willing to convince you otherwise. And of course you’d like to believe them.
Here’s the harsh truth…
Our precious law world is saturated with SEO Hucksters, Website Artistes, Social Media Twiddlers.
And sadly they’re supported by a wide cast of clueless enablers. The clueless enablers unwittingly endorse some outrageous villains
Like for example that company whose name rhymes with “GrindLaw.”
The Clio conference didn’t allow “GrindLaw” to be a sponsor, which is (sadly) more than I can say for most bar associations.
Clueless on Steroids
The conference had some fantastic presentations. But not all of them were stellar, particularly in regards to marketing…
For example, this is a verbatim statement from one presenter on the power of social media:
“I can go on and on about how much social media has helped my practice [And then she did…]
“Because I’m a patent attorney I was tweeting a lot around Shark Tank, and I got a message from a person who said “I think you’re a cool lawyer. I’m going to invent something so I can work with you.”
Another lawyer gave a rambling presentation about using Slack to build an online community.
I believe that Slack can be a powerful tool for empowering serious-minded lawyers who need guidance from their peers on how to improve their practice, or (ding, ding ding!) to exchange referrals.
But the lawyer didn’t come to share thoughtful advice.
He was more interested in regaling us with baseless assumptions and off-the-cuff cleverness.
We don’t need a data-driven study to see that legal marketing advice is almost always either (1) flat out wrong, or (2) misleading.
The problem with helping lawyers to better market their practice is they can’t be helped much until you disabuse them of their flawed ideas of what “real marketing” is (following Dan Kennedy is a good way to start to fix that).
My Big Recommendations
Obviously you need to improve operational efficiencies wherever possible. Technology can help, but you have to be sensible about how you use it.
You need to get solid guidance with using technology. Unfortunately, there are a lot of villains and charlatans to sift through.
But the number of fools and charlatans is huge when it comes to online marketing, especially in the legal profession.
I can’t think of anything more important to the success level of a small business than marketing (i.e. getting new clients via a trustworthy system).
But hey, maybe I’m missing something.
If so, I doubt that I’ll find the missing link at a legal technology conference.
BTW, when you’re serious about improving your practice…
Here are three ways I can help:
- Check out my private Facebook Group, for lawyers ONLY. Lawyers can join for free and about 400+ solo and small firm lawyers just like you ask each other questions, bounce practice management ideas, and get encouragement)
- Listen to my LawFirm Autopilot podcast, available on iTunes. It’s specifically geared solo & small firm attorneys who want to leverage technology using a proven strategic blueprint.
- Sign up for my weekly emails (and get my free 10-page Technology Resource Guide).