We cover as many reports, surveys and studies as possible on these pages. Regular readers will find most of these posts neatly categorize under this legal industry study tag.
Sometimes the data being reported is from third-parties and sometimes it is our own. As 2015 draws to a close, here is a curated list of nine studies we produced or reported in this blog this year. They are listed in chronological order from the beginning of the year to the end.
1. Quantifiable Small Law Gains from Automation
A Blue Hill Research study found that small law firms that use practice management software to automate key functions use 40 percent less staff – and those efficiencies grow in value as the firm grows. For example, on average the research found a five-attorney firm without practice management technology has 2.5 staff members in support, which nets out to $149,923 per year. By contrast, a 5-attorney firm with practice management technology has 1.8 staff members in support, which tallies up to $107,088 per year – cost savings of $42,835.
- Infographic: Billable Hours Gained with Practice Management
- PDF Report: Building a Business Case for Law Practice Management (reg. req.)
- Blog: The Business Case for Law Firm Practice Management ROI
2. Law Firms and Developing Business
This survey of 400 law firm marketing and business development professionals found that 52% said competition is the #1 barrier to law firm growth. The data suggests law firms are placing a greater emphasis on the narrower activities of business development.
- SlideShare: Law Firms in Business Development Transition
- Infographic: Law Firm Obstacles along the Quest for Growth
- PDF Report: Law Firms in Business Development Transition (reg. req.)
- Blog Post: The Emerging Story of Law Firm Business Development
- Blog Post: 3 Studies Suggest Law Firm BD Heating Up With Competition
- Blog Post: 197 Ways Law Firm Marketing and BizDev are Different
- Blog Post: How Law Firms Plan to Fuel Growth in the Next 12 Months
- The Rainmaker Blog: Barriers to Business Development for Law Firms
3. Corporate Legal Department Maturity Model
Survey research late last year indicated most legal departments are in the early stages of maturity with respect to technology, analytics and process. So this year, the CounselLink team dug in and spoke with legal departments to develop a corporate legal maturity model. This model is an analytical tool for measuring law department performance in those terms. The model — and corresponding report — enables inside counsel to benchmark their organization against peers and share best practices.
- Blog post: Benchmarking Corporate Legal Department Maturity
- PDF Report: Leveraging the Maturity Model to Achieve Operational Excellence (reg. req.)
- Blog Post: 5 Tips for Improving Corporate Legal Maturity
- Blog Post: Defining Legal Operations and Assessing Maturity
4. Biggest Challenges for Law Firms in 2015
Keeping pace with technology – it’s the top law firm challenge according to a poll of attendees at ABA TECHSHOW®. Economic pressure, follows a close second, and amid an industry climate where clients are expecting more for less from legal service providers.
- Blog Post: The Top Law Firm Challenge in 2015
- Be sure to check out additional coverage stemming from the show.
5. Year-End ELM Trends: Big Law Winning in IP Litigation
Twice each year the CounselLink team culls through $18 billion’s (and growing) worth invoicing data to identify benchmarks in enterprise legal management. Both reports look at six key metrics however, the year-end report seeks major trends in corporate legal spend. In May, the team released a report analyzing data for the full-year 2014 and found, “The largest firms are winning a growing share-of-market in IP litigation – from 36% in 2011 to 61% by the year ending 2014.”
- Infographic: How $3 Billion is Spent in IP Litigation
- PDF Report: 2014 Year-End Enterprise Legal Management Trends Report (reg. req.)
- Blog post: Legal Spend Trend: Big Law Winning More IP Litigation Work
- Blog post: Infographic: Update to the Legal Industry Scorecard (SlideShare)
- Whisker Chart: What are the Going Law Firm Billing Rates by Practice Area?
- Be sure to see the updated whisker chart from the mid-year report below.
- Corporate Counsel: Companies Move to Big Law for IP Litigation
- Blog Post: Big Data finds Steady but Subtle Increase in AFAs Use
6. Litigation Cost Control US P&C Insurance Carriers
As far as legal departments go, those working insurance claims for U.S. property and casualty (P&C) carriers are under constant pressure to drive operational efficiency, while providing quality customer service. In the first of a series, this survey of 86 P&C insurers found that legal and claims departments are focused on the “big picture” or the total cost of a matter, as opposed to targeting just settlement costs or just legal costs.
- Blog Post: Litigation Costs Study: How P&C Shops are Keeping a Lid
- PDF Report: LexisNexis P&C Claims and Litigation Cost Containment Survey (reg. req.)
- Infographic: Balancing the Prospect for Litigation Cost Savings
- SlideShare: US P&C Litigation Management and Cost Control Strategies
7. How to Get Ahead for Law School Graduates
A survey of 300 US attorneys, conducted by our sister division in research, involved in hiring found that 95 percent believe “law graduates lack legal research, litigation and transactional skills.” With an estimated price tag of $19,000 to train one new hire, this gap between graduates’ readiness and real-world practice costs law firms considerable time and money.
- PDF Report: Hiring Partners Reveal New Attorney Readiness for Real World Practice
- Press Release: LexisNexis Survey Uncovers Gap in New Attorney Readiness
- 3 Geeks and Law Blog: News Flash: Entry-Level Associates Lack Key Practical Skills
8. Mid-Year ELM Trends: Law Firm Billing Rates
In the second, and most recent ELM Trends report, the team found median partner billing rates at the “Largest 50” law firms – those with more than 750 lawyers – rose to $711 per hour, based on 12 months of data ending June 30, 2015. That number is up from the last report where median partner rates came in at $675 per hour for the 12 months ending December 31, 2014. This annual legal spending trends report found that big law billing rates grew notably – pushing a 6 percent increase in the gap between the top two tiers of law firms, by attorney headcount, from 38 percent to 44 percent.
- Blog Post: Legal Spend Trends: Big Law Billing Rates Rising
- PDF Report: LexisNexis CounselLink ELM Trends Report (reg. req.)
- Infographic: Law Firm Panels and Legal Industry Scorecard
- Whisker Chart: The Current Law Firm Billing Rates by Practice Area
- Law360: BigLaw Keeps Raising Its Billing Rates
9. Most Effective Legal Department Metrics
If corporate attorneys across the market are seeking a sharper understanding of legal department metrics, then they might do well to review what peers in the insurance vertical are doing to measure litigation costs. This second study in the series complements the P&C survey listed in #5 above. The survey of 94 U.S. Property & Casualty insurance professionals managing litigation for carriers in claims or law departments, identifies what they deem the most effective legal metrics.
- Blog post: Insurance: Legal and Claims Rate Metrics with Most Value
- PDF Report: U.S. P&C Law Departments Rate the Metrics They Use to Manage Costs (reg. req.)
- Webinar: P&C Insurance Claims and Litigation Department ALAE Survey Results
- Claims Journal: The 3 Most Important Metrics for Measuring Performance…
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For some of the additional reports from third parties we’ve covered, here are the cliff notes or cheat sheets to some 17 studies and surveys from around the industry:
- A Cheat Sheet for 5 Recent Legal Industry Studies
- The Cliff Notes to 7 Current Legal Industry Studies
- Summary Judgment: 5 Legal Industry Studies in Brief
Note: Compiled with assistance from Daryn Teague.
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Photo credit: Flickr, Adam Rifkin, Oddly Satisfying Beach Rocks Organized Neatly, (CC BY 2.0)