Who are my clients?

by Alexa Drago on January 25, 2018

By Art Roehrenbeck

Not so long ago a lawyer’s client list was a series of index cards in a rolodex on the lawyer’s desk. It was a wall full of paper manila folders in alphabetical or numeric order. In the last 20 years, most firms have adopted some way of tracking their clients and files using a case management software program.  Lawyers and their staff have dutifully entered information about their clients into their database programs as a part of their new case opening procedure for the benefit of collecting all the pertinent information they need to manage the case in one place and sharing with the rest of the people in the office with the same program.

Entering and collecting data into these systems is now as routine as any other function of a law firm.  As a result, law firms are sitting on a lot of data about the people they represent and the type of work they have done since adopting those systems.  The reporting functions of these systems often support the primary goal of case management – Which cases are the most important to me right now?  Who are the parties involved, and what do I need to do next to move this case along?  That’s all well and good but the reality is that there may be a lot more information about the law firm’s clients and files that would help inform business decisions about the direction of marketing efforts.

If you track even the most basic information about your clients when you open your file in a case management system, there is likely more you could be getting in the way of reporting.  If you’ve taken the step, that many firms have, to ask things like “how did you hear about us” and entering that information, you can learn even more.  Law Firms have been collecting this data for years but do we have a meaningful way to report on it?  What should this information help us understand?  Here’s a few things your case management database may not be doing already but could help you with if you invest in some custom reporting:

Who are my clients? (Do they skew to one gender? One age group? One occupation or business industry?  One geographic area of my state?)

What types of cases are the most profitable in my firm? (Where do those come from?)

Who are my best people at converting prospects into clients?

What are my best referral and marketing sources for new work?

Case management platforms have been helping lawyers organize their cases for many years, that’s nothing new. Chances are, it can help you understand more about where your business comes from and provide better information for decision making on marketing efforts and target markets with a little more effort and the right set of reports.


Art Roehrenbeck works for Affinity Consulting Group and can be reached at aroehrenbeck@affinityconsulting.com.


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