Reading about big data seems to be a daily exercise. So lately I have been putting a few brain cells on the subject of new ways of applying data analytics to the legal market.

And here’s today’s idea: The Analytics of What Clients Reject.

What if you take the emerging tools for analyzing billing data (ala Tymetrix), but instead of analyzing what is in client billings, focus the tools on analyzing what is being rejected in the billing process. We have all read about clients’ unwillingness to pay for online research or first year associates, but wouldn’t it be interesting to see if and how that truly plays out?

For instance, maybe clients reject first year associates on M&A work, but actually encourage them for labor litigation. Or maybe financial services clients pay for paralegals but not e-discovery project managers. You could also start to pull out trends and spot issues before they become problems. Imagine a firm planning to hire a pool of staff lawyers finding out their primary client market is trending away from their use.

Part of this thinking came about based on an eBillingHub seminar I saw that opened my eyes quite a bit. One stat they gave was that 44% of law firm ebilling invoices are rejected on the first submission. This of course means there are a lot of time entries and other billing entries the get rejected.

Basically these rejections are feedback on the various Outside Counsel Guidelines in place. Beyond avoiding billing rejections that may harm the client relationship, having this type of information would allow law firms to proactively avoid “stepping in it,” and to adjust their strategies at a market level instead of client-by-client.

Of course this thinking is predicated on the idea that law firms have such strategies. Well …. maybe they would if they had this type of information. At its simplest level it would lead to faster payment of bills, which on its own has value.

And now back to your regularly schedule program …