How Well Do Lawyers Practice? Data from the Legal Trends Report

At the 2017 Clio Cloud Conference, Clio unveiled their latest Legal Trends Report.

The 2017 Legal Trends Report is a data masterpiece. It’s an aggregate of knowledge about the mechanics of practicing law from over 60,000 Clio-using law firms, 2,915 deeper law firm surveys, and 2,002 law firm customer surveys.

The report dives into everything from billable efficiency to case values to marketing and consumer preferences.

The whole report is worth a read. Having read through it myself, some of the pieces were unbelievable, while others seemed to confirm a hunch I had about the legal industry, but didn’t have data to support.

Here are some of the notable takeaways from the report:

What Lawyers Bill and What Lawyers Collect

The most shocking aspect of the Legal Trends Report this year was a breakdown of how lawyers spend their time.

From surveys and the data, typically, lawyers have 8 working hours per day.

That’s not the shocking part yet. Wait for it…

In an 8-hour workday, lawyers only spend on average 2.3 hours on billable work.

But wait, there’s more.

It gets bleaker…

Of the 2.3 hours utilized, only 1.9 hours get billed to clients.

Of the 1.9 hours billed to clients in an 8-hour workday, only 1.6 get collected.

To recap – in an 8-hour workday, lawyers only get paid for 1.6 hours of work.

Our survey data shows that 25% of legal professionals are interrupted more than 10 times per day, and 30% are interrupted between 6 and 10 times per day. Interruptions are especially counterproductive when they require shifting attention to different tasks on unrelated topics. For example, taking a call from a client or prospect not associated with the matter at hand forces a shift in cognitive resources that makes it more difficult to resume the original work. Research shows that resuming work after being interrupted by an unrelated task takes an average of 23 minutes. (emphasis added)

According to our survey, 54% of law firms actively advertise to acquire new clients, yet 91% of firms can’t calculate a return on their advertising investments, and 94% don’t know how much it costs them to acquire a new client. Of the firms that do know the return on investment they get from their advertising, 64% of firms expect to earn 200–300% of what they spend.

Andrew Cabasso
About the Author: Andrew Cabasso
Andrew Cabasso is a practicing attorney and VP of Web Services at Uptime Legal where he runs JurisPage, an Internet Marketing firm specializing in online presence solutions for law firms including website design, SEO, and search marketing. He has given many lectures and CLEs on website design and Internet marketing to legal professionals. He is the author of Search Engine Optimization for Lawyers and The Complete Guide to Attorney PPC. Follow Andrew on LinkedIn, Google+, or Twitter.

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