Law Practice Management Asked and Answered Blog

Category: Metrics

Jul 11, 2019


Law Firm Operating Metrics and Statistics

Question:

I am the newly elected managing partner in our twelve-attorney firm in Chicago, Illinois. Our firm is a business transaction firm that was started by the present four partners ten years ago. While we have an office manager that does the bookkeeping, prior to this year all four partners as a group managed the firm. This year the firm decided to create the managing partner position. Since this is new to me I am trying to learn all that I can about law firm management. My first priority is to help the firm improve profitability and I would like to know what the key operating metrics and statistics are that I should be monitoring. You suggestions will be appreciated.

Response:

Law firm operating statistics represent an important management tool. They highlight superior performances and they flag below average performances. They provide law firm management with the key information needed to manage the firm’s business. In addition to measures such as firm fee revenue collections, firm profit/net income, profit per equity owner, billable hours, fee revenue collected per attorney, operating statistics found in law firm management reports typically include information on:

The first three statistics represent factors that relate to earning the firm’s revenue. Responsibility for earning the firm’s revenue rests with the firm’s partners. Consequently, it is important to assign this responsibility to specific partners – typically the responsible/billing attorney.

In recognition of the assigned responsible attorney concept, many firms choose to present revenue-related operating statistics reports in a format that focuses on each partner’s responsibility. This gives the management group the ability to access each partner’s “business” performance.

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John W. Olmstead, MBA, Ph.D, CMC

Sep 05, 2017


Law Firm Key Financial Goals/Metrics

Question: 

I am a newly elected managing partner of a fourteen lawyer firm in San Diego. While I was elected to this position I feel handicapped since I don’t have a financial background. What metrics/measurements should I be looking at?

Response: 

Here are a few metrics that you might want to consider:

Once firm goals, financial and non-financial are formulated, either run reports that are available from your system or develop special Excel reports than measure goal accomplishment.

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John W. Olmstead, MBA, Ph.D, CMC

Jun 16, 2015


Law Firm FInancial Management – Metrics for a Small Firm

Question:

I am a partner in a three attorney litigation firm in Boston. Two of us are partners. We are in our fourth year in practice after leaving a very large firm. We are concerned that we could be doing better financially. We are haphazard in our record keeping, have no goals, and are even sure what number matter. What are your thoughts are to the key number (metrics) for a small firm like ours?

Response:

Goals should be established for each attorney with monthly reporting showing performance against goals. Key metrics should include:

  1. Fees collected – working attorney 
  2. Fees collected – originating attorney 
  3. Fees collected – responsible attorney
  4. Billable hours – working attorney 
  5. Non-billable hours – working attorney
  6. Billing, collection, and overall realization – working attorney 
  7. Other goals – financial and non-financial 
  8. Summary dashboard report should be developed. 
  9. Attorneys should consider keeping timesheets for all worked time – billable and non-billable with specific goals for non-billable activities. 

Firm management contribution is important. If both partners do not share in the firm management responsibilities then the partner committing non-billable time to firm management should be compensated in the form of an agreement to amount or a fee credit that is run through the compensation system. If both partners participate in firm management, implement and document a management structure that clarifies management roles, responsibilities, and accountabilities for the partners, the office manager, etc. Respect the boundaries and avoid stepping over each other.

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John W. Olmstead, MBA, Ph.D, CMC

 

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