Read about how settlement management software can help improve your personal injury firm's productivity and profitability.
How to Improve Data Quality at Your Law Firm
Legal offices depend on reliable, usable data to connect with clients and improve business operations. Use these four tips to improve accuracy and outcomes....
Case management software has a lot of advantages for attorneys. It promises a more efficient, more proactive, and more successful law firm for those who use it.
However, there is something that prevents some law firms from reaching this nirvana: bad data. Poor data habits are easy to fall into, but significantly diminish the value of your law firm’s practice management system.
In this post we’ll outline why data quality is important for your law firm, then cover some techniques you can use to improve your law firm’s data capture process.
What is Good Legal Data?
Quality data is:
- Uniform – Data is entered in the same way in the same fields every time, no matter who is entering it. In many cases, your software can help. For instance, some technologies will restrict number fields to only accept numbers, making it easier for firms to track key data effectively.
- Accurate – Data is correct and up-to-date. Phone numbers, names, addresses, and more are entered correctly and updated when changed.
- Consistent – Data is entered uniformly and accurately over time. Consistency is tied to company policies. For example, your law firm may set a policy of always entering time using the 12-hour clock.
Three Benefits of Quality Law Firm Data
Each employee and your firm as a whole has a vested interest in ensuring everyone enters quality data. The results – good or bad – affect the entire team.
1. Better Client Service
Good data makes customer service easier. It should go without saying, accurately capturing a client’s phone, email, and address is a must. But good note taking and frequent updates to case files also facilities better client service. Instead of putting a client on hold while you run down the hall to ask your colleague about a case, good note taking keeps everyone at your firm on the same page. It can save time, and avoid potential confusion.
Some case management solutions can make notes automatically when certain actions are made on a case. Programs like this save time while improving your law firm’s data quality.
2. Insight Into Relationships
In contact-based systems, like CASEpeer, quality data means more leverage with contacts like adjusters, doctors, judges, and clerks. Each contact is associated with information entered across cases, so what you enter in one area will – for better or worse – affect information throughout your system.
One of the biggest advantages to these systems is they allow you to harness information over time For example, your firm’s settlements against insurance companies or success rate with certain judges. Without good data entry, you won’t be able to take full advantage of your contact history. Knowledge is power.
3. Better Analytics and Reporting
Many law firms choose practice management systems with reporting features. Attorneys know this data is valuable, and in many cases, select software specifically because of outstanding analytics features.
Reporting is a powerful benefit of practice management solutions, but works best when the data it analyzes is accurate. For instance, if your law firm is not tracking referral sources on every client, how will your system know how many of your clients came from Google Adwords last month?
Four Ways to Improve your Law Firm's Data Entry
Now that you know how important good data is, we’ll discuss how to promote good data entry in your firm.
1. Discuss What Good Data Looks Like For Your Firm
Every personal injury law firm and software solution is different. You should discuss with your team as well as your case management software provider what defines good data. What information will you gather during intake? How will you deal with medical providers with multiple addresses or phone numbers?
Sitting down with everyone from your team will be important, since each person will have valuable input about what they work with most. Take notes, and create a document outlining your firm’s agreed-upon best practices.
2. Train New Employees
Every new employee should be trained in your firm’s good data entry practices before they begin using your case management software. Provide them with the best practices document from your firm’s meeting as a training tool, and give them a copy to use day-to-day.
3. Run Reports
As a partner or lead attorney, it’s likely you’ll often be running reports in your firm’s case management software. Take a minute or two to critically evaluate reports as you generate them. If something seems off, it could be a data entry issue.
4. Evolve Quickly
If a data entry method is not working long term, be ready to change. Communicate concerns with your team, and get their feedback. You may need to come up with a new method for entering that data.
Although you can get away with capturing incomplete data in any legal software solution, there’s no way to harness it. Quality data will enable you to analyze your past performance and plan for the future. It will impact your decision-making at every level of your firm, from intake to negotiations.
Improve your Law Firm's Data with CASEpeer
With a little bit of effort and commitment from your team, your firm can radically improve its data entry protocols.
CASEpeer is secure case management software designed for personal injury attorneys. From intake to settlement, our robust features help law firms become more proactive and powerful. Our goal is to help your law firm grow. For more practice management tips, visit our blog.