Lawyers: Don't be afraid to double down on data
On Friday, during the first full day of the Avvo Lawyernomics conference, attendees got a steady stream of two topics that, for many lawyers, were among the reasons why they decided to go to law school in the first place: math and science.
The central theme for the Friday sessions, which took place at the Bellagio Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, was that lawyers need to collect, measure and test data if they wish to be competitive in the demand-driven economy. The conference, which is in its eighth year, brings together lawyers, law professionals, legal service providers, technologists, business developers and marketers. It officially kicked off with a half-day of sessions Thursday and wraps up Saturday. (The ABA Journal is a media co-sponsor of the event.) According to Avvo, an estimated 400 attendees are expected at Lawyernomics this year.
Avvo founder and CEO Mark Britton kicked off the conference with sobering reminder. “These are turbulent times,” Britton intoned.
Ever since the Great Recession, demand for legal services has shrunk, while jobs and wages continue to diminish. Britton noted that the landscape has become even more unpredictable and dangerous as a result of the recent political upheaval. However, he also argued that the rise of the demand-driven economy, where companies like Airbnb, Uber, Lyft, Amazon and others cater entirely to the consumer is an opportunity for lawyers.
“Every one of those marketplaces can or will be a source of customers for you,” Britton said to those in attendance. “Understanding which ones are more valuable to you is critical.”
Britton also told attendees that they could take some principles of the demand-driven economy to apply to their own practices. First and foremost was the notion that customer really is always right. “The customer knows best. That means you need to understand them at a deep level,” Britton said. “Your biases are irrelevant.”
In order to better serve customers, as well as target potential clients, lawyers must collect, analyze and synthesize data and apply to their processes. Avvo chief product officer Sachin Bhatia recommended utilizing the old scientific method that many lawyers haven’t thought about since high school as a means of identifying problems to fix and proposing solutions that can be tested and experimented on.
Avvo chief marketing officer Jason Moss pointed out that between a firm’s intake process, as well as free services like Google Search Console and Google Analytics, lawyers already have access to a tremendous amount of data at their disposal.
“You don’t need to collect all the data automatically like we do [at Avvo],” said Moss. “And it’s not necessary to put it in a data warehouse. But you do need to stitch it together.”
Avvo chief legal officer Joshua King suggested using data to come up with standardized, ethically compliant processes that could be easily repeated as a means of driving efficiency as well as lead conversion.
“You must have a great intake system,” said King. “If you don’t follow up within five minutes after a lead comes in, your odds on converting it plummet.”
As for a company that has managed to do a tremendous amount with its data, Michael Mogill, CEO of Crisp Video Group pointed to Facebook. “Facebook ads are the new gold rush,” Mogill said. “Facebook’s level of targeting is incredible, and it provides the most comprehensive targeting options. Everyone is on Facebook, yet only 6 percent of businesses are active advertisers.”