This week Clocktimizer is looking at ‘Problems not Solutions’. No, we’re not mad. Odd as the title may seem, we hear many lawyers (rightly) complaining that legal tech often fails to actually solve the problems they purport to.
[It] is necessary is to talk to lawyers and understand how the practice of law actually works today. Not how you hope it works after you bring your “disruptive” product to market, but how it works on the ground today. Better yet, understand the WHY. Jon Tobin
At Clocktimizer we’ve spent a lot of time getting to understand lawyers’ problems. In fact, some of us used to be lawyers! So as part of our campaign we’ll be sharing content based around these challenges. This series of blogs will be looking at the ways lawyers use Clocktimizer to solve common problems. From reducing time spent reading narratives, to ensuring your matter doesn’t go over budget.
Clocktimizer reduces pricing uncertainty
So what’s the problem? Well, we’re sure there aren’t many lawyers who enjoy committing to fixed fees. It’s not (as many would have you believe) because they enjoy the billable hour. In fact, it’s the uncertainty surrounding pricing a matter. How do you predict how many hours an action will take? What if it becomes more complicated than expected? What if you only budget for associate work, and a partner is suddenly needed? Costs add up, and are often written off or result in unhappy clients (and sleepless nights).
A traditional response for a litigator is to suck their teeth and say the work is terribly unpredictable. That’s not good enough anymore. We need to be good at telling clients how much our work will cost and then committing to how much it will cost. Matthew Newick; Clifford Chance
At Clocktimizer, we have developed a number of features to combat this problem. Their foundations are based in good data. Lawyers are much better at recording their time than they think they are. Even if filling out time cards is everyone’s least favourite part of the day. However, they are incredibly useful data streams. We use natural language processing to read time cards and categorise them on the basis of narratives. In plain English, we take the plain text data out of time cards, and make it modellable. This data can then be used to scope work and make data driven price agreements.
Our pricing and scoping features
Most lawyers will have a few similar matters in their head when scoping and pricing. In recognition of this, we have trained our tool to compare multiple similar projects from this starting point. Doing this will paint a clear picture of what elements of work are common across those projects and which are deal-specific. This enables legal professionals to better define the scope of their projects.
Once you have defined the type of work a matter is likely to comprise, you can move on to the next step. Using Clocktimizer, you can quickly identify the common types of work in a set of similar matters and the related average rates and required resources (like level of seniority of the type of work). Having this information will make the fee quote process data driven and much more predictable. In essence, you use historical data to inform your current pricing arrangements.
Don’t take our word for it. Matthew Newick, Global Head of Litigation for Clifford Chance, has discussed how Clocktimizer is helping one of the world’s largest law firms inform their pricing choices:
The “main attraction” of the tool is its ability to analyse historical data, which he thinks
will enable CC to tell clients how much particular pieces of new work should cost. “The whole driver for this is pricing and transparency. If we know how long a task has typically taken in the past, we can better predict how long it will take in the future. With this information, we can offer clients greater certainty when it comes to pricing our work. Matthew Newick, Clifford Chance