Earlier this month, top PI firms from around the country gathered in Las Vegas for Xcelerate Your Profitability 2023. Over 2 and a half days, Chad Dudley and Micki Love walked through each and every report, process, and analysis that they use to take PI firm’s profits and productivity to the next level. Both Chad and Micki have decades of experience working in and on personal injury firms, and this expertise shone through in their in-depth knowledge of industry trends, common pitfalls for firms of all sizes, and actionable advice for how to implement their processes at each firm. While the content covered was expansive, we picked three top takeaways that seemed to leave the biggest impression on attending firms: the value of well-designed processes, the importance of digging into the data, and the impact of implementing an attorney ranking system.
Processes, Ownership, and Goals: The Foundation for Efficiency
Any successful organization thrives on well-established processes, and personal injury firms are no exception. However, simply having a process in place is not enough. Every process at your PI firm needs an owner. Furthermore, this owner needs to know what constitutes a win for that process. For example, if you are hoping to implement an improved client communication standard, you may start with a 24-hour call from a client’s attorney and legal assistant. The overall goal for this process is that each client gets a call from their attorney and their legal assistant within 24 hours of signing a contract with the firm. A “win” would be if each client does receive their call on any given day and the standard is enforced daily. The Director of Non-Legal Operations should be the “owner” of this process and should report to the partner each week on the progress of this goal as well as any attorneys or legal assistants who have not called their clients within 24 hours.
Chad and Micki have created a “Roles and Responsibilities” document that tracks these key factors about each process within the firm: department, area of responsibility, partner involvement, executive team member responsible, owner, details, wins for the process, partner visibility, front line visibility, and notes. This document ensures that everyone at the firm knows exactly what they are responsible for, what makes the process successful, and who else at the firm is involved.
Data: Your PI Firm’s Untapped Goldmine
While those in the legal industry are trained to think analytically, not all law firms are tracking or using their data effectively. The data from your intakes, closed cases, and cases in progress can give you an extremely good look at how your firm is performing.
Intake data tells you where people are hearing about your firm, which advertisements are driving potential clients to call in, and your top referral sources. This information can be used to make marketing decisions and set budgets. Furthermore, organizing your data by intake specialist can show you who your top performers are and who might need more training.
By tracking the time that passes between different points throughout the case, you can identify where cases are getting stuck in the pipeline and where your legal team may be spending too much or too little time. Furthermore, by analyzing closed case data, you can see how many cases you are closing without a fee, where your top cases may be hiding, and make predictions for the year to come.
Micki and Chad both believe that PI firms should be fanatical about tracking and looking at their key data. These empirical numbers enable you to check the pulse of your firm, make good decisions moving forward, and identify potential growth opportunities.
Ranking Attorneys for Optimal Case Assignment
Many partners shy away from the idea of having conversations with their attorneys about where they rank within the attorney-tier scale. However, these conversations are a fantastic opportunity to communicate clearly with your attorneys about what is expected of them, the types of cases they should expect to receive, and how to create a growth path relevant to their strengths. Xcelerator uses a five-tier scale to rank attorneys, from “Rookie” at tier 1 to “Senior Trial Attorney” at tier five. When firms use a system like this, attorneys know exactly what is required of them to make it from one tier to the next. Furthermore, it eliminates confusion and animosity over which cases are assigned to which attorneys. This system ensures that top cases are assigned to the top attorneys, often leading to a better result for the client.
Interested in Learning More?
This conference was jam-packed with top-notch information and action items that firms could start working on as soon as they returned home. If you’d like more information like this, head over to the Xcelerator site and check out the “resources” page. The podcast, bookshelf, document library, and blog are all free offerings and contain a wealth of knowledge. Follow along on their social pages to stay tuned about future events and resources!