Copy of email to Andrew Barnes (ALPMA) from James Price – 19th Sept 2017
ALPMA kindly invited Dr Nina Evans and me to present the findings of our research project at its recent Summit. We are regularly asked to present nationally and internationally and we were thoroughly impressed by the Summit’s careful organisation, excellent communication and outstanding speaker quality. We offer our thanks and our heartiest congratulations.
The research project is being conducted by the University of SA and Experience Matters. We are investigating the “barriers to and benefits of managing information as a business asset” and senior management from many law firms in Australia, South Africa and the USA have contributed to our findings. These findings show that globally the legal industry is facing unprecedented change and challenge. Challenge demands improved business performance. Whilst the competent management of financial and physical assets is important, firms achieve their business performance and competitive advantage through judiciously and effectively deploying and managing their people and the data, information and knowledge those people need to do their jobs. Smart and aggressive firms are driving and exploiting the changes to the industry and they understand that how they manage their Information Assets is pivotal to their success.
Specific findings from our research include:
When asked what his firm would look like if it managed its financial assets with the same level of diligence and rigour as that with which it manages its information assets, a named equity partner of a US firm pointed at the floor and replied, “Like that bloke there.” “Like what bloke where?” “Precisely. Invisible. Non-existent. We wouldn’t make it to Thursday.”
A Managing Partner of a national Australian firm lamented, “My firm is only 90% as efficient and effective as it was ten years ago. Each and every year for the past ten years we have lost 1% in productivity.”
A national law firm has determined that “70% of its 150 fee earners can bill at least an extra 30 minutes per day and another 20% of fee earners can bill at least an extra hour per day.” Potential tangible benefits total nearly $2,000,000 per year or over $13,300 per person per year. Its Information Asset management programme now represents its “single greatest source of competitive advantage.”
Our paper entitled, “Managing information in law firms: changes and challenges” can be downloaded here.
Our findings have enabled us to develop an Information Asset Management Maturity Assessment by which firms can determine the maturity of their current information management, they can extrapolate the impact of their information management on their business performance, they can improve their information asset management practices and they can drive business benefits of up to $20,000 per person per year. Anecdotal evidence suggests that once organisations that are interested in efficiently and effectively delivering their services to their clients understand the impact that their information practices have on their businesses they typically want to do something about it.
The Experience Matters and UniSA research team has recently been appointed to extend our research across nearly 8,700 law firms in North America. The US legal industry takes the view that “a rising tide floats all boats” and that by improving the business performance of the industry in North America it will improve its competitiveness internationally. A number of globally significant US based firms have expressed interest in not only participating in the research but benchmarking their information management practices against those of their peers.
As Experience Matters and the University of South Australia are proudly Australian organisations, we offer the Australian legal industry the opportunity to participate in our research and to drive business performance at both firm and industry levels.
I do hope the paper and our offer are of interest to ALMPA and its members.
All the best,