Moneyball and the Law

The first of a five-part series.

By Debra Baker

Competition for a share of the legal services market has never been greater. Most firms struggle to identify how best to use limited marketing and business development time and dollars. Too often firms use subjective criteria when making decisions. They do what they’ve always done without measuring return on investment. They do what everyone else does because everyone else is doing it. Or, they do nothing, hoping their existing client base will be enough to get them through the future.

The reality is it won’t. The market has changed. Competition is increasing. Buyer expectations are greater. In the book and academy award-nominated film Moneyball, Oakland A’s General Manager Billy Beane applied objective measures to the business of baseball, focusing on statistics rather than “look and feel” to field his team. Author Michael Lewis observed:

If gross miscalculations of a person’s value could occur on a baseball field, before a live audience of 30,000, and a television audiences of millions more, what did that say about the measure of performance in other lines of work?

Legal Vertical Strategies is taking a page from Moneyball to help law firms use objective data to develop strategic growth plans, focusing on three aspects of the market that impact how law firms win new business:

  • Overall demand for legal services
  • How purchasers of legal services make decisions on who to hire
  • The law firm competitive landscape

These external insights – demand, decision-making, and competitive landscape – combined with an analysis of internal insights related to attorney expertise, existing client base, industry knowledge and current market position provide an objective framework around which law firms can plan for future growth.

I’ll be discussing each of these three areas and presenting a framework firms can use to analyze the data in the contact of their own strategic growth in future posts.

Posted on March 14, 2012 in Business Development, Law Firm Management

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