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The Journal of Legal Marketing
Law Firm Key Performance Indicators –
How to ‘Intelligently’ Run a Law Firm
Dude, Where’s My ROI?
KPIs for Email Marketing
What Am I Worth?
Managing with Key
Managing with Key
The Journal of Legal Marketing
Mike Mabey and Stephen Mabey
Law Firm Key Performance Indicators – A Primer .......................................................... 4
Fred Quenzer, JD
How to ‘Intelligently’ Run a Law Firm............................................................................ 8
Dude, Where’s My ROI? The Value Conversation That Actually Pays Dividends ...............10
Daniel Weglarz, JD
Measuring Email Marketing Success ...............................................................................12
What Am I Worth? Key Performance Indicators for Solo Marketers ..................................14
Paul M.W. Hackett, Ph.D., and Yulia S. Sovenkova
Not All KPIs are Equal: Understanding the Interacting Role of KPIs Through
the Use of a Mapping Sentence ......................................................................................16
Quant or Qual? – KPIs Require Both .............................................................................18
President’s Podium, Jeanne Hammerstrom ............................................................................. 2
About This Issue, Silvia Hodges ......................................................................................... 3
Dicta, Marketers on the Move .......................................................................................21
Ask the Authorities .......................................................................................................22
Message from the Editors, Steve Conley & Melissa Ho ..........................................................24
Editorial Board Members
Marguerite G. Downey
Adduci, Mastriani & Schaumberg LLP
New York, N.Y.
Morrison & Foerster
New York, N.Y.
Dr. Silvia Hodges
Fordham Law School
New York, N.Y.
Julie Meyers, Esq.
Burns, White & Hickton
Fenwick & West LLP
Mountain View, Calif.
Williams Venker & Sanders LLC
St. Louis, Mo.
Redondo Beach, Calif.
Steve Biernacki and Patrick Williams
The Journal of Legal Marketing
By Jeanne Hammerstrom, LMA President
It’s Up to You
o silos. No cowboys. We are a team!” In my more than 20 years
working in legal marketing, this mantra of teamwork is one I’ve
chanted the most. It’s also one of the most dimcult mindsets that
trms have had to embrace to be competitive.
Teamwork and collaboration between marketing departments and other op-
erating units are essential for success. One of my philosophies for success is to
surround yourself with good people. To the extent that I am able, I apply this
philosophy when working with other departments at my trm. Here are the key
departments you should be working with at your trm:
1. A solid partnership between the IT and marketing departments at law trms is
critical for trms to dinerentiate themselves and to streamline processes for both
our external and internal clients — our attorneys. At my trm, my department
meets almost daily with IT to brainstorm ideas to simplify processes and invent
creative solutions, which has resulted in our best trm processes and technologies.
2. Take advantage of your trms’ human resources and recruiting departments.
Lawyers and stan join or become involved in the trm every day, and rela-
tionship issues arise. Marketing departments should act as the public relations
arm, providing a new perspective and helping leverage their services. At my
trm, these departments regularly help us provide valuable information for client
pitches and RFPs. We can help to brand, simplify and execute the processes and
programs that may challenge them.
3. Legal marketers rely heavily on the accounting department in order to know
which practice areas of the trm are prottable and which need more assistance in
marketing and business development. The same is true for our client base. Our
close relationship with this department makes our service to attorneys and cli-
ents more valuable. Working with accounting allows marketers to get a clearer
picture of the future and to avoid pitfalls from the past.
4. LMA’s service providers are crucial to successful law trm operations. Several
LMA service providers have helped my trm establish great internal collabora-
tion. Whether you’ve introduced new business intelligence software or provided
professional development training, you are just as instrumental in our depart-
ments working successfully together.
5. Just as important as those working in your trm are the ones who don’t —
your LMA community. Participation in LMA’s local chapter events, educa-
tional opportunities or shared interest groups are a vital part of your professional
success overall. Collaborating with your LMA peers and fellow members can
lead to unlimited opportunities that can enhance your success and promote
Whatever your trms’ initiatives are, you will tnd yourself at a great advantage
if you surround yourself with those in other operating departments and your
LMA community. With the challenges of today’s business world, having an
open mind and working collectively can make you more strategic, competitive
and valuable. ■
LMA Bo:ri or Dirrc+ors
President Jeanne M. Hammerstrom
Coplan & Aronon LLP
Immediate Past President Nathan Darling
Van Ness Feldman
President-Elect Alycia Sutor
Oak Park, Ill.
Secretary Laura Meherg
Wicker Park Group
Treasurer Rachael W. Loper
Nixon Peabody LLP
Treasurer-Elect Timothy B. Corcoran
Hubbard One, a division
of Thomson Reuters
Lawrence Township, N.J.
Members-at-Large Per Casey
San Francisco, Calif.
Akin Gump Strauss
Hauer & Feld LLP
Despina C. Kartson
Latham & Watkins LLP
New York, N.Y.
Fenwick &West LLP
Mountain View, Calif.
Maggie T. Watkins
Best Best &
San Diego, Calif.
The Interlex Group
Chapter President’s Jennifer Reynolds Larivee
Committee Liaison Akin Gump Strauss
Hauer & Feld LLP
Los Angeles, Calif.
Executive Director Betsi Roach
The Legal Marketing Association (LMA) is a not-for-
prott professional association serving the needs and
maintaining the standards of those involved in mar-
keting for the legal profession. Advertisements are not
an endorsement by the Legal Marketing Association.
Strategies (ISSN 1099-0127) is published eight times
per year for $80 by the Legal Marketing Association,
401 N. Michigan Avenue, Suite 2200, Chicago, IL
60611, www.legalmarketing.org. Periodical postage
paid at Chicago, Ill., and additional omces. Postmaster:
Send address changes to Strategies, c/o LMA, 401 N.
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Strategies is distributed to LMA members as a professional
development tool for those involved in law trm market-
ing. In addition, it is distributed to others who support
and write about this industry. The annual subscription
fee is included in LMA members’ dues. The views ex-
pressed herein are not necessarily those of LMA. Strategies
is copyright protected and is not to be reproduced in
any form without written permission from the Legal
Marketing Association. Article reprints are available by
calling Theresa Wojtalewicz at LMA at 312/673.5870.
An additional fee will be charged for this service.
© 2011 Legal Marketing Association
Legal Marketing Association
401 N. Michigan Ave., Ste. 2200
Chicago, IL 60611
By Silvia Hodges
Aiou+ Tnis Issur
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Not everything that is countable counts, and not everything
that counts is countable.
hat gets measured gets done” is said to be one of the core prin-
ciples of good management and leadership. Hence, we measure
nearly everything in law trm marketing. After all, how could
anyone argue with cold, hard facts? Even the most hard-nosed litigator is un-
likely to win a battle if you are armed with numbers.
Key Performance Indicators, or KPIs, are a jargon term for an approach to
measuring performance. KPIs help manage complexity to drive performance
improvement. Before 2008, the legal industry had to worry relatively little about
complexity in regard to their service onering, organization and process. This is no
longer the case. KPIs are increasingly used to evaluate a trm’s success or the success
of a particular activity. Success can be detned in terms of making progress toward
strategic goals or the repeated achievement of some level of operational goal.
When selecting KPIs, you need to think about your trm and department’s goals.
What are these goals? What is important to your organization? Today, it is often
identifying ways to reduce costs and create nexibility so trms can adjust to a new
normal. The articles in this issue of Strategies magazine will provide you with lots
of food for thought — and heated discussions in your trms, I hope — on what
you can and should measure.
Please keep in mind that picking the right KPIs is only the start. We measure lots
of things, but that doesn’t mean that things really change. The challenge is using
data to change behavior, enhance systems and have a robust process to interpret and
apply data for continuous improvement.
Best of luck with your quest for performance! ■
Dr. Silvia Hodges teaches marketing and management at Fordham Law School in New
York. Prior to joining academia, she worked as an in-house legal marketer. As a speaker
and researcher, she focuses on how clients buy legal services and cross-cultural/international
challenges of law rms. Hodges can be reached at email@example.com
By Mike Mabey and Stephen Mabey
Law Firm Key
➤ Revenue per square foot
➤ Revenue per employee
➤ Revenue per matter
➤ Percentage at point of billing
➤ Billable hours per full-time equivalent timekeeper (FTE)
➤ Percentage of partner hours
➤ Billings per FTE
➤ Average bill rate
➤ Average work rate
➤ Ratio of billed-to-work rate
➤ Number of matters opened
➤ Stamng ratio
➤ Number of billable hours per legal assistant FTE
➤ Cost recovery revenue per matter
Marketing and Business Development
Firms are still in the early stages of exploring marketing and
business development KPIs to understand what will work
best for them. A trm’s strategic focus will impact its selec-
tion of KPIs: Transaction-focused trms will have dinerent
KPIs than relationship-focused trms. Other factors, such as
whether your trm is focused on new business or on retention
of existing clients, will also play a role in your trm’s selection
of marketing KPIs.
The following list of possible KPIs for marketing and
business development in law trms is not intended to be
exhaustive; rather, it presents examples of KPIs you might
consider adopting and adapting for use in evaluating your
➤ Client Growth Rate: The ratio of the number of clients
the trm handled its trst matter for in the past 12 months
to the total number of active clients (active can be detned
as having handled a matter for in each of the past two of
three or three of tve years).
➤ Dormant Client Percentage: The ratio of the number
of clients that trm has not handled a matter for in two of
the past three or three of the past tve years to the number
of total clients.
➤ Average Fee per Client: The fee revenue for the year
divided by the number of clients billed during the year.
continued on page 6
aw trms of all sizes measure various behaviors and indi-
cators of trm health and performance. These indicators
are important sources of information for the manage-
ment of the trm and its stan. The challenge is to identify the
subset of these metrics that are critical to the success and life
of the law trm and then focus on these metrics, which are
referred to as key performance indicators, or KPIs.
When choosing KPIs, your trm should consider that the
➤ renect the trm’s strategy and goals;
➤ be seen as key to the trm’s success; and
➤ be quantitable.
All KPIs should be trm specitc but also taken in context of
an industry-level view.
No trm uses all KPIs.
Every law trm should identify the KPIs that are important to
the trm and its detnition of success and put in place a system
for tracking and using these metrics to guide trm strategy.
No one KPI tells the full story; rather, KPIs must be viewed
collectively to ensure the trm’s decisions are made on an in-
formed basis. For example, if your trm has a strategic focus on
specitc client relationships and supports that focus with client
teams, then perhaps the following KPIs might be important in
measuring the breadth of the relationship:
➤ The number of matters per client as an indicator of growth
in the client relationship;
➤ The number of practice areas that serve these clients as an
indicator of cross-selling success; and
➤ The number of lawyers with time on matters connected
to this client, as it measures the breadth and depth of the
relationships between your trm and the client.
KPIs typically have focused on the tnancial and operational
aspects of law trms.
➤ Unbilled days
➤ Uncollected days
➤ Net income as a percentage of revenue
➤ Average net overhead
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➤ Average Fee per New Client: The related fee revenue for the year divided
by the new clients (of clients that the trm handled its trst matter for in the past
➤ Marketing Budget Ratio: The ratio of the total marketing spend (including
salaries) to the total fees billed during the year.
➤ Business Development Ratio: The ratio of the business development spend
for the year to the total fees billed during the year.
➤ Marketing Cost per Client: The ratio of the total marketing spend (including
salaries) to the number of clients billed during the year.
➤ Business Development Cost per Client: The ratio of the business develop-
ment spend for the year to the number of clients billed during the year.
➤ Average Fee per Matter: The fee revenue for the year divided by the number
of matters billed during the year.
➤ Average Fee per New Matter: The related fee revenue for the year divided
by the number of matters billed for new clients (handled its trst matter for in
the past 12 months).
➤ Client Retention: The ratio of clients billed in the last 12 months to the total
clients that had been billed in the 12 months prior to the last year.
➤ Growth in Top Clients: The ratio of fees billed to top 100 clients (number
can be adjusted to size of trm) in the past 12 months to the fees billed to the
top 100 clients in the prior 12 months.
➤ Practice Areas per Client: The number of individual practice groups billed
to clients on average.
➤ Number of Lawyers per Client: The ratio of individual lawyers who gener-
ate working fee credits billed to clients on average.
➤ Number of Matters per Client: The ratio of number of matters billed to the
number of clients billed.
The importance a trm places on specitc KPIs can and will change over time. How
the trm uses them should not change.
... factors, such as whether your ﬁrm is focused on
new business or on retention of existing clients, will ...
play a role in your ﬁrm’s selection of marketing KPIs.
Challenges to Using KPIs
Utilizing KPIs to assist in making businesslike decisions does
have its challenges, including the following points:
➤ Finding a relevant external benchmark against which to
compare your trm’s KPIs so it has real meaning and ap-
propriate strategies can be developed.
➤ Most law trm accounting software packages don’t lend
themselves to generating the information in a timely fash-
ion (if at all).
➤ Misinterpreting KPI results and overreaction to short-
term variations in results.
Keep in mind that context is critical to the enective use of
KPIs. An excellent way to do this is through benchmarking,
comparing your trm’s KPI results against the same KPI for
other organizations. The trouble is that access to benchmark-
ing data in the legal profession is limited. Several national
sources of benchmarking include the following indexes:
Strategies: The Journal of Legal Marketing, September 2011, V13.N06 | 7
Firm Insight BI Companion;
➤ Annual Survey of Law Firms, by Incisive Legal Intelligence;
➤ Hildebrandt Peer Monitor Economic Index (PMI); and
➤ LawFirm KPI Inc. annual survey.
There are likely formal and informal local sources for bench-
marking as well that trms can use; however, users need to
make sure that it is a comparable group (trm size, geography,
type of trm, etc.); that the indicators being measured are con-
sistently calculated; and that the benchmarking is conducted
by a third party so the results are not skewed to the goals of
the initiator of the benchmarking exercise.
Likewise, if you cannot generate accurate comparable in-
formation on a timely basis, then the information loses both
value and credibility, even if you can tnd an external standard
to benchmark against. But, perhaps most importantly, KPIs
have to be interpreted accurately and acted on appropriately
— good judgment is still the tnal arbiter.
The following scenario perhaps best demonstrates the need
to exercise judgment: Your trm experiences a strong in-
crease, year over year, in the average enective hourly rate
(one of their KPIs), which would be seen as a very positive
indicator of how a trm is weathering the current economic
storm. However, when you dig deeper, you recognize that
the increase exceeds the average hourly rate increase initi-
ated by the trm. What this KPI is really indicative of is that
more partner time is being billed out at higher rates and
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less associate time is being billed out at lower rates, which
results in an immediate increase in the enective hourly rate.
This may be indicative of the partners, in challenging times,
having “rolled the ladder up” when is comes to allocating
work to associates. In this scenario, the KPI is still acting
as an important indicator of performance; however, it is
doing so by being too good and therefore acting as a red
nag. Two other KPIs, Billable Hours per Partner FTE, and,
Associate FTE, would help provide the proper context for
the initial KPI.
As valuable as they are, KPIs are simply metrics — they are
no substitute for the use of common sense and good judgment
when it comes to the management of your law trm. ■
Mike Mabey is vice president of client solutions at Consumer Metrics
Inc. (CMI), a market research and strategy consulting rm based in
Atlanta. He helps his clients use research to identify and articulate so-
lutions to their marketing and strategic challenges. He can be reached
Stephen Mabey, CA, is managing director of Applied Strategies Inc.,
which has a long-term contract to provide the chief operating ocer
function to Atlantic Canada law rm Stewart McKelvey. Stephen
is the co-founder of LawFirmKPI
, which was formed to speci-
cally undertake benchmarking surveys for law rms with up to 100
lawyers. These surveys can provide law rm management with the
information required to make better business-like decisions. He can be
reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Fred Quenzer, JD
How to ‘Intelligently’ Run
a Law Firm
ou’ve implemented a number of strategic, cutting-
edge marketing campaigns for your law trm. The
partners in the trm have been diligently networking
both with existing and new clients. How do you know all
of your time and enort are paying on? How do you know
what changes should be made and the enect of such changes
on your prottability? The answer is a concept that businesses
have been using for years but is only recently being adopted
with any frequency by law trms: business intelligence.
Business intelligence is the process and technology used to
gather, store, analyze and provide pertinent data to help busi-
ness leaders make better business decisions. The name sounds
very “cloak and dagger,” but it is really a very simple analytical
process that can be easily implemented for any business, even
law trms. The implementation of business intelligence can be
easily scaled to match the size, maturity and needs of the trm.
Law trms’ need for business intelligence has never been
greater. Global competition, legal outsourcing and clients
pressuring law trms to cut costs have all created a need for
lawyers to be more emcient with their resources. Also, more
legal work has become commoditized. As a result, companies
can make data-driven purchasing decisions for legal services.
Procurement departments have started using quantitable met-
rics to judge which law trms should handle their legal work.
Law trms need to be ahead of their clients in determining
how to provide emcient legal services. Business intelligence
provides trms with this ability and to adapt to the changing
Implementing a business intelligence process is straightfor-
ward. Numerous IT trms and consultants have experience
successfully applying business intelligence outside the law trm
industry that law trms can easily tailor to their own imple-
mentation. The process itself can be broken down into three
main steps: metrics, tools and analysis.
Step 1 - Metrics
The trst step to implementing business intelligence is decid-
ing what measurements detne business success for your trm.
Key performance indicators (KPIs) are quantitable measure-
ments that a business can capture to renect the critical success
factors of the trm’s business. KPIs must be tailored to the
specitc factors your trm detnes as success. The types of KPIs
important to lawyers can be grouped into three main catego-
ries: growth of business, results-to-enorts ratios and marketing
activity measurements. Common KPIs within these groups
include the following:
➤ Growth of Business: number of new clients, market
share, number of clients by target market segment, share of
client’s wallet, cost of new client acquisition, etc.
➤ Results-to-Eorts Ratios: proposals won to total pro-
posals, seminars-to-leads, networking-to-leads, revenue
growth by service, prottability by client, etc.
➤ Marketing Activity Measurements: seminars present-
ed, ads placed, interviews conducted, articles written, press
releases placed, number of times partners/trm are quoted
or mentioned, trade shows attended, etc.
Firms will use these measurements in their business intel-
ligence process to determine concrete results they derive
directly from business development and marketing activities.
Step 2 - Tools
The second step is to implement the tools used to record,
store and organize the KPI data. These tools can vary from the
very simple, such as spreadsheets, to the very complex, such as
enterprise business intelligence systems. In determining what
is right for your organization, you will need to weigh the pros
and cons very carefully.
Spreadsheets are one of the simplest and least expensive tools;
however, they do not scale very well. Firms with more than
a few attorneys and clients have too much data to store and
organize making a spreadsheet an unwieldy tool to use.
Software from companies such as Redwood Analytics, SAP,
Cold Fusion and Elite oner scalable solutions for law trms
with more attorneys. The trm can install and maintain many
of these applications on its servers or as a service (software as
a service, or SaaS). SaaS provides professionals and stan in the
trm with web access to the application hosted on the service
provider’s servers (and maintained by them). SaaS allows for
monthly payments and provides the trm with the ability to
budget more enectively for software usage. Making a decision
on a particular software package and the type of license model
will depend on the specitc needs of your trm, your informa-
tion technology resources and your budget.
Dedicated business intelligence software solutions have the
benett of being able to aggregate large quantities of data, scale
across multiple omces and attorneys and provide dashboard
functionality to provide easy-to-read analytical informa-
tion. The disadvantages are the signitcant costs involved in
implementing and maintaining the systems; your trm must
thoroughly plan for both.
In addition, trms should start small and implement their busi-
ness intelligence systems in phases. Firms may then thoroughly
test their chosen KPIs, the capture method for the data and
the reports generated in manageable pieces. In the early stages,
you will want to ensure a consistent message about the value
of business intelligence and how you specitcally use it to keep
the trm’s business on the right track. Initial reports should
include only the highest priority KPIs and what these metrics
mean to the bottom line of the business. You can phase in
additional KPIs, reports and software functionality later.
Step 3 - Analysis
Once the tools are in place and data is collected, the most
important step begins. The trm needs to analyze the data to
make strategic decisions. Most tools will include dashboards
or the ability to organize the data into meaningful representa-
tions of the state of the business.
Management should review the data to determine the ef-
fectiveness of the trm’s marketing and business development
programs. When the trm adjusts or cuts a program, the result
will show up in the data, allowing for tne tuning of busi-
ness decisions. The trm’s management can then decide what
programs should be expanded and which should be scaled
back or stopped completely. When analyzing the data, keep
in mind the old adage “garbage in, garbage out.” The danger
in implementing any business process is that faulty assump-
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tions will lead to faulty results. The data that may be useful for
one practice group may not be useful for another group. In
addition, keep in mind that prottability may not be the only
success factor. It is important to view nonbillable qualities,
such as leadership, mentoring and training, which are invest-
ments in the trm’s future. A prott analysis that is too rigid
can cause trm management to take actions that may show
short-term gains at the expense of long-term trm growth.
The successful law trm continuously will analyze the assump-
tions used to select which KPIs to collect and change the KPIs
based on their evolving understanding of the trm’s business.
This creates a closed-loop process that ensures that informa-
tion gained from analyzing the data captured in step one is
used to improve the data collection process. By using business
intelligence to document return on investment (ROI) of each
business development and marketing strategy, law trms can
more enectively position themselves for future growth. With
careful analysis and continuous review of strategy, trms will
be able to transform their services to meet any change in the
marketplace to ensure that growth. ■
Fred Quenzer, JD, participated in Dr. Hodges’ law rm marketing
course (Fordham Law School, spring 2011). His article is based on a
presentation he gave during the course. Before law school, he worked
as an IT manager specializing in monitoring and business intelligence
solutions. Contact him at email@example.com.
By Jamie Diaferia
Dude, Where’s My ROI?
The Value Conversation That Actually Pays Dividends
f so much money and time weren’t at stake, the typical
return on investment (ROI)
conversation within law
trms would almost be funny:
“What was the return on our investment in public relations
last year?” asks the managing partner.
“Pretty good, I think,” replies the marketing director.
“Well, how much revenue did you bring in?”
“Revenue? That’s hard to say. I mean, there was that protle
piece in that magazine, and that blog everyone reads picked
it up.” Her voice trails on. “Oh, and that ‘Best Partner on
Planet Earth’ award Alice won — well, that was great.”
“Right … so you’re telling me you have no idea what our
The two exchange a blank stare. The marketing director prays
for an unexpected tre drill and wonders if she still has that
recruiter she used to work with on speed dial.
The directive to demonstrate tangible value from a trm’s
tnancial investment in PR often moves down the line from
managing partner to marketing director to communications
director and tnally to an outside PR agency, gathering speed
before landing with a resounding thud.
It’s an entirely reasonable request — clearly, funds should not
be spent without the expectation of a positive return. But how
to measure that return, i.e., which metrics to use, is a million-
dollar question. In many cases, literally: Which enorts should
be measured? Media placements? Panel discussions in which
clients participated? Crises strategically averted? A multitude
of tactics and strategies comprise a modern PR campaign, and
determining which enorts yielded which results often comes
down to guesswork and faith.
“Measurement is the rst step that leads to control and eventually to
improvement. If you can’t measure something, you can’t understand
it. If you can’t understand it, you can’t control it. If you can’t control
it, you can’t improve it.”
— H. James Harrington (quality guru)
Communications professionals need to develop ways to mea-
sure their results and assign a value to them. For many years,
the basic measure of the value of a media placement was based
on advertising value equivalency (AVE), which made the as-
sumption that the value of an article is equal to that of an
advertisement. One could make the argument that measur-
ing something is better than no measurement at all, but The
Institute for Public Relations Commission on Measurement
and Evaluation (IPR) ultimately came out against the practice
in late 2010.
AVE is no longer considered a useful tool of measurement for
a number of reasons, the primary being that it only takes into
account one aspect of a PR outcome: the value of the media
placement itself. And it does so in a way that is not even re-
motely an apples-to-apples comparison. One signitcant naw,
the commission noted, is that advertising is controllable and
always conveys a positive message.
After essentially labeling AVE a supertcial tool for assigning
value to media placements, Dr. Brad L. Rawlins, who over-
saw the study for the IPR Commission, stated: “Advertising
cost isn’t a meaningful metric. Advertisers don’t use the cost
of placing their advertisements as an outcome. It’s a cost of
achieving the outcome of increasing sales or brand awareness.
So, it makes no sense for public relations to compare its out-
come to the cost of achieving advertising outcomes. Publicity
isn’t the outcome; it’s part of the process of reaching a more
meaningful outcome, such as protecting reputation or increas-
ing awareness of responsible behaviors.”
Rawlins’ comment demonstrates a critical distinction between
ROI and value that underscores the fundamental challenge of
identifying a useful measurement system. Discussions about
ROI that originate at the top of the law trm pyramid most
certainly center around dollars out and dollars in, whereas
the in-house marketing team and outside PR trms are likely
to focus on value, a broader concept that encompasses the
true range of PR activities: establishing thought leadership,
changing perceptions and attitudes and raising awareness
through media placements chief among them — in other
words, a rich stew of tangible and intangible returns. Yes,
this is getting messier.
For example, a critical bit of work we once carried out on
behalf of a client entailed preventing a damaging article from
being published. The law trm we represented was grateful, but
how could we attach an accurate value to news not getting out?
The article — the trst substantial media piece about the trm
— would have appeared in a prominent legal trade publica-
tion with a vibrant online presence. It’s very likely that a link
For our purposes, we will detne ROI as “a measure of the tnancial benetts
of an activity against its associated costs” (Perspectives on the ROI of Media Re-
lations Publicity Eorts by Fraser Likely, David Rockford and Mark Weiner).
to it would have ranked at the top in any Google search of the
trm’s name, and that most reporters doing their homework
on the trm, for years, would have rehashed the news in
subsequent coverage. The avoidance of pain, embarrass-
ment and the tarnishing of a trm’s reputation can be
worth hundreds of thousands of dollars — but accurate
measurement in this case, as it so often is, was virtually
impossible because of the hypothetical underpinnings.
Certainty Certainly Ain’t
Perhaps it’s time to put this issue to rest forever and
declare that it’s impossible for law trms to calculate
ROI across every aspect of a PR campaign. The
aims are simply too diverse, often intangible, and
spread along an extended spectrum of time in a way
that makes measurement random at best.
It’s important to note, however, that I’m not advocating the
abandonment of metrics, measurement, dashboards, spread-
sheets or even rulers. A lack of precise measurement does not
connote the absence of value (or a return on investment);
instead, marketing departments and PR trms would be wise
to rethink the way they initiate campaigns to make them in-
herently valuable and then to measure what can be measured.
One enective way to approach the measuring ROI of a PR
spend is designing initiatives with the specitc goal of mea-
surability. For example, consider building media campaigns
around targeted issues. To maximize ROI, a trm should iden-
tify areas of potential growth and match those areas to issues
the media care about. For example, we represent an attorney
whose background lends itself to the ongoing discussion of
municipal bonds and the risk of default. This isn’t necessar-
ily the one topic this guy knows better than anything else in
the world, but he knows far more about it than the average
reporter and certainly the average Joe scanning a newspaper.
It’s a timely subject he can leverage to get himself in front of
the audiences the trm cares about. Inserting the attorney into
the news stream on this topic, therefore, supports the overall
objectives of the trm.
Prior to starting media outreach for any client, we make it
a practice to identify relevant newspapers, magazines, blogs,
conferences and even potential clients as a means of generat-
ing consensus about what would constitute success. Assuming
we do our job correctly, the value is inherent.
Each issue-based campaign should be treated as a distinct proj-
ect with its own budget, goals, timeline and desired outcomes.
In the case of the municipal bond lawyer, we were able to
place him in target publications via quotes and bylined articles,
some of which were picked up in blogs. This outcome had
a signitcant positive impact on where his name and that of
the trm appeared in a Google search. Likewise, he amassed a
wealth of material to send selectively to clients and prospects,
and the trm scored substantive material to add to its website.
How much revenue did our client derive from the muni-
bond campaign? Even if one client identited itself as signing
on after reading an article our client wrote, that still doesn’t
provide anything more than a snapshot of the results. The
metrics we have at our disposal are additional snapshots that,
in total, tell a story. We looked at, among other things, the
➤ the attorney and the trm’s Google rankings before and
after the campaign;
➤ spikes in tramc to the attorney’s protle and the trm’s web-
site on days in which the attorney appeared in the news or
spoke at an event;
➤ responses from clients and prospects to media clips sent by
➤ the character of conversations the attorney had with pros-
pects before and after the campaign;
➤ the anecdotal perception of the trm and its strengths after
the media coverage;
➤ the increase in inbound calls from reporters to the attorney
seeking his opinion;
➤ the ratio of interviews with the attorney to articles in
which he was quoted; and
➤ the number of new followers the attorney attracted on
Twitter and the number of connection requests he re-
ceived on Facebook or LinkedIn.
This list is in no way exhaustive, but it illustrates the nuanced
view one can take of success and, by implication, ROI. Just as
the media business has gotten more fragmented, so, too, has
the business of reaching a trm’s target audiences.
Ultimately, the metrics we should all employ to track the im-
pact of a PR campaign will indicate whether useful messages
are reaching relevant audiences. These metrics are helpful in
reframing the discussion so that it becomes goal-based rather
than a frustrating annual economics lesson.
Shifting the way you look at ROI may not prevent the awk-
ward conversation with the managing partner from occurring,
but it will allow you to provide some concrete answers. ■
Jamie Diaferia, an attorney and former journalist, is the founder of
Innite Public Relations LLC. He is based in New York and can be
reached at 212/687-0935 and firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Daniel Weglarz, JD
Measuring Email Marketing Success
aw trms are raving fans of email marketing, and it is
no wonder why. Email oners an enective, professional
and inexpensive method of maintaining contact with
current and prospective clients. A 2010 Nielsen study found
that checking email remains the dominant activity of mobile
Internet users. A MarketingSherpa study found that the over-
whelming majority of marketers believe that social media will
complement, not supplant, email as a marketing tool.
Without question, email newsletters, alerts and invitations are
invaluable marketing tools for your law trm; however, several
questions remain unanswered. Is your email marketing cam-
paign achieving good results? What is a “good” result? How
do your results compare to those of your peers? In today’s
competitive marketplace, being average just won’t cut it. You
must rise above the crowd to where you can be clearly seen
by those in need of legal services. Once pinpointed, a weak-
ness can usually be eliminated through better compliance with
best practices in copy, design, deliverability and list hygiene.
open rates are made somewhat less accurate due to the fact
that an “open” will be recorded even if a recipient merely
passes their cursor over the email and it displays momentarily
in their preview pane.
Aside from the obvious benett of identifying how many
recipients open your emails, monitoring your open rate can
oner additional advantages. For instance, open-rate data can
serve as a short-term diagnostic tool. If the data reveal a sud-
den, drastic drop in your open rate, this may alert you of a
possible technical issue regarding the individual domain that is
keeping your emails from reaching your audience’s inboxes.
Open-rate analysis can also serve as a tool for A/B testing,
such as testing dinerent subject lines on otherwise identical
emails to uncover which piece of bait appeared most appetiz-
ing to recipients.
Throughout the two-year period analyzed in the 2010 Nielsen
report, open rates have dropped steadily from a mean of 27.94
percent to 21.42 percent. Open rates are predominantly
driven by three factors:
1. The degree to which email recipients recognize the
name of the sender in the email’s “From” line. Be
sure to point out to new contacts the name that will appear
in the “From” line of your emails if it is one in which your
identity may not be readily apparent.
2. The degree to which your email’s subject line entices
the reader. Emails with short, descriptive teaser subject
lines are most likely to get opened.
3. The degree to which your emails are targeted. A
shotgun approach is not the way to go. If your email per-
tains to a specitc area of law, send it only to those contacts
who are interested in that subject area rather than to the
trm’s entire contact list. By sending untargeted emails to
uninterested contacts, they will quickly develop a mindset
that your emails are a waste of their time and form a habit
of ignoring them.
The click rate measures the percentage of recipients who not
only opened your email, but also clicked on links provided
in it. It is calculated by dividing the number of unique clicks
by the total number of emails delivered. Unique clicks count
only the number of recipients who clicked any link in your
email at least once. This allows for an accurate indicator,
even when recipients click several links or click the same
link multiple times. However, delivered emails must actually
be opened in order for the links to be clicked, so dividing
Email marketing software provides tve key performance
metrics that help marketers measure their success. They in-
clude the open rate, click rate, conversion rate, bounce rate
and unsubscribe rate. An industry report by eLawMarketing
titled “The State of Law Firm Email Marketing: Benchmarks,
Trends, and Best Practices,” documented benchmarks for
these metrics generated by email marketing campaigns ag-
gregating 6,896,610 emails distributed by law trms of all sizes
between July 2008 and June 2010. These benchmarks provide
a ruler with which to measure up your own success.
As the name implies, your open rate measures the rate at which
recipients open the emails you send. Calculate the open rate
by taking the number of unique recipients who opened your
email at least once and divide it by the total number of emails
sent. “Opens” are recorded when a tiny transparent image is
displayed as the email is opened. Therefore, open-rate data
may be slightly skewed due to image-blocking technology
that prevents the image from being displayed. In addition,
In today’s competitive marketplace,
being average just won’t cut it. You
must rise above the crowd ...
by the total number of emails delivered fails to provide a
valuable metric. This problem is sidestepped by analyzing
While assessing open rates to identify who opened your emails
is of great interest, examining conversion rates to understand
how interested those people are is of much greater value.
Compute this metric by dividing the number of unique
clicks by the number of unique opens. Unique opens count
the number of unique recipients who opened your email at
least one time. This prevents over-counting by taking into
account the fact that many of your subscribers may open an
email multiple times. Your conversion rate gives you a very
good indication of how enectively your email engaged the
recipients, how interested your audience actually was in the
subject of your email and how well you persuaded recipients
to follow your calls to action.
Email marketing software makes it possible to discover
which recipients clicked on links, visited the landing page,
viewed other pages, submitted web forms or downloaded
white papers. With this software, you’ll be able to pinpoint
what topics individual recipients are reading about. For
example, marketing technology guru Anthony Green says:
“When I meet that guy, when I play golf with that woman,
I can bring these topics up in conversation. That can mean
million-dollar deals …”
Nationally, conversion rates have increased slightly from a
mean of 17.00 percent to 17.47 percent between 2008 and
2010. Targeting will help you raise your conversion rate to
meet or exceed this tgure. Create email content that focuses
on niche topics and send it only to a niche audience. Your
conversion rate will also largely depend on the extent to
which you follow email design best practices. This includes
rendering your key calls to action as text as opposed to im-
ages that can be blocked; ensuring your calls to action are
persuasive and conspicuously positioned throughout
your emails, such as near the top, middle and bot-
tom; making good use of the upper left-hand
corner in your email template; and
appropriately sizing your banner
The bounce rate is
the percentage of the
total emails you sent that
bounced, either because
of a permanent problem,
such as an unknown email
address, or a temporary issue,
such as a temporary connec-
tion failure. Your bounce rate
is a good indicator of how clean
your contact list is. Strive to lower
your bounce rate by maintaining an
updated contact list of only those con-
tacts with which you have an existing
business relationship. Between 2008 and 2010, bounce rates
have dropped slightly from a mean of 3.68 percent to 2.27
percent, which indicates better adherence to best practices in
the area of contact list hygiene.
The unsubscribe rate is the percentage of total emails delivered
that triggered a request by the recipient to be removed from
your mailing list. Between 2008 and 2010, unsubscribe rates
have increased slightly from a mean of 0.13 percent to 0.17
percent. By monitoring this metric, you can gauge whether
you are continuing to generate email content that is interest-
ing to your audience.
These tve key performance indicators provide great insight
into the enectiveness of your email marketing campaign and
are tremendously benetcial in evaluating where to focus
your marketing enorts. Email marketing software helps you
measure your success, uncover weaknesses in your email
marketing campaign and can even give you the inside scoop
on what interests your current and prospective clients. So get
your hands on some quality email marketing software if you
haven’t already done so, and take advantage of the huge array
of benetts it has to oner. ■
Daniel Weglarz, JD, participated in Dr. Hodges’ law rm
marketing course (Fordham Law School, spring 2011).
His article is based on a presentation he made
during the course. Daniel can be reached at
What Am I Worth?
Key Performance Indicators for Solo Marketers
olo marketers in law trms often face the problem that
no one in their trm understands what they really do
or how to measure marketing’s enectiveness. By set-
ting key performance metrics, trm management can better
understand the scope of the marketer’s activities and their
impact on the trm. The Legal Marketing Association’s
“Core Competencies” (https://e.learn.com/learncenter.
asp?id=178415) can be helpful tools to determine both per-
sonal and trm KPIs. These indicators assist in formulating
your marketing plan and budget for the year and serve as a
guide for your individual performance review, as well as that
of the trm, at year end.
Amy Smith, co-chair of LMA’s Education Committee, com-
ments: “Measuring for learning and improvement is the most
natural form of using KPIs. The aim is to equip ourselves
with the information we need to make better-informed deci-
sions that lead to improvements in our work and our projects.
Each Core Competency already has clearly detned needs.
The next logical step is to design the indicators to assess the
performance.” This article focuses on the LMA’s 10 Core
Competencies and some KPIs that solo marketers can put in
place — with little to no cost — to measure performance.
Within the category of technology, you can measure suc-
cess in many ways in your marketing department. You
can measure your success through your client relationship
management system (CRM) by doing a quarterly check and
report on your data. For example, when we trst launched the
CRM, we had 500 good contacts. Now we have 2,000 good
contacts and are reaching more potential and current clients.
You should report on the validity of contact information for
these contacts as well as the decline in bouncebacks from
mailings and email blasts.
Your website or blog is another valuable resource within
technology. Google Analytics is a free way to measure web-
site tramc and provide an up-to-date report on your success
within the website. You can attribute numbers to how many
articles from your blog were posted, determine if they were
picked up by other online sources, and see whether there was
a call from a reporter or potential client. Remember, always
document and report!
In addition, social media is an inexpensive and easy way to
communicate and track your trm’s message. Use KPIs to
monitor your social media enorts, including implementation
of a social media plan and policy.
By Aria Vaida
Branding can be dimcult to measure, so implementing KPIs
will show your attorneys that your enorts are successful. Before
you start your branding campaign, make sure to do market
research on demographics such as age, location and what your
audience is reading. Next, provide a report of your tndings
along with a detailed plan of attack. When you launch your
campaign, get your whole omce involved. Put your new ads
everywhere and anywhere you can. At the end of the year,
record how often ads were placed, list the publications and
document every time there was a comment about your ads.
“Measuring for learning and improvement is
the most natural form of using KPIs.”
Branding comes in all forms. Pitch books, logo’d promotional
items and holiday cards are all examples of branding. You can
start a feedback folder to house information, which can be
used to compile a report on the success of the trm’s branding
initiatives for the year.
Marketers are often behind the scenes making the world go
round as attorneys are bringing in the business. Solo marketers
have an important role acting as business development coach-
es, so it is imperative that a tracking system is established to
make your enorts known. If you coach someone, document
the process, keep track of what you are coaching them on
and report on improvements and milestones. You can track
new case memos, connict checks, market research pulled for
pitches and requests for proposals. If you have a CRM system,
use it to track and report on individual business development
enorts. If you do not have a CRM system, an Outlook calen-
dar can serve as a way to track business development enorts.
Business of Law
Marketers should have a good sense of the business of law and
industry trends. You can set monthly or quarterly meetings
with key partners to discuss how the market trends are anect-
ing your clients. You should be reading all of the publications
your trm’s clients are reading. Even if the attorneys cannot
tell you what their clients are reading, you can ask your clients
whenever you see them in the omce.
Strategies: The Journal of Legal Marketing, September 2011, V13.N06 | 15
Part of understanding the business of law is to know your trm’s
clientele. The best way to gauge how the business is doing is
to work with your accounting department to research trends
during the last tve years. Important considerations include what
type of work is most prottable and who the top clients are.
After you gather this information, make a spreadsheet to docu-
ment trends such as how much revenue is coming in from each
client on an annual basis, as well as what type of work we have
been doing for the last tve years. Ask whether that work has
started to change and what we need to do to adapt. We can also
track trends in this data that lead back to the core competency of
competitive intelligence. You and your partners might discover
that you need to switch your approach to a specitc client based
on your tve-year analysis. By providing facts on spreadsheets
related to key trm clients, you are creating tangible documenta-
tion of your enorts to increase trm prottability.
As a marketer in any size trm, you should develop KPIs for
yourself. You can keep track of the continuing education
you have received through seminars, webinars, focus groups,
conferences and so forth. You will always get bonus points at
your trm for implementing something you have learned from
an educational onering.
Often, marketers at small trms are responsible for the trm’s
PR with a small budget to seek outside professionals on an as-
needed basis or, on a rare occasion, have an outside PR trm
on retainer. Regardless of your individual situation, you will
most likely be scored on the number of times the trm’s name
appears in a print or online publication. You should internally
promote successes in the news by sending announcements
for media quotes and articles, as well as publicizing on your
website and social media streams.
The LMA detnes communications as “enective messaging and
powerful correspondence in all formats of delivery. It involves
connecting in a way that inspires action, growth and change.”
This means that all trm messaging, both internal and external,
should be cohesive. In a small trm, it is common that market-
ers will proactively aid in rolling out uniform KPIs regarding
the look and feel of trm correspondence and messaging. For
example, you can set universal standards for the look and feel
of correspondence going out of your trm by setting KPIs by
auditing outgoing correspondence (font size, font type, margin
space for letters, RFP guidelines, letter guidelines, etc.).
Events allow you to be creative and make a big impact at your
trm. Whether you are on a small budget and do a morning
breakfast series or on a larger budget and host a conference to
showcase a practice group, be creative and make your events
memorable by adding a twist. Your attorneys will remember
that you were the mastermind behind such great ideas. Before
and after the event, set your KPIs around attendance, content,
presentation and follow-up.
Most marketers in small trms do not have the budget for a
competitive intelligence database or a full-time librarian. That
being said, you sure can tnd out a lot about a person or a com-
pany by Googling them. If your attorney is going to meet with
a potential client, be proactive and ask if you can pull some
information for their meeting. This free research will help you
save the trm money and you can document how many times
you have helped with your free competitive intelligence.
Always align your strategic goals with the trm’s goals by add-
ing KPIs to a trm marketing business plan. The strategic plan
should include all the previously noted Core Competencies.
There are tangible, objective systems a marketer can put in
place to demonstrate their value in a law trm. If you mea-
sure you and your trm’s marketing goals within the Core
Competencies, you will have a winning strategy every year.
And remember, if you see something or do something, say
something or else no one will ever know! ■
Aria K. Vaida, director of marketing at Bernkopf Goodman LLP in
Boston, serves on the LMA’s National Education Committee, is a
member-at-large for the New England Chapter of LMA and is on
the board of the Boston chapter of the Law Firm Media Professionals
Group. Vaida can be reached at email@example.com.
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ow should we position ourselves to our potential
clients to renect our vision? How should we position
ourselves to our stakeholders to succeed tnancially?
What did we learn from our failures and how should we
improve? During their daily operations, organizations from
various industries face these and many other questions. Key
performance indicators (KPIs) are ubiquitous 21st century
management tools to measure various types of organizational
performance within the company and its market position.
KPIs are applicable to all businesses, including the law trm
and its marketing processes. To develop and implement a
comprehensive combination of specitc indicators relevant to
your law trm, focus on your strategy. Senior law trm man-
agement needs data that shows whether the practice area or
department spend resources that focus on the right priorities
and generate value.
Daily monitoring of the results and processes that initiated
them is critical. To maximize success, it is crucial to under-
stand how the KPIs are interacting in the system. Is there
a static structure that provides the background of successful
operations or is it an ongoing interaction between those dash-
The essential task KPIs perform adds value while demonstrat-
ing performance. They achieve this through the development
of a four-dimensional understanding of business performance.
Marketing functions of law trms utilize the same quadrants of
the corporate framework as other industries: customer service,
service levels, impact on clients and emciency.
KPIs – A Set of Law Firm Values
KPIs for law trms should:
➤ be universal across industries — not just exclusive to legal
➤ be easy to control and allow benchmarking with other
corporations, even those in other economic sectors; and
➤ feature strategically measurable values.
Keeping these criteria in mind, we took the eight KPIs sug-
gested for the legal profession
divided into four key corporate
components (that we will call facets) with subcomponents
(that we call elements). These represent a detnitive set of
marketing metrics for the legal trm to consider. Let us il-
By Paul M.W. Hackett, PhD, and Yulia S. Sovenkova
Not All KPIs Are Equal
Understanding the Interacting Role of KPIs Through
the Use of a Mapping Sentence
lustrate how this balanced scorecard would look for law trm
Figure 1. Four key law ﬁrm law ﬁrm performance based metrics
Accessibility: Relates to the ease with which customers are able
to readily reach legal counsel at the time they have this need
Turnaround: Relates to the speed at which customers receive
all forms of legal counsel
Teamwork and Morale: A measure of legal services employees
overall satisfaction with work life
Results: A measure of the extent to which legal counsel attains
their planned results
Overall Satisfaction: Customer satisfaction with legal services
from inside and outside counsel
Impact on Clients
The extent of contribution on pre-selected strategic projects,
i.e., the relationship between the trm’s vision/strategy and its
innuence on client base (potential and actual)
Cost of Legal Services: Total legal spend for each primary cor-
porate indicator before charge backs and recoveries including
inside and outside counsel costs and disbursements
Stock, R.G. (2005) Key Performance Indicators for the Law Department,
Lexpert, March 2005, p 87
Strategies: The Journal of Legal Marketing, September 2011, V13.N06 | 17
Budget Performance: A measure of how much approved bud-
gets for total legal spending are met.
These indicators are often measured using a set of scales
specitc to a given indicator. For example, overall customer
satisfaction often is measured on a tve-point scale whereas
cost of legal services may be measured on a three-point scale,
and many times teamwork and morale are assessed qualita-
tively. While these metrics have dinerences, all are attempting
to gauge how positive an activity is. To better understand
the interaction of these KPIs, we suggest a tve-point scale of
positive to negative enects.
Strategy Mapping Through
KPIs for the marketing and management functions of the law
trm address many dinerent organizational, professional and
stan and client performance aspects of law trm marketing.
KPIs rarely exist in isolation within the marketing function of
a law trm. KPI literature frequently shows the combination
of KPIs by dividing them into organizational and client KPIs.
Organizational KPIs are then further subdivided into input,
process and output aspects of the organizational process. The
client is seen as a target goal for organizational procedures.
Given the wide variety of KPIs that a law trm may use, KPIs
may be combined in dinerent ways to model what may be
complex operational areas of interest to the law trm.
Facet theory can help develop understanding of complex
behavior by simultaneously combining meaningful variables.
The main tool for achieving such combined understanding is
the mapping sentence. In its broadest sense, facet theory is a
way of thinking about complex situations within real-world
contexts. It achieves success in requiring conceptualizations
to proceed through the breaking down of complex situa-
tions into their major components or facets, which innuence
or determine the situation that is being considered. Facets
themselves are also broken down into mutually exclusive
subdivisions called elements. Once the important facets and
elements are established and combined in a sentence format,
the mapping sentence (see Figure 2) represents the structure
of the complex situation of interest.
To illustrate how this approach works, let us consider the legal
KPIs we discussed before, written in the form of a mapping
sentence for legal professions. The mapping sentence forms
a statement of legal marketing activities that suggests the
relationships between the facets. Once a mapping sentence
that incorporates all important legal marketing KPIs has been
developed, this theoretical statement needs to be modited to
tt a specitc context.
Taking the mapping sentence in Figure 2, it is possible to
select one specitc element from each facet and combine these
in a sentence. The following situation is an example of this:
The law trm assesses the speed at which the client receives
its services — within the context of the trm’s strategy — that
result in clients attaining their planned results that trms assess
through the positive or negative cost to the trm.
Continued on page 21
Figure 2. Mapping Sentence for Legal Key Performance Indicators
The combination of KPIs results in a measure that renects the
real-world combination of KPIs within the legal marketing
context. This metric supplements, rather than replaces, the
measure of individual KPIs and gives more information to the
legal trm management team regarding the successfulness of
their marketing operations.
But why make the extra enort to use a mapping sentence
to evaluate your law trm’s marketing activities? The use of
isolated KPIs will often meet your trm’s needs. However,
legal marketing is a complex process, and the various compo-
nents of this process will interact with each other. One aspect
of marketing procedure will directly impact others. For ex-
ample, measuring customer satisfaction may be innuenced by
whether the client is an existing client or by the timeliness of
the service, which itself is innuenced by its cost implications
to the trm. The mapping sentence provides a broader picture
using a single outcome metric.
A meaningful set of KPIs provides your law trm with not
only a measuring system, but also a management system. The
interactivity aspects of these indicators are just another way of
revealing the combined nature of an organization’s operations
By Donald E. Aronson
Quant or Qual? – KPIs
efore addressing the topic of KPIs, let me trst intro-
duce myself. I was a math major and a certited public
accountant. Back in those days, my kind was anection-
ately referred to as “number-crunchers.” In today’s parlance, I
would probably have been called a “quant.”
So I should be an ideal candidate to address something as reli-
ant on metrics as KPIs. But I have to confess that somewhere
along the way I had an epiphany and became a full-nedged
“qual.” Too much exposure to poorly planned, poorly
telded and/or poorly interpreted market research was partly
responsible for that conversion. That’s not to say that I hadn’t
experienced excellent market research and benetted from its
results. It’s just that there had been a preponderance of the
other with its inherent fudging of the facts or tgures to reach
what often appeared to be preconceived conclusions.
But all that’s in the past. Now I’m just a schizophrenic ag-
nostic who becomes a quant when it appears appropriate or
a qual when it doesn’t, and vice versa. One reason for this is
the wealth of information so readily available to us now and
how it’s being used.
For example, in the recent April 23 edition of The New York
Times, Alina Tugend’s article titled “In a Debt-Heavy Soci-
ety, Being Detned by the Numbers” quoted the journalist
Jonah Lehrer as saying, “Numbers make intangibles tangible.
They give the illusion of control. … We want to quantify
everything, to ground a decision in fact, instead of asking
whether that variable matters.” Lehrer concluded, “The ob-
session with numbers means we don’t trust or even look for
the intangibles that can’t be measured, like wisdom, judgment
and expertise.” In an apparent contradiction, the very next
day’s issue of that same newspaper ran an article by Steve Lohr
titled “When There’s No Such Thing as Too Much Informa-
tion.” Lohr referred to as-yet unpublished research, which
concludes that “companies that rely heavily on data analysis
are likely to outperform others … and [this] has huge implica-
tions for competitiveness and growth.”
Qual v. Quant
Where, then, does that leave me with regard to KPIs — and
why? For the past 16 years, my trm has devoted a substantial
So it’s not really metrics per se that a KPI
analyst should be concerned with but,
rather, the ability to ﬁrst deﬁne the attributes
that determine success or failure for a law
ﬁrm before measuring ... them.
continued on page 20
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20 | Strategies: The Journal of Legal Marketing, September 2011, V13.N06
For copies of one or more of the articles referred to, contact Marketing The
Law Firm (www.ljnonline.com or 877/256-2472). Or, if not a subscriber
to that publication, contact Don Aronson at either of his addresses indicated
below and he’ll be pleased to send you copies.
part of its time to a form of market research — specitcally, cli-
ent feedback interviews. Therefore, most of what we uncover
and pass on to the law trms and other professional services
trms we represent are tndings and recommendations based
on the primarily qualitative assessments their clients’ execu-
tives have provided as to the trms’ “performance.”
And isn’t “performance” precisely what the “P” in KPI stands
for? So it’s not really metrics per se that a KPI analyst should
be concerned with but, rather, the ability to trst detne the
attributes that determine success or failure for a law trm be-
fore measuring them and determining how to assign value
key clients in the tnancial services industry. To attain such
a quantitative goal for each targeted client, the trm would
trst have to assess how it stacks up against each of the nine
prerequisites. In and of themselves, these assessments would
not constitute KPIs, but they would help in the process of
meeting the trm’s goal, or understanding where and why it
What I’ve discussed above are primarily external indicators
as opposed to internal indicators, such as prott per client,
realization rate or days in inventory. Of course, both types
of indicators have to be considered in doing a comprehensive
KPI analysis. Even so, I’ll conclude with another external
indicator. This is the ultimate and undoubtedly the gold stan-
dard to which each lead partner should aspire. Namely, it is
to be considered a, or even the, Trusted Adviser by each of
the lead partner’s most important clients. But if that’s one of
your KPIs — and it probably should be — how in the world
would you measure it?
One way is to ask. The problem that presents is what do
you do if you get “No” or “I don’t know” for an answer.
So a better way would be to determine by inquiry how the
lead partner measures up against certain criteria that we’ve
culled from the thousands of client feedback interviews we’ve
conducted. We’ve divided these criteria into the following
three categories: Personal Characteristics, Client Service
Capabilities and Clients’ Impressions. Each category includes
eight qualities, 24 in total. (For a more complete discussion of
this subject and a listing of the 24 qualities, I refer you to my
article “Trusted Advisor? — It’s More a Question of WHY
Rather Than WHO.”
Accordingly, if being a Trusted Adviser is one of your trm’s
or practice groups’ KPIs for designated key clients, the mea-
suring metric could be something as simple as “1” or “0”
(for “yes” or “no”). More meaningful for the trm and/or the
practice groups would be how well or poorly the respective
lead partners measure up against each of the 24 qualities.
Quant & Qual – A Binary Focus
There are many dinerent KPIs you can use to assess attain-
ment of various goals and objectives. I’ve only mentioned a
few because I believe they’re important but don’t lend them-
selves to ease of measurement.
So whether you’re a qual or a quant, if you buy into the no-
tion that KPIs can renect the critical success factors for your
trm (which I do, but on my terms), you will have to recog-
nize the relevance of both the qualitative and the quantitative
in providing the necessary criteria on what to measure, how
it should be measured and the degree of contdence and reli-
ability that can be placed on the results you derive. ■
Copyright © 2011 by D. E. Aronson Associates LLC. Ar-
onson’s rm conducts market research by interviewing executives
of professional services rms’ key clients with a primary focus
on client feedback. He can be reached at 212/874-4181 or
But, I must acknowledge, it’s not just a qualitative measure
we’re after in conducting client feedback interviews, as you’ll
note from my July 2010 article in Marketing The Law Firm
titled “Client Feedback – It’s More Than Just Satisfaction and
In the article, I discuss the 1 to 5 rating (where 5 is
high) that all of our interviewees are asked to assign to their
law trm’s “performance” (that word again). Theoretically,
that would qualify as a KPI, assuming one of the trm’s goals
is to “provide an optimal level of performance satisfaction
to the Crown Jewel Clients,” further detned as scoring a
minimum rating of say 4.25 for each member of this select
But keep in mind the subjective nature of such ratings, as
that article points out. While ostensibly an objective numer-
ical assessment, there is no single correct answer. Therefore,
the response is purely subjective, with one interviewee’s 4.0
possibly being equivalent to another’s 5.0 or 3.0. In fact,
some have qualited their ratings with such comments as,
“Only God gets 5’s” or “I never give anything higher than
a 4.0” or “They did quite well, so I gave them a 3.0 as they
clearly met my expectations.” Therefore, an interviewee’s
quantitative rating is often not as important to us as the
qualitative explanation that normally accompanies it, taken
together with all other comments onered during the course
of the interview.
In another article that appeared in the March 2010 issue of
that same publication on “Cross-Selling,”
are spelled out against which cross-selling success potential
can be measured. Assume the case of a trm where one of its
goals is to achieve 20 percent greater billing from each of its
... an interviewee’s quantitative
rating is often not as important to us
as the qualitative explanation that
normally accompanies it ...
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Cocktail Reception: 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Location: University of Richmond’s
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The Continuing Marketing Education program presented by
the LMA Virginias Chapter is the trst local, full-day program
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marketing issues, from client service needs and new trends in
business development to marketing communications.
For registration information, visit
Upcoming LMA eLearning Classrooms
Client Development in Cyberspace: Under-
standing Opportunities and Limitations
Join presenter Will Hornsby for four live and interactive
hour-long teaching classes on Oct. 6, Oct. 20, Nov. 3 and
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and resources available to law trms that create their own
policies; then, he assesses the ways in which ethics provisions
apply to marketing endeavors and explores the possibilities
of optimizing client development outside the scope of the
rules. He discusses the specitc rules that govern market-
ing and sales with a view of the purposes and justitcations
for the rules. Hornsby further enhances participants’ active
learning experience through approximately eight hours of
Marketers on the Move
Sarah Hickman, a former business devel-
opment coordinator with Hanson Bridgett,
joined Coblentz, Patch, Duffy & Bass as a
marketing manager in May 2011.
Anna Behrman recently was appointed as chief market-
ing and business development ofﬁcer at Marshall Gerstein
& Borum LLP. Prior to joining the company, Behrman held
various senior marketing and business development roles
within the professional services industry and in both public
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Jennifer Smuts, previously of Connolly Bove, began
a new position on Aug. 8 as senior manager of business
development at Reed Smith LLP in Philadelphia.
The Business of Competitive Intelligence
Join presenter Jamie Meeker for four live and interactive
hour-long teaching classes on Oct. 19, Oct. 26, Nov. 2 and
Nov. 16. Throughout the course, Meeker examines com-
petitive intelligence as it applies to the client, the industry, the
process and the product. The course isn’t a comprehensive or
technical discussion on competitive intelligence methodolo-
gies; instead, it’s designed to explain how to help attorneys and
client teams get what they really need to demonstrate that law
trms care about what their clients care about. Meeker will fur-
ther enhance participants’ active learning experience through
approximately eight hours of independent coursework.
Visit www.legalmarketing.org/Education for more in-
formation and registration. ■
Not All KPIs Are Equal
Continued from page 17
and its results. The mapping sentence is a neat way of aligning
legal trm KPIs with each other and the trm’s vision of key
elements of success. ■
Baroudi, R. (2010) KPI Mega Library: 17,000 Key Perfor-
mance Indicators, Richard Baroudi: Scotts Valley, CA.
Paul M.W. Hackett is a professor at Emerson College and a lec-
turer at Tufts University where he teaches research methods. He
has doctorates in psychology and art and has published widely on
consumer behavior/marketing and applied methodology. Hackett is
currently conducting further research into the use of KPI/mapping
sentences as a marketing tool within legal rms. He can be reached
Yulia S. Sovenkova obtained her MBA in management and eco-
nomics in Russia and is currently working on a master’s degree in
integrated marketing communication at Emerson College. She can be
reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or http://www.linkedin.com/in/
Ask the Authorities
My ﬁrm has only two measurements for lawyers —
how much business they bring in and how many
hours they work. Firm leaders won’t support our
efforts that do not appear to produce revenue. How
can I demonstrate, using key performance indicators
(KPIs), that revenue will follow?
First, obtain buy-in from trm leaders to
engage in measuring so you can demonstrate
the value of implementing KPIs. Gathering
the information itself will strengthen the
trm’s knowledge of its clients and potential
clients. It also allows for benchmarking the
progress of some of the 10 core competen-
cies (see Aria Vaida’s article “What Am I Worth?” in this issue
of Strategies) as applied to the trm. Once you have the bench-
mark, it is easy to demonstrate why tracking key performance
indicators makes sense and helps build the trm’s reputation
and revenue over time.
For small and solo law trms, this can be a slow and tedious
process. The marketer is asking for information that usually
has been limited to executive committees and the trm’s ad-
ministrator. Perhaps by starting with areas less sensitive than
the tnancials — for example KPIs for branding, the website
and collateral information — you can create your trst solid
step to show what measuring can accomplish. Then you can
begin to ask for tnancials, billable hours and, as mentioned in
Vaida’s article, the spreadsheet from accounting that will show
trends in revenue coming from individual clients.
Amy Smith, marketing director for ThompsonMcmullan in Rich-
mond, Va., is a co-chair for LMA’s Education Committee and a
member and past president of the Virginias LMA Board. She can be
reached at email@example.com.
Our roles in marketing and business devel-
opment are ultimately to help our trms
generate revenue, so I agree with your trm’s
leadership here; activities that we are en-
gaged in should by detnition generate
revenue, either directly or indirectly.
KPIs are a great way to demonstrate the
value of your enorts. Whether by counting pitches that lead
to new engagements and calculating the revenue those new
engagements garnered or by tracking how many more clients
receive the trm’s communications after you cleanse the data
in your CRM system, measure as much of your business de-
velopment activity as possible.
When trm leadership sees how important KPIs are to
determining which business development activities result
in revenue and how important KPIs are to making in-
formed business decisions, I think they will subscribe to
For example, at a previous trm, my department analyzed
KPIs on RFP enorts. We noted that the trm’s success in win-
ning business from new clients through the RFP process was
much lower than its success rate and revenue generation with
existing clients’ RFPs. While that was not a complete surprise,
KPIs provided us with a data-based approach. As a result, we
took a much harder look at new client RFPs, responding to
fewer and focusing our time, and attorneys’ time, on the more
productive current client relationships.
Lauren Piccolo is a business development manager at Latham &
Watkins LLP, an AmLaw top-ve rm, where she oversees market-
ing and business development for the rm’s largest oce. She can be
reached at Lauren.firstname.lastname@example.org.
Start with one or two projects. Track your
progress and present the tndings to your
partners, clearly outlining the KPIs used and
the resulting ROI.
For example, take a client that falls under
a practice-area initiative. The KPIs you
could use for this project include billings,
client feedback and pitch and proposal requests. Prepare this
information into a short report, clearly explaining any uptick
since the initiative was established. Be sure to outline all the
costs so you can show the true ROI. Also, be sure to factor in
market perspectives and other relevant index values to balance
any external factors that may anect your results. Present this
information in a short email — lawyers love hard data linked
to real-life examples.
Don’t be afraid to ny the nag when you have a BD victory,
just make sure you have the historical information — includ-
ing KPIs used — to back it up. Also be prepared to eliminate
a project if the KPIs consistently fail to meet their targets.
Pallas Knight is practice dev. project manager for litigation at Paul,
Weiss. Knight started her career working for the prime minister of Aus-
tralia and LexisNexis. She can be reached at email@example.com.
Stewart Hirsch, firstname.lastname@example.org or
781-784-5280, produces and edits this column. Conﬁdentially
submit questions for this column to him directly or through Theresa
Wojtalewicz at email@example.com.
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GB1148-small_firm_brand_ad_8_5x11_jt05.indd 1 6/20/11 10:16 AM
By Melissa Ho & Steve Conley
This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2011
tragedy. Like all of us, I remember the events of the day
clearly. Being on West Coast time, events were unfolding on
the East Coast just I was waking up. I had moved with my
husband to Seattle six months earlier to accept a new job at
Cooley Godward and when I arrived at work, I joined my
colleagues in the conference room to watch the television,
stunned by what was happening in New York, Washington
D.C. and Pennsylvania.
In the days that followed, like nearly all Americans, I
watched more television news than I had before or since. I
don’t generally become too emotional about current events
(even tragic ones), but I remember crying as I watched a
young man desperately looking for news of his brother and
telling the reporter, “His name is Anthony, but he goes by
Tony. If people are calling out for Anthony, he might not
know that you mean him, so be looking for Tony.” There
was something so heartbreaking to me about the desperation
and the grasping at straws to tnd lost loved ones. It made
an emotional impression on me that I can still summon to
In the years that followed, I had the opportunity to work with
people who had been directly impacted by Sept. 11. I had
many relatives and college friends living in New York and
along the East Coast, and for many, this event was a turning
point. They began reassessing their priorities and some chose
to relocate. Others didn’t leave Manhattan, but they changed
jobs and made other lifestyle changes with a newfound sense
of urgency and fallibility.
On the anniversary of this date, as I watched a documentary
about the events of that horrible day with my husband and
our 9-year-old daughter, I thought about the healing process
and what it means to recover from tragedy. As I watched the
children of those who died, I was touched by the acceptance
I saw on their faces. Not that they were no longer saddened,
but they had made peace with what happened and with the
indelible mark it left on their lives.
One thing is certain: Healing comes in stages. The beautiful new
9/11 Memorial is, to me, a great symbol of progress on that road
of healing and assimilating that which is unthinkable. ■
Melissa Ho, 425/522-3010, firstname.lastname@example.org
BOULDER, Colo. – Sept. 11, 2011 – I remember wondering
about colleagues in Cooley Godward’s San Francisco omces,
where a trm building in the Financial District stretched
hundreds of feet, at least, higher than the 10-story one I was
in Colorado, a stone’s throw outside Boulder. I wondered
what it would be like to evacuate from higher noors, if nec-
essary, as many people we doing in New York on this date
10 years ago.
It was before Cooley had a New York omce. It was before
we gave detailed thought to exactly what was in our carry-on
bags. It was before I stopped playfully calling my daughter a
terrorist when she was teasing me.
But it was after I’d locked myself in the stairwell of a San
Francisco high-rise, without a key card to get back onto one
of Cooley’s noors. I don’t remember exactly how many noors
I had descended a year or two earlier before arriving at an
unlocked, ground-level door, but glancing out the windows
of my Colorado omce on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, I
knew any steps New Yorkers were taking were terribly more
burdened than mine had been.
I’d been able to laugh at myself. So many in New York
never got that chance again. And so many working on upper
noors in any building on 9/11 must have wondered what it
was like in New York, even before the World Trade Center
The Colorado omce I was in was quiet, of course. The con-
versations brief, sometimes near televisions mounted above
conee bars on either end of the 9th and 10th noors. A Metro
Denver business reporter called, but I think it may have been
the day after the attacks.
I guess, maybe, we’ve always told time that way, before and
after. But that morning was during.
Despite the busy regional airport nearby, I remember the
eerie feeling as I watched tghter jets patrol Colorado’s skies.
There were no other planes. And, it seemed, even birds were
not nying that day.
I remember a day tlled with sadness, and loving thoughts of
family and friends, colleagues and others — real key indicators
to pay attention to and remember. ■
Steve Conley, 303/877-8577, SDConley@Gmail.com.
Mrss:cr rrox +nr Eii+ors
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