Market Research for the Legal Industry

Last week’s guest post examined profitability of lawyer marketing ventures by using a cost-per-case analysis:

Total dollars spent
÷
New clients signed on because of the marketing effort

Another piece of the puzzle is understanding what market research tells us about our potential clientele. But where can we find this information?  Data about demographics, employment, supply, and demand can hard to find – especially in one convenient location.  But thanks to the hard work of Annette Shelton-Tiderman we have a resource!

In her post, Problem Solvers: Offices of Oregon Lawyers, Annette reports on the following topics:

  • Offices of Lawyers Reflect Oregon’s Diverse Population and Geography
  • Supply and Demand: Employment Reflects Changes in the Economy
  • Marshalling Problem-Solving Resources
  • Projected Demand Shows Change and Overall Growth

She includes interesting infographics on the statewide marketplace for legal services, employment growth rates, employment projections, and breakdowns on areas of practice.  Because the report relies in part on the bar’s 2012 Economic Survey, the data is a bit aged, but still helpful.

I first shared this resource three years ago.  Unfortunately, it was relocated on the Employment Department website.  It took some time to dig back up again, thus the repost.  If you’re looking for other ideas on market and economic analysis, read on.

More Resources for Market and Economic Analysis

Lawyer billing practices

Lawyer Demographics – County, Population, Age Group, and Trends

  • OSB 2012 Economic Survey – the main survey includes data on the future plans of survey participants (leaving the practice of law or retiring).  The Addendum has additional demographic data.
  • Learning the Ropes 2016 Program Materials from the Professional Liability Fund.  Locate page 264, “PLF Covered Lawyers — by County, Population and Age Group.”  From the PLF home page, Select CLE > Past CLE and find “Learning the Ropes 2016” in the alphabetical list of Programs.  Click the program link.  On the description page, locate QUICK LINKS (top right of screen).  Select the PROGRAM MATERIALS link.
  • Are you a member of the OSB Lawyer Referral Service (LRS)?  They gather data on supply and demand for all their programs.

Market Research Databases

Economic Forecasting

Occupational data and job listings (including Lawyers)

  • The State of Oregon provides data and occupation profiles on all occupations, including lawyers and legal staff, at this link.   You can also display statewide job listings. Alternatively, start at this location, then select the “Wage Data Tool” in second column under Workforce.  To give you a better idea of how this tool works, here is a snapshot from a recent search:

wage20tool

As you can see, it is possible to print a full report, custom report, or summary.  If you want to find career pathways, wage range data, or occupations with similar skills just be sure the appropriate boxes are checked.

Postscript

The Oregon Employment Department’s Web site is a helpful resource for businesses researching economic data, business indicators, and other information. There are 13 workforce analysts spread across the state who are responsible for assisting businesses with needed labor market information. This can include the demographics of a neighborhood – very helpful when a business is looking to relocate or expand. The Employment Department also tracks education levels, income, population data, and maintains a database for occupational and wage-related information that is easily accessed via its website. Services provided by workforce analysts are paid for by business taxes.  There is no additional cost to access their expertise.

All Rights Reserved Beverly Michaelis 2017

Employment Practices for Lawyers – Avoiding Trouble at Termination

Last week I shared the top tweets for hiring staff from our May 28, 2015 seminar, Employment Practices for Lawyers. This week we turn to avoiding trouble at termination.  Here are just a few of the tips our speaker shared.  All the tweets from the CLE can be viewed on Storify.

disability

absenteeismflsa

Read all the tweets here. Oregon lawyers may order the CLE free of charge on the PLF website, http://www.osbplf.org.  Select CLE > Past, then Employment Practices for Lawyers: Hiring with Confidence and Avoiding Trouble at Termination.

All Rights Reserved [2015] Beverly Michaelis

Employment Practices for Lawyers – Hiring with Confidence

Hiring staff can be an intimidating process – whether you are a new or seasoned employer.  Avoid the pitfalls by reading the top tweets cultivated on Storify from our
May 28, 2015 CLE, Employment Practices for Lawyers: Hiring with Confidence and Avoiding Trouble at Termination.  Here are few representative tweets from the presentation:

2015-05-28_20-07-022015-05-28_20-07-112015-05-28_20-07-35

Read all the tweets here.  Oregon lawyers may order the CLE free of charge on the PLF website, http://www.osbplf.org.  Select CLE > Past, then Employment Practices for Lawyers: Hiring with Confidence and Avoiding Trouble at Termination.

All Rights Reserved [2015] Beverly Michaelis

The State of Oregon’s Legal Industry

Where can we learn about the state of Oregon’s legal industry?  Data about demographics, employment, supply, and demand can hard to find – especially in one convenient location.  Now a new resource is available, thanks to the hard work of Annette Shelton-Tiderman.

In her post, Problem Solvers: Offices of Oregon Lawyers, Annette reports on the following topics:

  • Offices of Lawyers Reflect Oregon’s Diverse Population and Geography
  • Supply and Demand: Employment Reflects Changes in the Economy
  • Marshalling Problem-Solving Resources
  • Projected Demand Shows Change and Overall Growth

She includes interesting infographics on the statewide marketplace for legal services, employment growth rates, employment projections, and breakdowns on areas of practice.  An interesting read and informative resource. Thank you Annette!

Postscript

The Oregon Employment Department’s Web site is a helpful resource for businesses researching economic data, business indicators, and other information. There are 13 workforce analysts spread across the state who are responsible for assisting businesses with needed labor market information. This can include the demographics of a neighborhood – very helpful when a business is looking to relocate or expand. The Employment Department also tracks education levels, income, population data, and maintains a database for occupational and wage-related information that is easily accessed via its Web site.  Services provided by workforce analysts are paid for by business taxes.  There is no additional cost to access their expertise.

How to Delegate Successfully

If you belong to the “do it yourself” school, believe that you can’t afford to delegate, or have no faith that those reporting to you can do the job, please read this recent post from Tips for Lawyers. Here is an excerpt:

How To Delegate Properly (and to be delegated to)

First, identify the task with enough precision. Sometimes greater detail will be needed than others, and sometimes the task will be wishy washy. But either way, ensure that the junior knows exactly what is expected of them.

Set a realistic deadline, after speaking with your intended junior. This involves ensuring that your own time to review or settle the product is included, and you have provided a time by which the junior staff member must bring their draft (or results, or whatever) to you.

Identify how long, in real time, you think it should take. For example “the research shouldn’t take you more than 2 hours, and then 1 further hour to put together the draft letter”. Ensure that the junior comes back to you if those estimates are turning out to be impossible. This avoids two problems:

First, time getting written off because it took longer than you thought;
Estimates provided to the client being inaccurate.

Somebody take notes of the discussion (guess what – this will be you, junior lawyer).

Don’t call it urgent if it’s not. OK this is a bit of a pet peeve, but some seem to think that they will jump to the top of the priority list by calling everything they do “really urgent”. The task is then completed (at the cost of the other tasks that had to be set to one side) and then not looked at for two days. If it’s urgent, that’s fine – but don’t be the “boy who cried wolf” on this one, or people will just start ignoring you…

Make sure you have an open door policy in case the task requires clarification. Point ‘n’ shoot doesn’t work in the law – often complex tasks develop while being undertaken, and so more information might be needed or clarification of the intended path might be required.

Finally, ensure you provide enough facts. I have seen time and time again a wonderful task be completed and then the senior lawyer say “oh but X doesn’t apply because Y and Z are applicable to this one”. Was that a great exercise in how to waste somebody’s time and the client’s money? Yes. Was it good delegation? No. Providing sufficient context to a task also allows the junior lawyer to understand the real world impact of their task, which will often provide motivation and build a better team mentality.

All Rights Reserved – Beverly Michaelis [2014]