Preventing Analysis Paralysis

June 26, 2023

Making data-driven decisions helps firms with everything from identifying growth opportunities to winning cases. At least, that’s how data is supposed to help us. The reality is we’re drowning in data.

Like the mail: it just keeps coming in, day after day, and data overload leads to decision distress. Being presented with too much data slows us down.

Indeed, 89% of business leaders see the growing number of data sources as limiting the success of their organizations. This analysis paralysis can make law firms less productive.

It also contributes to individuals’ mental exhaustion, particularly for lawyers, who experience significantly more burnout and stress than those in other professions. Lawyers don’t need more stress; they’re already under pressure to meet billable-hour targets, deal with difficult clients, handle challenging matters and work long hours.

It’s time to bring these decision dilemmas into the light and help firms identify better ways to navigate the staggering amounts of data we deal with every day. While there’s no easy solution, technology tools are incredibly helpful at sorting through it all.

Using technology can increase efficiencies for the firm and decrease decision fatigue for individuals. Here are some recommendations:

  1. Don’t collect too much data. When facing a decision, decide what data would help make the decision. But before looking for new data, consider whether existing data — and the knowledge and know-how you already have — can help with that decision. Document-automation technology can help firms in this regard because it keeps you from reinventing the wheel. Firms can create templates for generating letters, motions, invoices, and other legal documents. Re-using templates helps you make the most of existing data and saves time by automating routine tasks like billing and invoicing.
  2. Use legal tech tools to help simplify data. Workflow automation tools can help firms with everything from client intake and billing to legal research and practice management. If clients request transparency, for example, consider using legal project management software to give them access to information and materials about their matters. This helps the firm better collaborate with clients and frees up your time because clients can access the information on their own.
  3. Hire employees skilled at data analysis. While leveraging data may be a fairly new concept in the legal industry, law firms can benefit from having data-dedicated staff. Data experts can contribute to a firm’s practice by using analytics such as budget-to-spend, efficiency, and ROI measures. Their expertise in these areas not only drives cost-savings for the firm and for clients, it decreases decision fatigue for individuals throughout the firm.

Easing decision distress and data overload is not just about work-life balance; it’s about the bottom line. By reducing burnout and effectively managing stress, individuals can better focus on serving clients and achieving the firm’s goals.