Time to talk analytics – Part 2
In our last installment on this topic, we discussed the challenges faced by claims management leaders and their defense counsel when it comes to gathering, sharing and utilizing litigation metrics. As critical to performance improvement as metrics and data are, both groups of participants in the litigation defense community (claims organizations and counsel) struggle with capturing key data points that measure true performance.
We suggested that current litigation analytics are too invoice-centric. As such, they derive significant information about case efficiency and cost but little when it comes to case outcome, process compliance, predictive accuracy and case milestones.
We offered up a series of data points that contain crucial information about performance. These included:
- What was the case outcome?
- How much did the case resolve for?
- How accurate were counsel’s predictions of resolution amount? How early were these predictions made?
- What was the attorney’s success with dispositive motions?
- How long did it take to get to settlement discussions?
- How timely was the attorney in terms of executing key milestones in the litigation strategy?
- How well did the attorney do with this type of case against a specific plaintiff attorney or in a specific venue?
In making our case about these and other non-invoice related data points, we isolated two critical reasons why capturing this data is so difficult. We also promised to explain our thinking in greater detail, which we’ve done below.
The first reason that capturing these data elements is so difficult, in our view, is that current processes for gathering information from counsel are so highly inefficient. At the core, these processes produce volumes and volumes of unstructured data, and this makes it impossible to use the data effectively on any kind of scale.
Who knows more about these cases than defense counsel? Probably no one. They know what has happened, what will happen and what should happen in the case. They know who the parties are, what the next steps in discovery are, who the Judge is, how many depositions are going to be taken, whether a dispositive motion has any chance of success, what the liability feels like and what the case might be worth. The list of data elements they know is a long one!
Ironically, in today’s world, defense counsel dutifully reports all of this information to the claims organization—a responsibility they’re more than capable of handling. But they’re asked to convey each data point in the worst way possible from a data analytics perspective, where each data element is buried in reports, letters and emails.
Technology has gotten pretty good about taking this unstructured data (like the email or the report) and attaching it to the right claims file in a claims system. But, from an analytics standpoint, those important data elements remain right there, completely unstructured and not usable from a metrics perspective. (Unless that is, some poor hapless claims professional, who has nothing but time on their hands, decides to laboriously pick out certain data elements and rekey them into a litigation screen or some database).
The second reason wide-ranging litigation performance metrics are so difficult to obtain as a claims organization is that counsel and the claims organization are using disparate systems.
Counsel certainly doesn’t want claims professionals in their firm-based case management system. Similarly, claims executives shudder at the thought of counsel coming into their claims system of record.
These systems can’t really talk to one another. If they could, the sought-after data elements might just be passed from firm system to claims system. And so, as a result, claim organizations are left with the data within their e-billing systems, some unstructured data in reports and emails and notes, and some policy and pre-litigation claim information. It’s hard not to gravitate back to invoice-centric analytics when forced to navigate these types of complexities.
Our view of the future
Our view of the future directly addresses both of these obstacles that are hindering access to good metrics. More specifically, our vision is two-fold:
First, we minimize unstructured data from counsel. Think about the elements that you currently ask counsel for now: What’s the case worth? When is the plaintiff getting deposed? Who’s the judge? Does the plaintiff make a good witness? What’s should happen next in the case? What was the last demand? The last offer?
But, imagine asking counsel to not put all that information in an unstructured report or email. Instead, you ask them to fill out different data fields in an easy-to-use and well-organized platform. It turns out that is faster for them, the information they provide is more easily accessible for claims professionals, and most importantly, it produces actionable metrics that tell a far more interesting story than a legal invoice can.
Second, consider the impact of the platform you ask counsel to put these data elements into, (in lieu of traditional reports, not in addition to!) being a shared space between counsel and the claims professional. We call this a unified platform. Everything that a claims handler and outside counsel would normally do by email or report or external communication, happens right there in a shared platform.
By putting that data into specific fields, it becomes structured. All the key components of a case are structured as identifiable, reportable and searchable data fields. Additionally, if your specified case workflow, necessary tasks and milestones were all time-stamped fields, you would improve your control over and vision into your process. You would also open up a plethora of data-rich analytics for better understanding of case outcomes, the time it takes to close and move through milestones, settlement negotiations, and much more.
What comes out of a system like that? Dashboards. Macro performance reports. Micro performance data. A clearer picture of how a litigation program is performing. Much more comprehensive litigation performance metrics for both counsel and claims professionals.
What else happens when you deploy a unified platform? More collaboration. Better alignment of case strategy between the claims organization and counsel. Stronger budgeting. Improved legal invoice review processes. A stronger focus on earlier case resolution. Reduced cycle times. Better indemnity outcomes.
And, of course, a system to measure all those improvements!
We hope this discussion of litigation analytics is helpful to you, or at least intriguing. Please let us know.