A Data-Driven Report on the Evolving Legal Industry

The legal industry is not particularly used to rapid change, nor is it familiar with sudden disruption. And admittedly, it’s been one of the last fortresses of old to feel the impact of modern technology. But times, yes, they are changing—and legal is no longer immune to the implications.

Clio, a Canadian company offering legal case and practice management software for laywers, has released the inaugural Legal Trends Report, which CEO Jack Newton descrives as “the first ever data-driven report on the legal industry,” aimed at helping lawyers understand how the legal profession is evolving and how they can make better business decisions.

“Data insights can transform industries,” explains Clio. “For years, businesses in the manufacturing, healthcare, and finance sectors have been leveraging big data to make better business decisions, but the legal profession has not had the same opportunity. Until now.”

“You can think about the legal trends report as a State of the Union for the legal profession,” Newton said.

According to the Clio Billable Hour Index, the average rate billed by lawyers across the United States is $232 per hour. The total utilization rate (billable hours as a proportion of hours available in a working day) for lawyers in 2015 was 28 percent. For solo lawyers, that number drops to 22 percent, but there’s a noticeable increase in efficiency for firms that have more lawyers, with a plateau around five to nine attorneys.

The total 2015 realization rate (actual hours billed as a proportion of actual billable hours worked) came in at 81 percent, according to the report, while the total 2015 collection rate (actual revenue proportional to hours billed) was 86 percent.

The Legal Trends Report is generated using aggregate, anonymized data from Clio.