Law firms and legal teams should harness data
29 May 2023
Law firms and legal teams should harness data to better serve their business and clients. This was one of the key takeaways from one of the discussions held during the 2023 INTA Annual Meeting Live+ from May 16 to 20, 2023, at the Sands Expo and Convention Centre in Singapore.
Titled “IP and Innovation: Future Proofing Your Business in the Digital World,” the session was held on the last day and featured the following speakers: Kevin Hartley, CEO of Trust Tree in Nashville; Mark Jansen, a partner at Fenwick & West in New York; Kathryn Szymczyk, global senior business development manager of IP at Gowling in Canada; and Lewis Whiting, co-founder and CEO of iaidō in the U.K.
According to Hartley, using data allows them to understand what the best approach and opportunities are for their firm. In addition, data helps project revenue. Sharing a conversation he had with the chief financial officer of a large law firm, he related that he asked the CFO how he projects his firm’s revenue. The CFO answered that their firm has a lot of data, especially in the IP space.
Quoting the CFO, Hartley said: “For example, you manage a portfolio of thousands of trademarks, which have to be maintained. You charge a fee to maintain that mark. You can start seeing that every mark in the portfolio on an annual basis has this value based on what we charge for maintenance. And then, with big numbers, you can start doing the math and really understanding the value of every mark and every registration in your portfolio. Then, when you have that information, you can actually predict what your revenue looks like. And you can start honing on, ‘Ok, maintenance. That’s where there is an opportunity for growth. Or we need to focus on getting more filings.’ It can drive your decision-making.”
Data is also critical from a staffing perspective, helping ensure that the firm has a high-performing team.
“There are still firms that rely on people to do the data input. We like people to do what they do best,” said Jansen. “Let the lawyers practice.”
He added: “There are all kinds of great platforms that exist out there. There’s got to be a better way to visualize information, organize the data and deliver it in real-time to our clients. We ended up building a system to basically push this data to our clients. A lot of that data helps clients make decisions.”
For their firm, Szymczyk said they are using IP Pilot, a trademark analytics software. “We find it really useful because you are able to access data from all of the various IP offices from around the world, and you can see to the point of a particular city, in a particular country, who are the top filers there. It’s based on that that you should be creating a business development strategy,” she explained.
Whiting shared that their mission is to use data that the rest of the business is using to drive their functions. Legal teams should start considering data that marketing teams, advertising teams and supply chain management teams, to name a few, have been using – and use that data to drive better decision-making around the management of brands. Whiting also added that this could lead to multiple benefits, such as an increase in value, reduction of risk and many others.
“Twenty years ago, social media did not exist, and ecommerce did not really exist. Those two things alone created masses of data,” said Whiting.
Serving as moderator during the discussion was Orietta Blanco, managing partner of MINIÑO Abogados, a law firm in the Dominican Republic.
- Espie Angelica A. de Leon