In late 2004, I predicted that business intelligence software would play an increasingly important role in large law firm management. An article in the Toronto Globe and Mail illustrates the value of BI software. 

Lawyers work on taking care of business (May 2, 2005) discusses how several law firms have used BI software. Fasken Martineau used it to identify prospects for an office in a new city; Bryan Cave used it to set a bid to win business in a competitive situation.

Though the article does not identify the software used by Fasken, I suspect it is Thomson Elite’s new Firm360, described in pre-release blog post by Larry Bodine:

“Firm360 searches the West law database of reported cases that have already been decided, so that marketers get client intelligence, market intelligence, geographic information, competitive intelligence and legal trends. This would be used in strategic planning for new practice areas, industries, offices, rates, trends and financial goals and lateral hires.”

It will be interesting to see what Firm360 does once officially released (the web site does not reveal much).

Business intelligence software is likely to be driven by finance or marketing needs but law firm technology managers will need to understand its importance, how to integrate it into existing systems, and how to support it.