Yesterday I suggested that improving the process of assigning associates could improve partner profits. In fact, Bryan Cave, with its deep commitment to business intelligence, appears to have done so. 

I asked John Alber, the firm’s technology partner and author of several recent excellent articles on BI, to comment on my prior blog post. John wrote:

At Bryan Cave, we’ve developed an ‘availability’ application that helps lawyers who are staffing a new matter find available associates and counsel. Every Monday, an automated form goes out to associates and counsel, who use it to declare their availability as none, limited, or general. They can also add comments to qualify their declarations.

Lawyers who need to staff engagements use a Google-like advanced search feature to find available lawyers. They can sort results by various criteria and view individual comments about availability.

After more than a year of use, our leverage is up markedly. Certainly the business climate contributes to that, but our increase outstrips anything we’ve seen during prior upturns. I think the availability application and our new Financial Dashboard (which reveals the benefits of leverage to responsible lawyers) have contributed. We are now doing regression analyses [a statistical method for confirming relationships] to confirm this finding.