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Top Insights We Gathered from Our Clients this Past Year

During 2022, Calibrate conducted more than 70 recruiting, talent management, operational excellence, and leadership advisory projects with law firms across North America. Through these projects we learned a lot about the issues and pressures facing law firms, and how business services teams are responding. Here we have consolidated four of the top insights we learned from our clients, together with suggestions for responding to these themes in 2023. 

1. Data is now driving Strategic AND Tactical decisions

Connecting all the firm’s data – financial, client, marketing, talent – is now a “need to have” rather than a “nice to have”. This is much bigger than dashboards: data warehouses, AI, statistical analysis, integrations, and more are now being leveraged.

However, even firms who have access to integrated, accurate data sometimes have trouble extracting actionable insights from it. To that end, data analysis and visualization skills are becoming essential.


  • What are the firm’s/practice’s goals for next year, and what data do we have that can help us contribute to these goals?
  • Do we have data analysis skills on our team – or can we access them in other business services teams?
  • Do we know how to tell stories using data?


Find out if your firm is investing in a Master Data Strategy. If so, get your team on the Steering Committee for this project. If not, start advocating for this investment.

2. Properly aligned infrastructure is the new cornerstone for successful teams. 

The most successful teams follow standard processes for their most frequently requested deliverables. They organize the work to make it as simple as possible for internal clients to access their services. Some create formal services standards and Service Level Agreements to remove ambiguity. As well, they treat the IT organization as a business partner, rather than a project resource.  


  • Are our current processes documented and easily repeatable? 
  • Are there tools in the market to assist us with our work intake process? 
  • How can the IT team help us in aligning our infrastructure and business processes? 


Workflow management can prevent a lot of mistakes and headaches. Consider investing in a formal work intake system, especially if your projects require collaboration across different teams. 

3. Invest in Change Management, or don’t invest at all. 

Far too often, we hear that a law firm’s investment in technology is underperforming because “Attorneys won’t use it.” Typically, the root cause is lack of attention to change management. New systems always require users to change their behavior – even when the change is for the better, users will always resist. Managing user adoption is essential. 


  • Do we have change management expertise available to us in the firm? If not, can we source it externally? 
  • Are there specific personas (partner, IT, Library, etc.) that need to be included in our next big system/process implementation? 


For your next big project, ensure that a specific Change Management workstream is built into the overall project plan.

4. Business literacy is now a core expectation.

Conventional wisdom suggests that attorneys want their marketers to be compliant order takers. However, virtually every attorney we interviewed during 2022 said that they would welcome more strategic advice from their marketing/BD team.  Also, the #1 concern we heard from attorneys was “Marketing doesn’t understand what I do.”  

So, the door is open – but know that attorneys expect you to know their field and communicate in their language to be viewed as a strategic professional. Marketers who can do this are on their way to getting that long-desired “seat at the table”. 


  • Do we understand how the firm and each practice group makes money?   
  • What professional development programs could increase our business literacy? 
  • Do we know enough about the day-to-day work of our attorneys to empathize with them?   


When in doubt, act like a strategist. Understand your internal client’s business, do your research, and bring ideas forward.

Jennifer Johnson
Let’s Connect

If you are interested in learning more about how Calibrate can help optimize your firm’s marketing operations, let’s connect! We’d love to partner with you.