The business of law hinges on successful business development efforts. To run a successful legal business, whether it’s a traditional law firm, litigation support company, or even a legal tech startup, access to accurate data is critical for business development and fundamental for streamlining basic processes.
Court data contains a treasure trove of information that legal professionals can leverage for business development purposes. When business development teams access reliable, structured court data, they can automate the process of generating new leads and opportunities. This not only saves them time, but also creates a targeted approach that increases the productivity and efficacy of sales efforts within legal businesses.
In this article, we will discuss how legal professionals are already using court data to enhance business development efforts within both law firms and litigation support companies. We will also detail the ways that business development teams can automate the process of finding new leads by taking full advantage of cutting-edge legal technologies.
Automating Lead Generation
Business development professionals committed to garnering new leads benefit from automating lead generation through automated search tools. At its core, an automated search allows pulling all newly filed cases (or for a specific time frame) for a particular practice area or involving certain clients by inputting search terms or triggers. The search engine will then automatically run on a daily basis and generate new search results.
The benefits of using this approach go beyond the obvious of saving time and cutting back on the law firm staff needed to manually search for relevant data points and generate new leads. Reducing, or altogether eliminating, the labor required to collect leads also cuts back on the human error that inevitably stems from manual searches through government websites and databases. Certain technology solutions also apply normalization techniques to enhance search results. This means their automated searches include added possible variants for names or search terms that would otherwise fall through the cracks.
Consider the example of a UniCourt customer: a nationwide court reporting company interested in expanding their business through finding new top tier law firm clients. A business development professional within the court reporting company can set up an automated search for a law firm they’re targeting and receive daily notifications for new lawsuits involving that law firm. As soon as they receive a notification that the law firm is involved in a new lawsuit, the business development professional can then directly market to the specific attorney handling the case.
Staying Up to Date
In addition to producing leads and opportunities from new clients, automated searches can also help business development teams generate leads for their existing and prior clients. Specifically, business development teams can plug an existing or prior client’s information into an automated search and receive notifications when that client becomes involved in new lawsuits. This also helps law firms and litigation support companies stay up to date on the important cases impacting their clients.
Many of these search features are nuanced enough that users can search specifically for whether the client is a defendant or a plaintiff in a case, the specific case type, and the jurisdiction. As such, business development professionals can receive not just a mass of leads regarding their existing or prior clients but can qualify their leads to locate cases that fit their service offerings and skill sets. Court data arms business development professionals with a higher quality of leads.
Leveraging CRM Solutions
Collecting accurate data is important, but business development teams need to take this a step further: using a customer relationship management (CRM) solution to ensure they are making the most of their leads. While there are countless options available, the key is to combine data with a vehicle for making use of it. The antiquated tactic of using a spreadsheet to track new leads - or to stay knowledgeable of existing clients’ involvement in litigation - will not provide the same results as a tool specifically designed to manage client relationships.
Using tools like APIs (application programming interfaces) law firms and businesses can pipe structured datasets directly in to their CRM, automating lead generation and the sales process from end to end and saving countless hours of data entry. Developing a system that sorts and categorizes client information, while updating business development teams when important updates occur in cases affecting top clients, ensures that they will constantly keep their fingers on the pulse of critical developments affecting profitability.
Building the Right Approach
Developing an automated approach to proactively gather useful data requires having the right tools available. Along with a user-friendly search feature, the right technology can also provide powerful tracking features, automated searches, and APIs. Combining these tools can tremendously increase the chances of knowing when relevant cases become available - and with the right CRM, business development teams can use this data to their advantage.
Whether seeking new clients or finding ways to farm more business from existing clients, court data offers a window of opportunity to greatly increase business development efforts. By automating certain processes in finding new leads, law firms and litigation support companies can enhance their efforts, while saving considerable time, labor, and overhead.
About the Author
Josh Blandi is the CEO and Co-Founder of UniCourt, a SaaS offering using machine learning to disrupt the way court records are organized, accessed, and used. UniCourt provides Legal Data as a Service (LDaaS) via our APIs to AmLaw 50 firms and Fortune 500 businesses for accessing normalized court data for business development and intelligence, analytics, machine learning models, process automation, background checks, investigations, and underwriting.