Waking the Giant: Peter Zeughauser on Data Analytics and the Future of Legal Marketing

By Roy Sexton, Senior Vice President, Corporate Affairs, Trott Law, P.C. and Robin Iori, Iori Communications

The phrase “big data” has become as ubiquitous in the legal marketing profession as it is confounding. There is such potential to mine and craft analysis and reporting to maximize our value, yet the business literacy required to speak the outcomes-based language of so many of our clients can be daunting. It requires a different set of mental muscles than we may be accustomed to using.

Data analytics is used in many industries to allow companies and organizations to make better business decisions and in the sciences to verify or disprove existing models or theories. For the legal industry, data analytics is a relatively new concept, and it’s getting lots of attention as more law firm marketers understand what it is and how it can help them.

To better position us all for innovation (not to mention prognostication), LMA Chicago is hosting a lunchtime session "What does the use of data analytics mean for the future of legal marketing?” from noon to 1:30 pm on Thursday, April 2 at the Union League Club.

Peter Zeughauser will be leading the discussion. As founder of the Zeughauser Group (https://www.consultzg.com/), “Peter Zeughauser is one of the legal industry's premier strategists and management consultants. A broadly skilled consultant, he counsels leaders of top-ranked global, international, national, regional, and specialty firms on the challenges and opportunities they face in an increasingly competitive industry as a result of the internationalization, consolidation, and segmentation of the market for legal services. He specializes in management consulting, law firm mergers and combinations, and strategic growth planning at the firm-wide, departmental, practice group, sector, and office level.”

At the April 2 session, he will share his views on what data analytics means for the profession as well as encourage those attending to ask themselves what they could do with this tool. Peter launched his consulting practice in 1995. The keen legal acumen he brings to Zeughauser Group clients is a product of nearly twenty years of consulting and twenty years of legal practice, including over a decade as senior vice president and general counsel of The Irvine Company. Under his leadership, the company's legal department was ranked in a 1995 National Law Journal survey as one of the country's top ten and cited for being in the vanguard of a powerful client-led legal industry reform movement.

In his white paper “Letting the Big Fish Get Away,” Zeughauser elaborates on the strategic advantages proper reporting, insightful analysis, and outcomes accountability can provide a global law firm … and he accentuates the perils of ignoring this game-changing industry development. He writes, “Could it be that Big Law is actually losing ground, operating less and less like today’s big businesses? The answer is a resounding ‘yes.’ I’m not talking about the idea, already posited by many, that technology will make much of what Big Law does a commodity. There is certainly ample evidence of that. Instead, what I’m talking about is the failure of law firms to keep up with ongoing change in the very business model on which the world’s most successful companies are built. Big Law’s challenge now is whether it can survive and prosper in an era in which Big Data, and specifically, data analytics, is king.”

Peter is always on the cutting edge of developments in legal marketing. His interest in the use of data analytics confirms its significance as an area prime for marketers to learn more about.

Don’t miss what is sure to be a provocative and engaging discussion as Zeughauser offers his guidance on predictive decision-making, correlating public and proprietary data, evaluating the client data value proposition, and creating opportunities not just to broadcast but to invite client insight.

Zeughauser sums up the opportunities and the challenges, “When it comes to Big Data, Big Law is asleep. Waking the giant won’t be easy. But unless it awakens and successfully mines the trove of data available to it on public and private clouds, somebody else will. The strategy is clear: First, better serve and satisfy clients by correlating data at hand with data collected from them to discern what they want, like, need and will buy. Then, analyze the data and develop and execute strategies to provide higher-quality, better, more predictable results, and higher levels of service more efficiently. The power of Big Data can drive Big Law’s survival and success. Big Law’s choice is to embrace it and thrive, or fall prey to someone else who does.”

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