2018 Winner: Best in Show

First Place – Business of Law

DLA Piper

Strategic Initiative: Predictive Analyticsbest in show image.png


Even the biggest firms can have trouble retaining and growing revenue from clients. DLA Piper was experiencing a loss of revenue due to clients shrinking or going dormant, but the firm didn’t know why. The DLA Piper marketing team hypothesized that the firm could take a big data approach to predict not just who and why those clients were at risk of shrinking or leaving the firm, but also understand what actions could be done to reverse the trend.

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DLA Piper brought in Axiom Consulting Partners to assist in building a predictive-learning model that predicted with 75-80 percent accuracy those clients that will shrink or go dormant in the next year. Using the model, the firm identified 1,200 “at-risk” clients. The model analyzed over 400 variables, and ultimately uncovered 22 variables that were most predictive of why clients leave the firm or begin to shrink. Even more groundbreaking, it was also a prescriptive model in that it identified the actions needed to reverse this trend. The firm next went about implementing a smart, targeted pilot program. The success of the initiative required a culture change within the marketing department in how they approached client development. Marketing focused their efforts on open-minded and interested partners. The firm was then able to begin the very measured and deliberate work needed to introduce the pilot, sustain it in order to drive and measure results, and refine as the pilot progressed.

The pilot resulted in nearly $38 million in new revenue on an annualized basis for DLA Piper. The pilot indicated significant impact to fee growth: A comparison of actual fees collected on an annualized basis from the first four months of 2017 and 2016 showed the prescribed actions taken prevented 85 percent of expected fee loss for at-risk clients. The firm was also able to identify the four actions that would have the most impact on client growth and retention: reducing the size of matter teams and increasing the time spent per team member; introducing one new professional to the relationship; adding one or more industry experts to the team; and, running a focused, relevant marketing initiative for each client. The team also discovered that the more actions that were executed, the better the client growth. When none of these four actions were taken, there was an average of 48 percent revenue loss. When one was taken, revenue increased 14 percent. When two or more were taken, monthly fees went up 20 percent.