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Practice Innovations: The Rise of Next Generation CI

Practice Innovations” is a quarterly, online newsletter that examines best practices and innovations in law firm information and knowledge management with an eye toward better management strategies in the face of a changing legal environment.

The results are in: law firms with highly effective competitive intelligence (CI) functions perform better, over time than their peers, according to a study jointly produced by Acritas and The Tilt Institute. Not only do the firms with top ratings enjoy faster revenue increases, their profitability — by virtually any measure — grew up to 53% more than peers with less effective CI functions. The secret to their success: the most effective CI teams are centralized, possess a keen ability to connect the dots, include well-trained CI analysts and, perhaps most critically, spend more time on strategic activities — those that help to shape the direction and future of the firm — than tactical (e.g., preparation for a client lunch or pitch). Last year, The Tilt Institute teamed up with market research leader Acritas to produce a report, The Evolution of Competitive Intelligence in Law Firms, delineating the role and status of competitive intelligence in the world’s largest law firms. At the time, the statistics were a bit grim. Though more than 80% of law firms had resources dedicated to CI, only 52% had a dedicated, formal function. Law firm leaders rated the effectiveness of their CI functions a 6.4 on a scale of 10 (with 10 being highly effective), and common words to describe the CI capabilities included “Basic” and “Reactive.” The bright spots, however, were evident. Law firm leaders were aware of their nascency and ready to change the status quo. More than three-quarters of firms planned to make changes in 2018 to improve their CI function and 1-in-3 specifically planned to add resources…”

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