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Business intelligence software in 2005 that figures out fixed-fee amounts?

The 2005 issue of Robert Half Legal’s Future Law Office report, “Client Service: Challenges and Strategies,” at 9, cites a Canadian article on business intelligence software (BI software) used by law firms. The article says “many law firms are adopting business intelligence software to run their practices and identify new revenue opportunities.” In the listing that follows of BI software’s data-mining powers for law firms, the final sentence packs a wallop.

“In addition, some systems can be used to generate fixed-fee quotes when clients ask for bids.” The referenced article is by Beppi Crosariol, “Lawyers Work on Taking Care of Business,” The Globe and Mail, May 2, 2005. I could not find the article without payment to the Globe and Mail, but I am deeply curious about business intelligence software for law firms that purports to examine time and billing data and construct a plausible fixed fee. That would be an impressive feat!

It is now four years after that article. If the capabilities were on offer then, how have they morphed and improved?

Why can’t a law department apply such software to its accumulated invoice data and reverse engineer fixed fees (See my post of Feb. 19, 2007: data mining; Feb. 17, 2008: software for data mining; Jan. 25, 2007: BI software; and May 17, 2006: software for “legal business intelligence”.).