Vilfredo Pareto’s brilliant insight, known as the “80/20 Rule,” should inform our choice of actions. Assume, for example, that 20 percent of all law department activities account for 80 percent of the value to our clients. Which activities are they? We should apply our shoulder to the wheel of the valued activities and let the rest lie fallow. When we give advice, boil down our stable of issues to the few stallions that race well 80 percent of the time. If 20 percent of our clients are likely to account for 80 percent of our services, we should make more efforts to please them than the other clients (perhaps) or figure out some systems to help them. If the total spent on 80 percent of the firms we retain is less than the total spent on the other 20 percent, negotiate with them alternative billing arrangements and other progressive management steps.
Thus, with many aspects of law department management we can see applications of this famous heuristic.