This is the first in a series of three blog posts on Law Firms and Data Storytelling.

Data is king these days, and it’s a huge part of the stories we tell ourselves, as well as the stories we tell others who are trying to learn more about us. What data do our law firms currently collect, and what does that data tell us about ourselves? What does it tell clients, competitors, or hiring prospects? Should law firms consider collecting other additional data, and perhaps, telling a different story?

The popular marketing metrics that apply are threefold: Explain. Enlighten. Engage. Data can help us explain, and visual charts or diagrams can help us enlighten, but we ultimately want to engage our audience, in order to create real change. How do we create that engagement? I believe that mindfulness and meditation can play an important role in that process.

Three seems to be the magic number, so I’m going to deviate from my standard practice of writing only one post about a particular topic, and make this a three-part piece about mindfulness/meditation, and data storytelling. Hang in there with me — it’s important stuff!

It’s well-documented in scientific and academic studies that people look at statistics (data) but they feel and respond to stories. People tend to make decisions based upon emotion, not on logic. So, first, let’s examine the kinds of data our law firms currently collect — see what they’re looking at. Then, second, let’s examine the stories that data tells us about ourselves, and the stories it tells others–stories that inform others’ feelings or emotions.

Historically, the data most law firms have collected have been performance-related, internal-facing, and easily measured: Time (hours billed) and money (collections/expenses). That data is no doubt helpful for those managing the firm, but it’s not exactly helpful for others who may want to learn about the firm, especially since that data is not generally publicly available.

In order to tell more engaging stories about our law firms and thereby elevate the public perception of lawyers, law firms, and the legal profession in general, we need to begin telling stories that make our profession more human.

The data that most law firms collect may help managers to manage, but they do not provide any information that can help clients, competitors, or talent recruits understand anything about the firm, from the outside-looking-in. That is to say, the data most law firms collect may be privately helpful for managers, but the data do not help lawyers and law firms tell their story to others. As a result, most publicly available promotional pieces about lawyers and law firms are devoid of humanity.

Which leads me back to mindfulness and meditation—both of which can help us get in closer touch with the humanity of lawyers and law firms. Sound like just another tree-hugging solution to a “real word” business problem? Stay tuned, for the next post!

A version of this post was previously by the Mindful Law Group. You may view the original post here

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