Above the Law The Legal Tech-To-English Dictionary: KPIs And Reporting Tools

Ed. note: This is the latest installment of The Legal Tech-to-English Dictionary, part of our Non-Event for Tech-Perplexed Lawyers. Jared Correia is the host of the Non-Eventcast.

There’s a term for when attorneys use Latin and other arcane languages to describe legal processes to consumers: “legalese.”

But there’s no similar term for when vendors use technical and other arcane languages to describe their legal software operations to lawyers.

True, this dynamic may seem unfair. But now we have The Legal Tech-to-English Dictionary to help us cope.

Read on for the latest installment, where we translate KPI-related topics to plain English. And for an upgrade to your workflow, download our free Buyers Guide at the bottom of this form, or visit the Non-Event for more!


  1. Key performance indicator.A singular metric that broadly defines a law firm’s capability in a specific area.
  2. A performance measure used to judge the success of a business in a specific category.

Lawyer 1: Here’s a KPI for you, James — # of gin and tonics consumed at this office party.

Lawyer 1: A FUCKING LOT.

Employee Turnover Rate

  1. The rate at which employees leave a business over a defined period of time.
  2. The percentage of employees who bake turnovers over a defined period of time.

New Law Firm Hire: What kind of training resources do you offer for new employees?

Above the Law  The Legal Tech-To-English Dictionary: KPIs And Reporting Tools


Law Firm Employee: HAHAHA

New Law Firm Hire: Um . . .

Law Firm Employee: Hang on a second . . .

Law Firm Employee: HAHAHAHA

Law Firm Employee: HA!!

Cf. An October 2020 study indicating that law firms lose 15 associates for every 20 they hire. It may not actually be that high, but law firms are notorious for treating associates and staff poorly.

Cf. With the needs of millennial employees coming into focus, it’s more important than ever that law firms begin to shift how they present themselves to job candidates.

Utilization Rate

  1. The amount of time, on any given day, that a lawyer bills.
  2. The amount of a lawyer’s available time that is converted to billable work, expressed as a percentage.

Managing Partner: Utilization, what?

Managing Partner: Oh, you mean like John Stuart Mill?

Managing Partner: Well, it’s a little early for philosophy.I usually don’t do this until after 2 p.m.But, I’ll make an exception.

Managing Partner: Grab a chair, and we’ll get right into ‘An Examination of Sir William Hamilton’s Philosophy.’

Cf. The 2019 Clio Legal Trends Report, indicating that utilization rate, as an expression of efficiency, may be the most important metric for determining law firm revenue.

Cf. Additional revenue metrics, including realization rate and collection rate, are similarly valuable to law firms.


  1. The condition of being see-through.
  2. The condition of being easy to perceive or detect.
  3. The regime by which law firms offer insight into business management processes and financial information to employees.

Cf. The importance of buy-in from employees within law firms, which is aided by a transparent posture from law firm owners.

Net Promoter Score

  1. A KPI measuring the willingness of a law firm’s customers to recommend its services.
  2. A calculation arrived at by asking a law firm’s customers to rate whether they would recommend the law firm on a scale of 1 to 10.‘Promoters’ rate the law firm on a scale of 9 to 10.‘Passives’ rate the law firm on a scale of 7 to 8.‘Detractors’ rate the law firm at or below 6.The ‘NPS Score’ is arrived at by subtracting the percentage of detractors from the percentage of promoters.The higher the score, the better.

Lawyer 1: No, we got rid of the nets several years ago.

Lawyer 1: If it helps, I have this Taser. But, you may need to charge the battery.

Cf. The 2018 Clio Legal Trends Report, indicating that the average law firm NPS score is right around that of airlines. So, not good.

Jared Correia, a consultant and legal technology expert, is the host of the Non-Eventcast, the featured podcast of the Above the Law Non-Event for Tech-Perplexed Lawyers.

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