Metrics to Improve Law Firm Marketing Effectiveness

June 20

Behind all of the powerful tools available to law firm marketers is a mountain of data. Taking this data and combining it with the firm's readily available accounting system information, can give curious lawyers the ability to target marketing more precisely than uninformed competitors.


While not yet mainstream in law firm management, certain metrics have been successfully employed outside of the legal industry long enough to be considered reliable. Adapting these measurements in a legal setting will require some trial and error but can provide the same analytical benefits to law firms.


I first came across the metrics I outline below on HubSpot’s marketing blog (Article Link). Hubspot was kind enough to provide a downloadable e-book, which I adapted to a law firm setting. By implementing a few simple tracking systems and supplementing them with commonly existing marketing cost information, firms can measure their marketing effectiveness over periods of time. The additional tracking systems would include:

  • Creating codes for client development expenses in the firm’s time and billing or accounting systems
  • Having non-billable marketing resources keep time
  • Expanding expense report coding options, or implementing a simple expense reporting App to improve data capture

I understand that many small and midsized firms have limited resources for data collection, but if organized properly, much of the work to collect these data may be accomplished during normal workflows.


4 Insightful Metrics








  Client Acquisition Cost

  Indicates the average cost to obtain a new client

  Time to Payback

  Indicates the amount of time it takes to recover marketing costs

  Marketing Originated Client %

  Indicates the number of new clients obtained directly through marketing

  Marketing Influenced Client %

  Indicates the number of new clients influenced by marketing



The formulas that compute these measurements for a given period are as follows:


Client Acquisition Cost (CAC)


While this is a very broad metric, it does provide an idea of the relationship between marketing spend and new client acquisition over a given period of time. The formula is as follows:


Total new client marketing spend $

______________________________________________________          = CAC   

Total period new clients


To obtain an accurate average CAC, the first challenge will be to identify costs specifically for new client activities, which must be differentiated from existing client maintenance costs.



Time to Payback (TP)


Time to payback may be the simplest and easiest to understand. The formula for calculating time to payback is as follows:  


Client acquisition cost $

________________________________________________                     = TP

Average gross margin $


Average gross margin = Fee collections or billings less timekeeper salaries and benefits.



Marketing Originated Client (MOC) %


New clients resulting from the marketing program

____________________________________________________              = MOC %

Total new clients from all sources  




Marketing Influenced Client (MIC) % =


Total new clients that interacted with marketing

______________________________________________________             = MIC %

Total new clients from all sources  



Adapting measurements from industries that have different business models will take some imagination. As firms continue to implement diverse marketing strategies, advanced methods of determining effectiveness will be necessary. Almost every aspect of the legal market is changing, and firms committed to change with it will continue to prosper.



For those interested in more information about these metrics,

download these helpful examples and analyses. 

Download Examples and Analysis