Data You Should Know About Your Pro Bono Program — Part 1.

What you should be reporting on, and how Paladin can help!

During such tumultuous times, access to real-time, data-driven insight into what’s happening across a pro bono program is essential in tailoring a program for maximum impact.

As we wrap Part 1 of a reporting dashboard design sprint, a few key themes have emerged around employee engagement that we hope will be useful to consider, below. Part 2, to be tackled in Q1, will focus on capturing and measuring impact across a variety of metrics.

1. Utilization — or, touch points

While it may sometimes seem like attorneys are not engaged with pro bono because they aren’t taking on new cases, our data on email digest open and click rates, preference areas set, and pro bono database searches, shows us that pro bono is still top of mind. Perhaps now isn’t the right time for someone to be taking on a new case, but knowing that attorneys are exploring what’s available and taking tangible steps towards getting involved are incredibly important. While internal systems typically don’t allow for such granular utilization data, we can view anonymous, aggregated information to help inform what’s top of mind for attorneys that firms can use to tailor their offerings.

2. Attorney Preferences

It’s important to know what types of pro bono attorneys prefer to work on to ensure we’re surfacing the most relevant matters. While many firms will issue surveys that might have low completion rates and require manual data storage and follow-ups, Paladin not only maintains that data in one place, but takes the actionable step of using its (only 20 second) onboarding survey to tailor each weekly digest towards an individual attorney’s interests. Surfacing well-aligned opportunities has been one of two main ways we’ve been able to increase engagement by over 30% on average in the first year, and can help identify new legal services partners to meet employee interest. This data also helps pro bono teams understand interest areas trending over time.

3. Participation, of course! But, let’s go a level below

Most firms rely on accounting or finance to produce monthly pro bono reports that the pro bono team then has to slog through in excel or CSV. Not only is this laborious, but it also costs valuable time, limits the types of views available, and relies on an individual’s excel wizardry to find a pattern. We cut through spreadsheets with an API that connects to the firm’s management systems to pull relevant data into a more intuitive view.

The dashboard captures three main views: high level metrics (most often tracking towards internal firm goals or external ones like AmLaw); an attorney specific view to see who’s working on what, where; and a matter specific view to understand the types of pro bono work being done, which which client demographics, with which referring agencies, when. A triangulated approach allows us a more holistic view of a firm’s engagement beyond just numbers, and with a few clicks of the button, you can view trends over time.

As we know, the impact pro bono work has from case to case reaches far beyond just the number of hours — the second and third order consequences for these communities can be felt for generations. In Part 2 of this series, we will explore impact along two veins: for clients, and for attorneys themselves, looking at data around employee morale and job satisfaction, professional development and skills built.

What reporting metrics do you see most valuable in moving pro bono work forward? Let me know! mitch@joinpaladin.com


6 Things Paladin Can Measure for your Pro Bono Program — Part 1. was originally published in Paladin on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.