Proven Strategies Measurable Results

How many cases should each attorney handle?

January 26, 2017

At Vista Consulting, we get asked this question all the time. “How many cases should each attorney handle?” The answer is “it depends…” Not to be evasive, but we have seen many firms have success with many different formulas. We have seen firms where attorneys carry 20-30 cases, and firms where they carry 200-300 cases. Vastly different models, but both can be successful. When firms ask us to analyze their case counts per attorney and support personnel, we look at several things. We look at current client satisfaction through surveys and percentage of business that comes from non-marketing sources. Low client survey scores, and a low percentage of files coming from non-marketing sources are indicators that your team may have too many files on their plate. We also look at average fees, gross revenue per attorney, and gross revenue per support personnel. Low numbers here can also indicate that people are overwhelmed and have too many files. We also like to analyze what we call Client Communication Cycles and File Review Cycles. How often are clients being communicated with and how often are files being touched? As these cycles increase (another sign of too many files), clients get angry, time on desk goes up, referrals go down, and lots of other bad things tend to happen. Case types also matter. An attorney can handle a higher amount of social security cases than premise liability cases. The case type that the attorney is handling will make a difference in how many they can handle. Finally, all attorneys are not created equal. Some can simply handle more files than others, and handle them well. So the answer is, you have to find out what is the right number for your firm, your attorneys, and the case types that you are handling, but should consider the above questions when making that determination.

Wendy and David Share
“We met with Vista for a strategic planning session as our firm is at the crossroads and we wanted some outside perspective to help us with our planning. Vista provided a very focused environment so that we could develop our “Painted Picture” or 5-year plan. As we were very involved in the process, the conclusions we arrived at were not surprising to us, but having a road map to help us take the next step has been very beneficial to us. We have been working on the required steps and are making progress, and we do always come back to the Painted Picture and the principles we discussed in realizing our objectives. It is very much an ongoing process, and we know Vista is there for us, if and when we need their further input and objective perspective. Vista’s knowledge of the inner working of Plaintiff Personal Injury law firms allowed them to offer their insight and perspective to our unique circumstances. The fact that we are in Canada proved to be no barrier to understanding what our firm is all about.”
- Wendy and David Share
Richard Harris
"After founding and managing one of Nevada’s largest personal injury law firms for over 30 years, and teaching law practice management, I didn’t think there was much a consultant could do for me. I initially asked Vista, “Why would I pay you to tell me what’s wrong with my firm – when I already know it?” Their response was, “We’ll help you fix it.” That had actually never occurred to me, which showed how much I needed them. Beginning with the onsite visit and comprehensive Needs Assessment, the Vista team not only helped fix what I already knew needed attention, I’m pleased to admit they revealed and helped us resolve several problem areas I previously didn’t know about. Not only that, through consistent coaching conferences and initiation of dynamic reporting of key performance indicators, Vista trained and transitioned a new management team to take our firm to the next level. I’m completely satisfied with Vista and recommend their services to any firm, large or small."
- Richard Harris
Kenny Harrell
“The Joye Law Firm would whole-heartedly recommend Vista Consulting’s services. It’s been nearly two years since Vista did the initial needs assessment at our firm, followed by several weeks of ‘boots on the ground’ work. With the benefit of hindsight, I can easily say that improvements we’ve made as the result of their services have easily more than paid for the costs of the same (and that was probably true a few months in.) This is true based on improvements in our case management efficiency and especially in regard to better intake procedures. Our average new cases per month have increased 50%, and this is due in large part on our doing a better job of following up on potential new clients.”
- Kenny Harrell / Managing Partner