Data visualization of legal fees, billing, and amounts left in trust

I created this interactive report using Excel and Power BI to show one possible solution for attorneys who want to see information about their clients, the legal fees they incur, and other information about their case. Although this data is hypothetical, a report like this could be beneficial to the attorney and law firm.

When viewing this report on this website, you can click on the “Fit to page” button located on the bottom right side of the report, zoom in and out of it, and click anywhere in the report to see how the data changes.

In most lawsuits, a client pays an attorney a large dollar amount, called a retainer, at the start of the case, and this money is put into a trust bank account. Attorneys then bill the client for the work done on their case. But attorneys that handle client cases are often one-step removed from the amount a client has left in the trust account. They may not handle the billing and collection of finances from the client, someone else in the firm may do this.

But an attorney may want to know how much is left in the trust account to answer questions of what next steps to take in the case. The report I’ve created can quickly answer many questions the attorney has relating to this.

This report is interactive, and an attorney can click through it to see what legal activities are being performed for the client each month, how much they total, when a trust account has a balance less than a certain amount and should be replenished, when a retainer is paid and more.

I like giving short directions with my Power BI reports because I want the user to understand how to use the visual in order to get the information they want quickly. I also make my reports clean in terms of design; although I appreciate art, data visualizations should be useful and easy to use. Additionally, I like reports that have contact information showing how the user can get help or ask questions about the report. As an attorney myself, I know that getting the information I need quickly is very important.

Power BI is such a great software to use for creating interactive reports, however, the default design elements are not wonderful. Having taught design when I was a professor, I know that color choices can communicate certain information.

For this report, I wanted the colors to mean certain things. So in the table that shows amounts left in trust, blue numbers mean a client has more than $2000 in their trust account. Red numbers mean the trust account balance is getting low, and the attorney may need to ask for another retainer, change how the case is being handled, etc.

For the bar and pie charts, I wanted to group certain legal work together. Since I’ve practiced law, I know that Court Appearances and Travel are billed on the same day. And things like Discovery, Research, and Depositions are similar types of legal work. Whenever I’ve communicated with a client or opposing counsel, I needed to review the file and often did drafting work to motions after our discussions.

So I went to Adobe’s Color Wheel (available here: https://color.adobe.com/create/color-wheel) and selected a double split complementary color scheme. Then I opened the pallete in Adobe Photoshop and and added additional colors there. The result was this color palette:

color pallette

I really enjoyed building this report. If you have any questions about it, or the process, feel free to email me at sarakubikphd@gmail.com

Older Adults’ Internet Access

I wanted to build off of my dissertation by focusing on older adults’ uses of the Internet. But I didn’t want to collect my own data so I found a dataset onine called the Core Trends Survey. It is available from Pew Research here: https://www.pewresearch.org/internet/dataset/core-trends-survey/ .

The Core Trends Survey was conducted Jan 8 – February 2019. The original sample had 1502 adults. I downloaded the csv dataset in Excel (because the sample size and file sizes were small) and only wanted older adults ages 55 and up.

My final sample was 465 older Americans, ages 55 and up.

  • All used the internet or email, at least occasionally
  • All had either a smart phone, a tablet, or a computer or a combination of these devices All had either high-speed internet access (like DSL,cable, fiber optic) or cell phone or tablet access at home (no dial-up). So either high speed or cell connection (note the difference of these with latency and fog computing in the future)

I cleaned the data, created new variables, and analyzed it using Excel and R. I created some image files using various packages in RStudio, and saved some stacked bar charts as pngs. These were a high level overview of my findings.

My Github has the CSV files, the R code, the pngs, and a read me file: https://github.com/sarakubik/Older-Adults-Internet-Access-in-Rural-Urban-Surburan-Locations.git

I was not happy with the stacked bar charts, so I went to Tableau to see if it could produce something better.

I created data vizualizations and a dashboard using Tableau. The files are…

  • Breaking apart where the older adults lived: https://public.tableau.com/app/profile/sara.kubik/viz/OlderAdultsInternetAccessinRuralUrbanandSuburbanLocations/Dashboard1
  • Separating the data by gender and technology ownership: https://public.tableau.com/app/profile/sara.kubik/viz/OlderAdultsandInternetUse/Dashboard1