This isn’t a descent into Sci Fi (that will follow on another occasion I’m sure), but rather a clumsy way of coming up with an eye catching title for the dry subject of ‘Resourcing’.
If you haven’t immediately decided to stop reading, since there will be no Captain Kirk information, then I’ll begin.
It’s not exactly a secret that the legal profession has faced more challenges in the last ten years than ever before. There has been a regulatory evolution, technology revolution, a recession, property collapses, property booms, Jackson’s reforms and Legal Aid’s slow demise. Increasing numbers of law firms have been unable to cope.
One major theme underpins most of the ongoing issues- that of margin. Clients have developed an audacious view that they are entitled to transparency of fees, and value for money. Against the backdrop of the changes I’ve already mentioned, this is no easy conundrum to solve.
How can firms deliver a quality service that will still enable a margin to be made? One of the most effective ways to approach this problem is to look at resourcing. Firms need to develop a clear understanding of the business they are seeking to operate, from the processes for the specific areas of law in which they are active, to the processes and regulatory necessities for the physical running of the business itself.
Once the specific tasks for each business area are understood, then it is possible to identify what level of fee earner (for legal work) or administrative support (for operational activity) is required. Aside from the obvious benefit of clarity of business process and cost, this also enables firms to consider more innovative approaches to resourcing.
This could involve among other things-
- Use of paralegal teams for ‘churn’ activities with supporting Case Management Systems and team structures
- Full or partial outsource of an activity to a specialist process provider
- Automation of processes using technological advances
Of course, if an activity is outsourced, aside from immediate cost savings due to competitive pricing and expertise from the provider, you will be freeing up office SPACE….see what I did there? Kirk out!
Alex Holt – Director of Business Development, England and Wales at The Cashroom