In a world of rising fixed fee work, law firms are looking to drive new efficiencies within legal support services to ensure that projects are completed in a timely and cost-effective manner. For many firms, the new economic model has prompted a reconsideration of the best way to deliver legal support to attorneys.
In a survey of legal support staff from firms all over the globe, we uncovered that on the back of market pressures, 59% have seen significant structural changes to their firm's legal support services over the past three years. However despite these changes, support staff report that they’re continuing to face challenges around visibility, clarity and capacity.
• 83% of participants said that they’re “very likely” to receive task requests by email. 67% said they’re “very likely” to receive task requests by verbal instructions. 24% said they’re “very likely” to receive tasks by Post-it note! When delegated this way, tasks can’t be tracked or reported on, which makes it impossible to gauge each person’s workload. It also explains why some staff are often much busier than others.
• 59% don’t think that the way work is currently submitted to support staff is as efficient as it could be
• Almost three quarters (73%) of survey participants said they have to move work internally from one resource to another at least once a week. 50% say this is due to “workload and capacity issues” and 20% say it’s because tasks are incorrectly delegated in the first place
• 85% say that up to 60% of their support tasks need additional clarification in order to be completed accurately. This means a lot of wasted time on additional back and forth between support staff and attorneys, resulting in delays for clients
• With all of this in mind, when asked what they think would improve their job, participants responded:
More capacity 28%
Better clarity of tasks 30%
Enhanced technology 36%
Better processes 40%
Better team structure 29%
Summary: Law firms recognize the need to prioritize improved productivity, efficiency and cost savings among support staff in order to provide greater value to clients, and that they’re making significant structural advancements in order to achieve these goals.
Truly impactful change is only made possible with specialist technologies that allow for full visibility that allows for the effective deployment and utilization of skills-based teams.
BigHand Now, a task delegation and workflow tool developed specifically for law firms, ensures that the right work is sent to the right people at the right time. With the additional visibility and accountability that BigHand Now offers, firms are not only able to ensure their people are busy, efficient and productive, but support staff are empowered to make better use of their time and skills, and play a more significant and role in serving clients and solidifying future success for their firm.