March 08, 2018

Ranked in the top hundred law firms in the world, Pinsent Masons LLP is an international firm with over 400 partners, a total legal team of around 1,800 people and more than 2,500 staff, with 24 offices globally.

While the firm is experiencing strong growth, in a world of rising fixed fee work, the requirement for efficient delegation increases.

Administrative Services: the need for visibility

For Pinsent Masons, a review of the way PA administrative support was being provided to the business revealed a number of challenges regarding both capacity and consistent quality. Alastair Mitchell, Chief Operating Officer, says: “The decision was made to redesign the way Pinsent Masons’ PA administrative support was provided to both improve the service to fee earners and improve motivation and skills utilisation of PAs.”

Robust Task Management Solution

In addition to addressing the administrative structure, the firm also needed a way to better route tasks and improve capacity management. Tara Layman, Head of PA and Administration Services says, “The adoption of BigHand Now and BigHand Capacity Manager provided Pinsent Masons with the perfect opportunity to change the structure, reroute work almost automatically, and maximise both the use of our external legal support services and our PA skills.”

The new PA Administrative Services structure had an immediate impact on the quality and cost-efficiency of how work was turned around. Within two months, the number of jobs being sent to their outsourced legal support service provider increased from 700 per month to 1,200 per month, an increase of 70%. Routing more work to the outsourced legal service provider and newly appointed Team Assistants means that the right people are doing the right level jobs at the right cost to the business.


While the key objectives for this PA administrative service restructure was to improve internal service to the business and ensure PA expertise and skills were being effectively utilised, the change has also delivered significant financial benefits, with a direct recurring cost saving of £1.4 million, due to work being completed at the right level and right cost to the business.

Fee earners also report that work is being completed and returned more quickly, enabling efficient service delivery to clients. Alastair confirms, “While we do not charge for PA and Admin services, this lower cost, more efficient model will enable Pinsent Masons to be more competitive in our ability to review fixed prices.”

Alastair concludes, this project was all about people, with the change underpinned by technology. “In addition to delivering the improvements in resource utilisation, the biggest benefit of this project has been Pinsent Masons’ ability to focus on the continuing professional development of our TAs and PAs, ensuring their skill sets are used effectively, improving motivation and job satisfaction.”