Knowing why your firm would benefit from organising and modernising your support functions is the ideal starting line. The race against your competitors comes in many forms, but being leaner and sharper could make a difference at the finish line. What benefits can you expect? What benefits can your customers expect?
Fixed fee in. Billable hour out. This is a trend that has been building (and continues to do so). Commoditisation of (some) legal services evolves in a similar vein. The growth of in-house counsel, and certainly the growth in their demands, brings additional pressure. Throwing more billable hours at a problem is no longer an option and understanding the true profitability of matters is under the microscope like never before.
These are not new insights, but what is new is that firms are tackling the issue from both sides. Yes, there is a critical need to expand BD operations, deeply embed your client relationships and to experiment with artificial lawyers, but the overall service delivery needs to be lean and it needs to be quick. In a competitive world, examining all the aspects of the value chain can generate very real benefits. “Marginal gains” is not a new phrase, but it is a helpful one and something an increasing number of “non-legal” hires are bringing to the operational side of legal services.
By looking at, understanding and modernising your legal support there are realistic and achievable benefits available for your firm today. If you are not currently doing it in some way, it is worth noting that many of your competitors already have.
The basic view would be that the more a piece of work is valued by your customer, the more valuable resource you should place on that work. If customers don’t value scanning and photocopying, spend as little (money and time) as possible getting those tasks done (or get them removed entirely from the process).