Law firms across the globe are under pressure from all fronts; whether it is customer demands, unrelenting drive on costs, requests for price transparency, growing demand for agile working or an increasing need to have operational insight into support costs.

As is always the case, there is no single solution to the collective issues.There is, however, a developing trend when it comes to building the future shape of legal support services that are more organised, centralised and modernised.

The shape is assembled more around cost, competency and tasks and less around department, relationship or location. This could also include a move to centralised business services teams for national firms or global service centres for the largest firms.

To service customers effectively there are a host of associated tasks that need actioning beyond the legal work itself. Doing that in the most practical and cost-effective manner (whilst maintaining or improving quality) is critical. And this is becoming more, not less, important.

The historical ‘lawyer and legal secretary’ relationship has been undergoing change for some years, but accelerating that in a sensible (but business-oriented) fashion can drive very real efficiency gains and service enhancements for law firms looking to get ahead. This paper looks to synthesise the key benefits, outline best practice guidelines and provide some checklists to help you get there quickly, avoiding common pitfalls along the way.

Software is a critical enabler of change, but is only part of the solution.

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