2021 Priorities for Law Firm Management: Top Takeaways from Sandpiper’s C-Suite Roundtable

The Sandpiper Partners C-Suite Roundtable last week saw law firm leaders discuss the most pressing challenges and areas of focus in Legal for 2021. Sessions ranged from the workforce of the future, to lessons learned from the pandemic and managing human capital.

BigHand’s Eric Wangler and Rob Stote were panelists throughout the event sharing their insight into the key priorities for law firms moving forward. Here are their top takeaways from the event:

Eric Wangler, President for North America at BigHand:

“Firstly, I think the overarching theme was that law firm remote working is here to stay, and for people to work effectively from anywhere, legal technology must be adopted and used to its full advantage. The consensus was that 35-40% of staff will be out of the office at any given time in the future due to remote working and other work commitments including travelling, visiting clients and time in court. Office real estate and technology systems therefore will need to support this shift.

Adapting practices to maintain firm culture and staff wellbeing was another key area of discussion. The wellbeing of staff is of increasing focus for firms as remote working goes on and is interwoven with driving staff engagement. Several of the panel members discussed the specifics of how they are working hard to maintain a connection to their staff and working with their lawyers to help them drive engagement and improve staff wellbeing.

Firms shared concerns about bringing younger staff on board, and how to bridge the gap of physical in-person coaching, training and mentoring that is a natural part of an office environment. Flexibility within an office/ home hybrid, it was agreed, will be key to supporting working relationships and staff integration.”

Rob Stote, Director for North America at BigHand:

“Data driven decisions, from all the challenges discussed, I think this was the key to solving most of them. We discussed client relationships and the impact of the pandemic, which at first people thought would have a negative impact with attorneys not able to get in front of their clients.

The reality is, that virtual meetings have facilitated quality interactions overall. This is however, if the firm has an established relationship. Building new connections and client bonds can prove more challenging in today’s environment. Using the wealth of law firm client data to unearth the best opportunities has been key for those firms looking to grow their client base. The data is there – it’s a matter of using it.

Similarly, when we looked at law firm budgeting and economics trends, it was agreed that firms have benefitted from significant cost savings related to the pandemic, including travel, meetings, events, entertainment, office food & beverage – the list goes on. Further, the lack of travel has given partners and firm leadership more time to review and focus on maintaining healthy law firm cash flow, by improving things like recording, billing and the collections process. Providing partners with these key metrics, will not only improve their financial acumen but can help drive future growth and opportunities.

What is vital now is for firms not to lose momentum, and make sure they leverage this new found focus. By reinforcing data use, firms can encourage a more commercial culture. Building financial awareness requires a multi-pronged approach – with financial education and understanding playing a key role alongside the tactical nuts and bolts of KPI’s and managing through metrics. If there is any upside to this past year it has given Partners and Leadership the time to examine and reflect on the wealth of financial and operation data they have at their disposal.”

Find out more about BigHand’s workflow and business intelligence technology.

About BigHand Workflow Management

To provide the best client service while supporting your bottom line, it’s vital to ensure your teams are working efficiently and smartly. Ineffective and outdated methods of delegating tasks makes it easy for things to be overlooked, means your workforce isn’t properly optimized, your tasks aren’t being delivered on time, and your bottom line is suffering as a result. BigHand Workflow Management is a task management solution that lets you turn your tasks into fully auditable, digital workflow entries. You can create tasks from voice, email, electronic or paper-based requests – from document production requests to reprographics and travel bookings.

BigHand Workflow Management