For firms that put the correct support in place to empower individuals to work effectively from any location, the benefits are compelling. When asked about the biggest opportunities of hybrid working, 35% of NA, 36% of UK cite the removal of lawyer preference/bias for specific support staff, for better work allocation to the most appropriate resource. Given the level of lateral movement currently occurring within the industry, associates will be wary of firms still relying on the old school approach. How can an individual be confident in a firm’s career development promises and access to career enhancing opportunities if there is preferential treatment or bias in place? How can they be confident their career aspirations will be managed and enabled without a process/system to support it? Conversely, firms that can demonstrate a clearly deliverable commitment here will become the employer of choice in a hot market! Firms able to demonstrate robust, equitable opportunities will have the edge in talent acquisition.
Respondents are also positive about the ability to share/move work between offices (34% of NA, 36% of UK) in an effective hybrid working model; the opportunity to move work to low-cost resources (39% of NA, 31% of UK); as well as increased around the clock support due to flexible working hours (40% of NA, 38% of UK).
The key message for firms to recognize is that hybrid working provides the opportunity to improve work/life balance for employees (38% of NA, 38% of UK) which, as a result should help the business to recruit and retain high-quality employees (33% of NA, 40% of UK).
Management may still have concerns regarding hybrid working and the lack of office time but, as this research confirms, while hybrid working can lead to problems if badly managed, employees are keen to highlight the financial and operational benefits it can offer – if companies take the right approach.
Dedicated and Impartial Resource Management
Change is underway. Growing numbers of firms now recognize the importance of creating a dedicated, impartial Resource Manager, an individual empowered to achieve equitable and cost-effective matter resourcing across the business. 29% NA and 36% UK respondents stated that their firm has dedicated Resource Managers. Furthermore, of those firms that have not yet made that change, 91% NA and 94% UK firms plan to recruit dedicated Resource Managers. Firms need to invest in changing behaviors, encouraging cross-function collaboration, provide supporting technology and rapidly extend the information resources to deliver both operational and strategic change.
Resource Managers need support – and that includes the right technology to identify resources, forecast utilization, manage workloads and add structure to career development for lawyers, as well as the complete visibility to support effective collaboration with Pricing Managers and Legal Project Managers.
The right technology can act to attract and retain talent with real-time visibility of lawyer availability, improved profitability on matters and supporting firms’ DEI goals for equitable allocation of work. In 2021, 88% of NA and 75% of UK firms confirmed the implementation of resource management technology was a priority. This year, that commitment is further underlined, with 87% of NA and 77% of UK either already have a dedicated resource management technology in place or plan to implement a solution over the next 12 to 24 months, further underlying the change occurring throughout the legal sector.
The creation of a dedicated Resource Manager role, supported by powerful resource management technology is no longer a ‘nice to have’: both are essential to the creation of a profitable, equitable and future looking law firm.
This was an excerpt from the report 'Legal Resource Management - The Present and Future Impact on Law Firms'. Access the full report to dive deeper into the findings from over 800 legal management professionals:
A view into the strategic and operational challenges law firms are facing as employee expectations are rising: findings from over 800 Operations, HR, Resource Management and Practice Group Leaders.