Market research reveals that North American law firms expect to lose 58% of their legal secretaries by 2025

New research conducted by BigHand and the Association of Legal Administrators uncovers high retirement and attrition rates among legal support staff, fueling the need for firms to act quickly to organize their legal support services in order to continue offering optimal support to attorneys and clients.

BigHand, a legal software company focused on back-office operational and financial excellence, partnered with ALA to conduct a survey of senior HR and support services professionals and gathered 120 responses from firms across North America. The survey reveals:

April L. Campbell, JD, Interim Executive Director of the ALA comments, “Today’s recruits simply aren’t looking for the same work as before and it’s becoming increasingly difficult for firms to replace legal secretaries with several decades’ experience, with short-tenure millennials. Compounded with evolving market pressures on cost and client service, and the varying support needs of lawyers, it’s clear that firms must reorganize their support services accordingly.”

Eric Wangler, President of BigHand North America comments, “For years, we’ve been hearing from law firms how they are facing an attrition and retirement time bomb among their support staff. We wanted to validate and quantify what we were hearing, which lead to the survey. In response to these challenges, the majority of firms have started to move towards centralized and specialized legal support services that are better able to support their multigenerational lawyers. However, any kind of reorganization can only be successful with a quantitative view into the back-office and how support work is moving through the firm. Only with access to accurate data can firms make informed business decisions to effectively recruit, train and staff their back office to support the evolving needs of their lawyers and clients.”

With this research, BigHand and ALA offer a comprehensive view of the challenges and trends for the future of legal support service delivery. 

Read the full report here.