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Legal Operations – What We Know Now

Legal business operations, especially in corporate law departments, is on the rise.  Lawyers in both law firms and law departments require an array of business and administrative support. That support makes a huge difference to legal cost, effectiveness, quality, and turnaround times.

Do Large Law Firms Work Differently from Each Other?

I wonder if lawyers at large law firms practice differently. With all the discussions about strategy and competitive differentiation, I rarely read about how lawyers do their work. And I believe this matters more than the market thinks. What do I mean by how lawyers work? Examples inc

Reducing Big Law Overhead: Just Cut? Or Re-Think?

Legal demand is flat and large law firms face price pressure. So management has cut Big Law overhead to maintain profits. Above the Law published a graphic summarizing 2013 first-half cutbacks. In the second half, I found 17 ATL reports on AmLaw 100 firms that cut secretaries and othe

Will Law Firms of the Future Have Legal Secretaries?

I initially called this post The Evolving Role of Legal Secretaries. Then I realized that “evolve” suggests a continuous process but what we see today seems a discontinuity, an abrupt change.  I am not sure though, that  large law firms understand just how profound the cha

Lawyer Productivity in Alternative Fee Arrangement (AFA) World

One reason that clients of large law firms want alternative fee arrangements (AFA) is to drive efficiency. The right AFA structure motivates firms to maximize productivity. In AFA World, what does productivity mean and can firms improve it? In Billable Hour World, “productivity&

Two Big US Firms Cut Staff Costs as Legal Tech NY Starts

In what is likely a pure coincidence but one could view symbolically, as Legal Tech New York begins today, articles today report on two large US law firms that have announced significant steps to reduce staff costs. The bigger announcement is Kaye Scholer Latest Large Law Firm to Shif

Comments on and Implications of Secretarial Cutbacks in Large Law Firms

Last week in Client Service Lessons from a Large Law Firm Secretarial Cut I wrote about law firm secretarial cutbacks and the implications for client service. Three readers, each an accomplished blogger, commented on the post, which I reproduce here, plus my own observations on their

Client Service Lessons from a Large Law Firm Secretarial Cut

ALM’s Daily Business Review reported Friday that Greenberg Traurig lays off staff to achieve 4-to-1 attorney-secretary ratio. Firms may find this news startling or old hat. For me, it speaks to the issue of improving law firm service delivery. The article notes that with “

Staffing the Law Firm of the Future

Law firm staffing is more an artifact of history than design. Forward thinking law firms need to re-architect themselves. Most large law firms added staff over time without a master plan. Hiring lawyers meant employing more secretaries. Introducing PCs meant building an IT department.

Overhead Cost at Large Law Firms Matters After All

Large law firms historically have not spent much energy managing overhead cost. To be sure, BigLaw lay-offs are rampant but these have been aimed mainly at lawyers; staff have been cut in rough proportion to typical support ratios. News last week, however, suggests that firms may now