General counsels face pressure to reduce costs. Law firms must offer better value. The “new normal” requires taking five actions:.
1. Do Less : Do only the amount of legal work commensurate with the legal risk. Lawyers likely spend too much time looking for little stones when seeing boulders suffices.
2. Improve Efficiency: For work that really needs doing, re-engineer the process, automate where possible, and project manage what’s left.
3. Delegate to the Lowest Cost Competent Resource: Delegate down and select the lowest cost resource at each level. Choices include staff attorneys, paralegals, contract lawyers, LPO providers, and timekepers in firm-owned, low-cost onshore or offshore locations.
4. Build Factories: Build factories for high volume work: low cost location, minimal overhead, automated, and right-staffed.
5. Reduce Overhead: With overhead in many US law firms over $200,000 per lawyer, firms still have opportunities to reduce overhead cost. Rationalize support and admin processes and centralize staff in a low cost location.