|Partners and associates competing for work|
On November 14th, ALM Legal Intelligence released a new report “Turf Wars: Defining New Roles and Competing for Business.” The report is yet another examination of the ongoing impact of the “Great Recession” on the transformation of large law firms. The report contrasts results with a similar 2011 study and in just two years there are significant shifts in trends. The 2011 report focused on down sizing, the 2013 report focuses on ” Right sizing.” Working smarter in order to meet client demand for efficiency requires an emphasis on project management, knowledge management and business development.
46% of respondents indicate that firms are beginning to introduce project management
focused on experienced lawyers with both project management experience and knowledge
of clients industries.
quarters of respondents had reduced support staff in the last year
and 50% expect this continue in 2014
next three years Legal Process Outsourcing is expected to increase for 19% of respondents ( but we don’t
know if this is their first round of outsourcing or if they are extending ououtsourcing into more functions)
on contract lawyers is slowing, down from 29% 2011 to 20% in 2013.Respondents indicate that the revolving door
of contract attorneys too hard to manage.
of respondents want to increase permanent associates. Only 1/3 indicated firms
should increase partner track associates.
Complaint that partners are hoarding work from associates.56% respond that partner are doing
more work than associates.
equity partners continue to increase.
clients are refusing to pay for associates, associates are receiving less
training and hands-on experience
spending time on marketing rather than training associates. Associate training squeezed
recruiting, practice expertise more important than Ivy league education or GPA.
factors impacting morale “failure to eliminate dead weight, lower compensation
than other firms and too much work for current staff levels.
have brought in CFOs and COOs but don’t’ give them the authority to implement
financial reform. Firms not planning beyond the end of the fiscal year.
a volatile staffing picture will continue. Top challenges are Hiring and retaking talent and establishing right partner associate leverage ratios.
Knowledge Management and Project Management Reign. The report underscores the need for skilled professionals who can assist lawyers in driving efficiency through project management and knowledge management. Staff who perform routine commoditized work, will continue to be under considerable scrutiny and vulnerable to outsourcing. More strategic staff, especially those who can help partners implement and leverage project management and knowledge management will continue to be in demand.