Mid-Law Weighs Big Changes To Staffing Post Pandemic

See Emma Cueto’s focused article on Mid-Law Weighs Big Changes To Staffing Post Pandemic

Law360 (February 9, 2021, 4:25 PM EST)

Dan Safran, Unbiased Consulting President/CEO, states that “Being remote provides a new set of opportunities. The question, is how firms will respond.

Per the article:

“‘Another popular idea firms are considering is changing the model used to deliver assistance’, Dan Safran said. ‘Rather than the traditional setup in which a legal assistant is assigned to a particular attorney or to a few specific attorneys, he said, firms have become more open to the idea of a ‘pool’ model in which an attorney submits a request and the task is assigned to a centralized pool of assistants.

The 1:1 model … is not a very efficient or practical model,”‘Safran said. ‘One sea change we are seeing is that there now seems to be some understanding that [firms] have the ability to change that model and be more productive.

The pool model has several advantages,’ he said, ‘including that it gives firms a better idea of exactly how much work attorneys generate for legal assistants and what staffing levels should be. And there simply isn’t evidence that the work attorneys need is so highly specialized to individual attorneys that dedicated assistants are necessary,’ Safran added.'”

“Despite the efficiency, though, he said, there has historically been significant resistance from attorneys to the idea, at least part of it rooted in the collegial relationships attorneys often have with their assistants.”

“‘Law firms have more administrative staff than they need,’ Safran said. ‘But when it comes to legal secretaries, it becomes very personal.'”

“The pandemic, however, may have been the tipping point for several firms. Whether this model will catch on in Mid-Law, however, remains to be seen. Safran acknowledged that the efficiency benefits likely would be lower in smaller firms and there may be a point at which it no longer makes economic sense.”

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