Adapt or perish: what small firms can learn about workflow allocation from ‘Big Law’

Adapt or perish: what small firms can learn about workflow allocation from ‘Big Law’

Nowadays the legal marketplace for smaller firms can feel like a Darwinian life-or-death battle: adapt or perish. Since the ‘Great Recession’, it has become an unforgiving world where time-honoured truths have morphed into old shibboleths. Not to mention the biggest challenge of all: the economic cycle which churns on relentlessly like nature’s cycle of life, whatever the size of your firm. 

But despite the doom and the gloom, many independent law firms are doing well. Indeed, a lot are not just surviving but thriving.

The recent report from LexisNexis, ‘The Art of Success: Why Independent Law Firms are Thriving’ shows how much smaller firms have become more business-savvy in recent years. Often, success in these areas has come about after these firms have adopted and adapted best practice from larger firms.

As the report shows, good staff morale is within the top three most important things that smaller firms value. One way Big Law firms have discovered to keep fee-earners happy and engaged is by appointing workflow allocation managers. A number of larger firms, from Clifford Chance, who started the trend in 2012, to many other top 50 firms have appointed such managers to ensure they allocated work ‘blindly’.

 ‘Goodbye’ to favouritism and ‘hello’ to a fairer sharing of work?

I must admit, when I first learnt of this position it struck me as being rather superfluous. What could be simpler than handing out work? Partner A pa

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About the author:
Paul Caddy is a highly experienced lawyer and legal writer specialising in commercial law and information law. He qualified in 2000 at Osborne Clarke and subsequently moved to Laytons where he undertook a broad spectrum of work in commercial law. His experience also includes large projects work where he helped to set up the North West Fund, the largest venture capital fund of its kind in the UK and one of the largest public sector funds of its kind in Europe.