To delegate or not to delegate – that is the question

To delegate or not to delegate – that is the question

By Kim Tasso

During the recession, legal teams were cut down to the bone and senior lawyers had to get used to doing much of the work that they had previously passed down to more junior staff themselves.

The trouble is, once a habit is formed it is hard to break. So now the market is recovering and firms are “staffing up” by recruiting new assistants or pushing them up through the ranks. But these assistants often find themselves without work – as the seniors are continuing to do it all themselves.

As a result of this work-hogging, a couple of firms asked me to help them with delegation training. I tried to explain that whilst I was happy to help them, there actually wasn’t much to the theory and process of effective delegation – even in the most complex areas of law. There are simple steps to decide when and what to delegate, to whom and how. The complicating factor is usually behavioural and cultural.

Let me explain. It is common sense for a partner to pass on the work to an associate where appropriate. The firm uses its leverage and can do the work more profitably whilst releasing the partner for business development activities.

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About the author:
Kim Tasso BA(Hons) DipM FCIM MCIJ MBA is the managing director of RedStarKim Ltd. She is an independent management consultant, specialising in the professional services sector, with over 20 years’ marketing experience. After qualifying as a psychologist and working for several years in the technology sector she worked for a number of leading professional service firms (Deloitte and Nabarro) before starting her firm in January 1994. She has worked for over 300 clients including: law firms, barristers chambers, patent attorneys, accountancy practices, insolvency practitioners, actuaries, surveyors, marketing services agencies and management consultants. She advises on and provides training and coaching in the strategic and operational aspects of management, change, marketing, selling and client relationship management. She has published a number of books (on selling, media relations and growth strategies) and hundreds of articles.