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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. The client wins as the work is done at a level that is cheaper than a partner. The associate receives work that enables him or her to develop and practice their skills and make a contribution to the firm and the client.
However, there are lots of reasons why partners don’t delegate. Let’s take a look at some of the reasons that I often discover:
Read my blog on the top five tips for effective delegation.
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