“The traditional Big Law model . . . is to sell the client a Cadillac, even when he only needs or wants a Ford,” write the authors of “Disruptive Innovation: New Models of Legal Practice1,” a report by the WorkLife Law Center at UC Hastings College of the Law. But, that model has changed with more and more firms delivering a Ford with a price to match.
This requires a new approach: A strategic and creative reconfiguration of staffing, with a critical eye toward the client’s, and the firm’s, current and future needs. Over-staffing and under-productivity are sapping law firms’ financial health, according to Altman Weil’s Law Firms in Transition2 survey. Some 77 percent of firms that changed their approach to attorney staffing increased their profits per equity partner, compared to 56 percent of firms that made no such changes, according to the survey. In some cases, I’ve helped firms create entirely new job categories. In fact, Ricoh’s legal board along with recruiting firm Robert Half & Associates have noted the following new, emerging roles: