An extensive survey by BigHand of over 800 legal support staff globally gives a rare insight into the daily challenges and working experiences of support teams, with only a staggering 3% of respondents saying they receive all the information they need to complete a task first time.
The survey, which reveals key trends in the way that lawyers and legal support staff are working together, as well as insights into how firms are organising their back-office support services, reveals that 59% of respondents still believe that the way work is submitted to them is not as efficient as it could be, with 73% acknowledging they have to pass work to their colleagues at least once a week, in 50% of the time due to capacity issues and in 20% of cases due to the fact that it was incorrectly allocated.
While BigHand works with a lot with support services managers who are being tasked with improving efficiency and decreasing costs within their teams, until now there has been little real evidence or data around the extent of the inefficiencies.
The survey, which will be used by BigHand as evidence of the need for its digital task delegation and workflow tool BigHand Now, reveals the time wasted in seeking clarification over what is needed to complete a task.
Ben Jennings, commercial products director at BigHand said: “Firms understand that they need to organise and modernise their support team and processes in order to stay competitive, and many have already started the journey to operational excellence. What our survey uncovered, however, is that despite having made structural changes, support staff continue to face challenges around visibility and workload. There’s clearly still work to be done before firms will be able to realise the true benefits of their actions.”
Change management consultant Sandie Craciun, director at KonSept Services Management Consultancy, said: “I would be truly intrigued to quantify the monetary value of wasted support time and billable time as a consequence of poor workflow processes and unclear task delineation. While estimates are often scarily high figures, I suspect if we were able to quantify the true value, the figures would ensure seamless workflow and role clarity becomes an operational imperative rather than the emotional rollercoaster and terrifying prospect it appears to be for many.”
The results come as firms increasingly reduce their legal secretary headcount – one large US law firm estimates that within the next three years 60-70% of their legal secretaries will retire and will not be replaced.
You can read the full report here: www.bighand.com/en-gb/supportstaffsurvey