The economic crash following the global financial crisis of 2008 was, in many ways, a wake up call to industry. Business strategies that were once widely accepted were thrown into doubt and many sectors were forced to re-orientate themselves in an era of financial prudence. The mantra became ‘deliver more for less’, and lawyers have been affected by these changes as much as anyone else:
“The legal profession is being shaken up like never before – and it is not just down to the economic downturn… Reforms first suggested a decade ago are now taking effect and the rise of new technology and the increasingly globalised world we live in are having unexpected repercussions for law firms.” – Richard Simmons (editor of TheLawyer2B magazine).
While the industry is facing unprecedented changes, the opportunities which this new context offers are enormous. It is therefore essential to identify the trends and the tools which will prepare the industry for the coming years.
Firms must take a pragmatic approach
Clients now expect more across the board – more value for money, more efficiency and more assurances over project duration and completion dates. Law Practice Today cites the financial crisis as a major cause of of this expectation:
“Clients are now more sensitised to the need for improved efficiency and value, and most important, reduced cost”.
Expectations have changed, and the industry is now struggling with a range of unresolved issues:
- The need to be cheaper
- The need to be more efficient
- The need to offer alternative fee types
- The pressure to save costs by planning better
None of these issues is insurmountable, yet to be successful the industry needs to take a more pragmatic approach. Central here is the importance of more efficient planning and management of workloads.
In a previous post, we spoke to David Bennett – Chief Operating Officer at VESK for Legal – about the amount of planning law firms and lawyers themselves have to do just to keep the company going, and why the ratio of workload to visible gain is so negatively skewed:
“Lawyers do a lot of planning of what’s actually happened, but they don’t do much forward planning. Which means they don’t really know what resources they have when looking ahead”.
David explained that a lack of knowledge about available resources is preventing the industry from effective planning:
“Most of the IT systems within the legal sector are focussed around what a lawyer did, there’s no real integration between calendars and HR systems. There’s no resource element. So when a lawyer is asked to do some more work – they just work harder!”
So how do we overcome these challenges?
There is, of course, no one-size-fits-all solution to the issues that the legal industry is facing. However, given that a major pain point shared by all firms relates to the way their employees’ time is used, technology can take some of the burden here.
Resource Management (RM) tools have emerged in recent years as a credible solution to the problems facing many industries, the legal sector included. Resource Management refers to ‘the process of using a company’s resources in the most efficient way possible. These resources can be categorised into tangible (goods and equipment), financial (money) and labour (employees).’ Tempus Resource from ProSymmetry is an industry leading Resource Management tool, and Program Framework is proud to be its sole European partner.
Tempus Resource allows law firm to prepare their projects and casework better. By letting you model the availability and cost of individual resources, project managers can visualise the best way of using them. Tempus Resource’ what if? tool allows you to discover alternative uses of your resources and its innovative heat map allows you to explore which lawyers are currently being over- or under-worked – and helps you discover how resource allocation could be improved.
With Tempus Resource law firms can explore who would be most affected if a sudden influx of cases came through, if one project ran behind or finished early. With an intuitive interface, it allows users to explore a range of alternatives to their current resource deployment in order to discover the best possible implementation. And because Tempus Resource measures and controls for cost, quantity and availability, it lets users find the best combination of resources to keep clients happy too.
Rise with Resource Management
Tempus Resource is currently helping organisations around the world make better use of running and managing their resources. Following the numerous challenges the legal industry has faced in recent years, It offers a method of boosting efficiency, managing time and reducing costs. This not only keeping clients happy, it also helps lawyers manage their workloads better – a win-win situation for any law firm.
For more information on how Tempus Resource can help your business, get in touch with one of our consultants today: 08000 74 29 29.