The legal profession faces a time of unprecedented change. Clients want ever more from their law firms – consistent high quality combined with innovation in pricing, certainty around fees and far better communication of options and progress.
Law firms know that delivering such requirements demands a willingness to rethink the very idea of legal service delivery. But few would have thought that the key to such transformation would lie in a firm's processes.
It seems, however, that law firms are starting to think differently.
An increasing number of firms are embracing the concept that the key to winning and retaining clients might just lie in the operational processes at work in the heart of a firm.
And this is translating to their recruitment needs. Here at Totum, we are seeing more calls from our law firm clients for candidates who are experts in process mapping and project management – and who have the insights (and often practical knowledge brought in from outside the sector) to fundamentally overhaul the way in which legal services are delivered.
It goes beyond meeting immediate client demands too. These are management professionals who know how to integrate a law firm’s processes with those of their clients to improve efficiency and add value. They can use process to both win clients and then embed them into a firm, cementing the relationship and turning one-off deals into long-term strategic partnerships.
We have placed process mapping and project management experts into forward-thinking law firms. And they are now making a fundamental difference to the firms in which they work.
We believe this is only the beginning.
As we advertise more process and project management roles, we see this as a recruitment drive that could change the face of the legal profession.
Click here for details on current roles.
Following a major business services review, this international law firm created a new Project Manager role to run the Project Management Office (PMO) of a global change programme. They wanted someone with project management experience and the aptitude and confidence to challenge and change existing practices, introduce new ideas, adopt innovative approaches and drive these forward through to implementation. The business services review and resulting change projects were a big departure from the usual style of the firm and they were looking for someone confident and energetic to lead, coach and challenge the Partners and senior managers whilst supporting them through the projects. The person they recruited had completed a law degree before joining a magic circle law firm firm in a junior project position. From there they moved to a consultancy firm as a Business Transformation Consultant.
This regional firm with a Managing Partner renowned for his innovation created a new Head of Service Delivery - a role which had overall responsibility for the management of the commercial services division. The remit was all encompassing and had a strong focus on efficiency, client service and team management. They recruited a candidate with a wealth of experience across a range of sectors from finance to IT in a variety of programme management, client delivery and transformation roles.
Two practice areas at this international law firm were interested in pushing the project management agenda forward. They jointly hired the firm’s first Project Manager to analyse their existing case management / legal project management techniques; advise how to improve these techniques and further advise how to roll out and "institutionalise" these improved across the practice groups. The person they brought in had a paralegal/legal sector grounding and spent time as a Transaction Manager for a legal department. She then spent a number of years in Programme Management roles in the public sector before returning to the legal sector.
One of the more innovative and forward thinking litigation focused international law firms identified a need to bring in some heavyweight expertise to look at how the firm can package up and deliver its products and services to ensure that work can be delivered at the right price, within scope and in such a way as to meet the client demands. The client initially chose to appoint a consultant with excellent experience in the whole area of legal process efficiency and project management, with a view to making a permanent appointment if/when the initial project was completed. This candidate has been at the forefront of change in legal services, having established on and offshore BPO and LPO services to law firms and has implemented efficient working practices within various different legal environment. At the end of the project, he presented his recommendations and this resulted in a new role being created for him, which he started shortly afterwards.
One of the largest international law firms starting bringing in Project Managers to work with individual departments a number of years ago. They saw the benefits quickly – both internally and to their clients - and now have people in a number of different divisions and offices. This role worked alongside the fee-earners in one of their legal departments and provide project management support, both strategically and operationally. They wanted someone to implement significant change by focusing on client service and process innovation, to increase efficiency and improve the team's overall profitability. The person who got the role was Prince 2 qualified and was an ex legal editor and publishing coordinator who moved into Business Improvement and Project Management work with Thomson Reuters. He got his first role in legal services in 2012 with one of the national law firms who were early pioneers of this type of role.