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Largest workflow survey of its kind reveals the state of law firm support operations in industry report by BigHand

The largest ever piece of global research into legal workflow management, released today from BigHand, has revealed that support operations functions are flawed for most firms as the industry begins to transition to hybrid working.

Over a third (34%) of firms cite even distribution of work between support staff as a challenge, and 43% of firms plan to implement workflow technology as a priority.

During May 2021, BigHand gathered a total of 914 responses across senior Operations, HR, Support Services, Resource Management and Practice Group Leader roles, from firms of 50+ lawyers in the UK, North America (NA) and APAC.

The industry report is an accurate view of the state of legal workflow management globally, and looks at the current trends between lawyers and support staff.

The findings include a reduction in support staff has led to lawyers undertaking more administrative and low value work, contributing to a reduction in billable hours. To add, hybrid working is thought to be welcomed by both fee earning and support staff, but individuals are concerned about the way work can be effectively allocated to support teams.

Clients are demanding more transparency about work allocation to the correct resource. However, almost half of NA and UK firms and a third of APAC firms are still relying on manual monitoring, which is extremely challenging when individuals are working remotely. With out of date, often inaccurate information, how are firms meeting client expectations for cost transparency?

Overhauling support services is becoming a priority with firms increasing their use of specialised teams and junior staff as well as outsourced support. Firms recognise the need for better control and visibility to maximise support staff expertise and deliver the speed of service fee earners require, but finding staff with the right support skills continues to be a major challenge for law firms.

Retirement and attrition is set to put a tremendous strain on these teams over the next five years with firms confirming that recruiting like-for-like replacement talent is incredibly difficult.

Technology innovation is a priority to support more effective use of both remote support staff and outsourced services, with 43% of firms globally planning to implement workflow technology over the next 24 months.

To find out more or to read the full report, click here.