International law firm Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner (BCLP) will redesign how work is allocated across its litigation practice in North America, supported by resource management specialists BigHand. The decision comes after a successful similar project within BCLP’s transaction practice in the UK and Europe.
As part of this process, BCLP decided to move away from the traditional partner-led work allocation model, an approach that can create unconscious bias that limits equitable access to opportunities. In addition to meeting BCLP’s inclusion goals, creating an operationally managed process for all work allocation will improve overall use of skills, smoothing out the peaks and troughs in demand throughout the lawyer population.
The project includes the creation of a dedicated resource manager role to act on behalf of partners to identify suitable associates, using data to enhance and support the process. The new role will save significant partner time, while ensuring the career plans of each individual lawyer are considered – from the partners they want to work with to their evolving areas of interest.
The overall approach is underpinned by BigHand’s Resource Management Technology, which allows law firms to identify resources, forecast utilization, manage workloads and add structure to career development for lawyers. The solution delivers real-time visibility of lawyer availability, improved profitability on matters and supports law firm diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) goals for equitable allocation of work.
“After seeing the successful implementation of our BigHand work allocation project in Europe, we look forward to extending its use to the U.S.,” commented Global Department Leader for Litigation & Investigations, Lee Marshall. “BigHand’s approach to resource management, accompanied by its technology, means that we expect to see the same equity of work between our associates as well as helping to drive our DEI efforts.”
Director of Inclusion & Diversity (US) Tommy Shi added, “Our clients don’t want to see lawyers working around the clock; they want to see what we are doing to shift the dial and address equal opportunity throughout the business. The BigHand Resource Management technology will provide a structure and a system that helps us demonstrate how we ensure all associates receive a fair share of work, and we can demonstrate to clients that we have the ability to scale work up and down, ensuring lawyer time is always best used across different matters for optimal delivery.”