The rise of the legal resource manager – part 2

Posted by Alex Tring, global head of consulting for resource management at Legal Futures Associate BigHand

Tring: High-impact career path

In my blog last week, I wrote about why the legal industry has seen a huge rise in demand for dedicated resource manager roles and how hybrid working alongside other challenges have accelerated this need in 2022.

This week, I want to dig a little deeper into the benefits of these roles and how tech is key to unlocking that value.

The benefits of a structured approach to work allocation which encompasses the right people, technology and data can be felt strongly by a firm and its partners, but even more acutely by associates.

At BigHand, we’ve seen the resource management frameworks we’ve helped to introduce become extremely popular with associate populations, and we’ve seen the change work best when it’s designed as something for the lawyers.

Talent retention and law firm profitability

A consistent and transparent approach to how work finds its way to a particular desk, and how workloads are balanced across teams, alongside someone proactively advocating for you to gain access to work that is important or of most interest to you, is an attractive proposition for an associate.

Let’s not forget, a firm’s ability to manage its resources effectively can also have a very real impact on profitability.

Our recent survey of over 800 legal professionals showed that 67% of firms have received pressure from clients to make sure legal work is completed by the most cost-effective resource, and yet 45% admit there is little resource allocation/matter staffing in their firm focused on matter profitability.

With the right solution, firms can see an almost immediate return on investment when introducing technology to drive and underpin a structured approach to resource management.

Our research would suggest this need has not gone unnoticed by firm leaders, with 83% confirming they already have a dedicated resource management technology in place or plan to implement a solution over the next 12 to 24 months.

A holistic approach

When implementing or reinvigorating any framework around resource management, we’ve found the most value can be achieved when a holistic approach is taken across tech, people, process and change management.

The resource manager will for many firms play a key role; however, the extent of the value they can deliver will in part be dictated by the quality of the tools and data they have available to them.

Resource managers know this and firms may find that they struggle to attract the best resource manager talent into their business if they don’t have the right technology or commitment to investment in place.

It’s important to emphasise that it is not blind allocation based squarely on capacity and prior experience we’re talking about here. This is a consultative and considered approach, based on relationships and data, which aims to bring all factors into the decision-making process and arrive at the best outcome for partner, client and associate.

The opportunity for law firm resource managers is broad. There is big demand for good people that will grow as more and more firms see the value and accelerate their resource management journey.

The role includes elements of HR, operations and practice management heads and is both commercial and people orientated in nature. What’s clear is that resource managers are here to stay and now is an excellent time to be making the move into an exciting and high-impact law firm career path.

To read our full research findings, access the legal resource management report here.


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