An app designed to lift pressure on lawyers burdened by heavy workloads, improving wellbeing and reducing expensive recruitment, has arrived in the UK from Scandinavia.
It allows hard-pressed associates within a firm to indicate a heavy workload and declare themselves unavailable for more work, while under-worked lawyers can similarly label themselves as available.
The ‘capacity management’ app, Wemble, which is in use in several leading law firms in Norway, Sweden and Finland, has also been adopted by a firm in the US. Its owners are currently in talks with at least one magic circle law firm based here, among other UK firms.
Claimed to improve both work/life balance and productivity due to its ability to distribute work seamlessly, and provide lawyers and managers with an overview of how busy their colleagues are, the app introduces transparency into a firm’s workflow. Skills and competencies are listed with the aim of speeding up accurate resource allocation.
Integration into Microsoft Teams makes the app ‘user-friendly’, the company said.
Wemble was written by a 15-year-old Swedish schoolboy named Hugo Falk, who was already known for creating the award-winning education app ‘Learn It’ when he was just aged 12. Now 18, Mr Falk has teamed up with other entrepreneurs, hoping to expand his latest app across Europe and North America.
Speaking from Sweden, Mr Falk told Legal Futures: “Some people have way too much to do and others have too little to do. This means some people get burnt out and leave law firms, which is a huge and costly problem.”
While some were overworked, “we have other people who never get anything to do and feel like they’ll never become partner because they never get challenged”.
He asked himself: “Could we just build a simple app where they can report their workload and we can use that data to delegate in a more efficient manner?”
He said the app was beneficial to stress levels, plus departments found they could improve output because they could find available associates more accurately. People self-designate their busyness and armed with the information, partners do not add to their workloads.
He added that people like to see how busy they colleagues were. This meant the app was actually popular, dealing with a problem faced by existing under-used workflow apps. Having a window into your colleagues’ work lives introduced a “fun, interactive” element into Wemble, Mr Falk claimed.
Fellow founder Rebin Kadir told Legal Futures: “The UK market is very important to us… The trend of work/life balance is a highly-prioritised initiative amongst many mid- and large-sized law firms, which creates a demand for digital solutions that focus on the autonomy of the associates for a change.”