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Let’s make support effective!

Law firms, like other professional practices, have made significant investments in support services to fee earners. There is also, in our sector, a growing interest in improving cost effectiveness in this area. Glynne Roberts, of WDS Consulting, highlights some truths behind ineffectiveness and outlines how practices might review aspects of their support services. Significant gain potential is there for the taking but some challenging questions may need answering.

5 June 2001

Virtually all organisations suffer from the same problem of relatively ineffective support services. This truism applies, even though there are significant differences in working practices between commercial organisation and professional (and, in particular, legal) practices.

Just what do we mean by ineffectiveness? Turning this question on its head, it is easiest to define effectiveness as doing the right, value adding things efficiently. Partners may maintain that their finance, or secretaries are very efficient, but their work is not truly effective if they spend part of their time correcting errors from other functions or tacking down missing information, albeit efficiently.  A perhaps facile example: a partner or fee earner walking briskly would not be travelling effectively, if he or she had not been briefed adequately by a secretary or had not bothered to master an A-to-Z street map!

Conversely, there may be little real value in providing a Rol...

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