Editor’s Note: eDepoze, by eDepoze, is a workflow technology in post e-discovery litigation events powering lawyers to reduce costs and increase efficiency.
Workflow technology is key to successfully improving efficiency and arming law firms for high-quality service, one columnist writes.
Since the economic downturn, the legal industry has experienced dramatic changes. After the initial market crash in 2008, law firm revenues have been slow to recover. In an article in The New York Times, authors of a survey from Citi Private Bank’s quarterly report on the legal industry were quoted saying, “the demand for traditional law firm services has remained relatively soft, the supply of legal service providers has increased, creating a hypercompetitive market and forcing law firms to think about how they deliver legal services.”
Clients have started requesting service level agreements (SLA) to ensure they are getting the best value for their money. Given that trend, law firm leaders have had to look for new ways to control costs and be more aggressive with their billing practices in order to maintain profitability and meet client demands. In addition, according to the 2016 Altman Weil Law Firms in Transition Survey, 95.5 percent of managing partners and law firm chairs believe the trend of more price competition is permanent.
Initially when the market shifted, firms turned to cutting administrative staff to decrease their costs. However, it was soon clear that this type of short-term solution had significant drawbacks. The remaining support staff were expected to do the same amount of work with fewer people, leading to increased stress and compromised work quality and customer service. More recently, there’s been a trend to consolidate back office work to an administrative pool, an off-site (less expensive) location or even a third-party service provider in an ongoing effort to reduce overhead and waste. In fact, the 2016 study Trends and Opportunities in Law Firm Outsourcing conducted for Williams Lea noted that almost half (45 percent) of firms surveyed reported centralizing their back office functions.
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