Whether you are a solo lawyer or a partner at a law firm, it is important that your time is being used on what matters most. You can make better use of your time by improving task delegation. This way, you leverage staff because you invest the right level of effort, expertise and skills for tasks at your law firm. This optimises the way your law firm operates and improve profitability and competitiveness in the marketplace. With a few simple, yet powerful metrics, you can analyse which tasks need to be outsourced or delegated to paralegals or junior lawyers who bill at lower rates. This gives senior lawyers more time to focus on work that actually require their expertise and experience and contribute at a more strategic level to the firm.
Failing to delegate work to the right personnel can have a negative impact on your firm's profitability. This is because it increases the cost of delivering services when tasks; administrative work or work that require less experience and expertise, are completed by high cost resources (i.e. senior staff) instead of junior staff. Higher cost of delivery can also challenge your firm's competitiveness in the market.
You can gain control over time management, improve the profitability and competitiveness of your firm by reconfiguring and reorganising tasks assigned to staff. Here are 3 metrics to analyse how well you leverage staff, so that you can delegate tasks to achieve higher efficiency and improved productivity at your law firm.
You must have a clear view on the productivity of your firm. Tracking the average fee can help identify trends and alert you to possible productivity issues when values fall out of range.
Average fee can be calculated per client or matter:
- per client: The fee revenue for the year divided by the number of clients billed during the year.
- per matter: The fee revenue for the year divided by the number of matters billed during the year.
Average number of lawyers per client
This is the ratio of individual lawyers who generate working fees to clients on average. A change in average number of lawyers per client can alert you to work inefficiencies. With the figure you get using this metrics, you can make arrangements to better assign lawyers for your clients and/or increase your client portfolio so that you can increase the efficiency levels at your law firm.
Utilisation rate is determined by the number of billable hours worked divided by the number of unbillable hours in given week for each FTE. For example, if a lawyer works 80 hours to achieve 20 billable hours, the utilisation rate is 25%. Analysing utilisation rate can help keep attorneys billable and reduce unbillable tasks by delegating to admin staff.
Tracking these metrics can help you determine how efficient your law firm is and improve overall productivity. Numbers produced by these metrics provide you insights on the contribution of each staff member to each client/ matter of your law firm thereby allowing you to organise tasks better to maximise output.