IT & the Lawyer

Staff ratios and IT

When it comes to the adoption of investment in technology, Seth Rowland disagrees with the approach which begins with the question "How can I decrease my staff ratio?" - i.e. a cost side approach. He disagrees because the multiples achieved from investment in technology for the purpose of staff reduction is finite. He prefers to take a productivity approach - rather ask "How can I increase the productivity of my existing staff?". He suggests that an investment in technology be evaluated in terms of (1) increasing the volume of business that can be handled by each attorney, (2) increasing the profit margin on each transaction/matter handled, (3) increasing the quality of the attorney work-product, or (4) increasinge the perception of client service.

He then goes on to look at a number of business processes and technologies that will increase the productivity of one's staff and allow more matters to be handled in the same limited amount of available time. These processes and technologies will save time wasted on inefficiencies, therefore leading to an increase in the number of truly billable hours in the day.

These are:

  1. Case Management and Docketing Systems;
  2. Litigation Support Systems;
  3. Client Information Databases;
  4. Time & Billing Data;
  5. E-mail and Database-based Discussion Groups;
  6. Adobe Acrobat(r); and
  7. Instant Communication Tools -- Pagers and/or Cell Phones and EFax/HotMail.
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