Professional staffing challenges

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Working with a “magic circle” law-firm shows interesting twists on the standard challenges of developing staff and experience (see HR gets dynamics with examples and models). Professional firms need ‘leverage’ – many juniors per partner – so would prefer a wide, flat pyramid. But that is only possible for easily replicated services, and smart clients know they can buy those cheaply … so top firms try to offer high-value services, but those depend critically on small numbers of specialist staff.

The trick these and others professional ...

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Benchmarking danger!

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Big accounting firm asked about staffing models [see video, from time 22.00 ] to replace dumb benchmarking [that is: best-in-class leverage – partners:juniors ratios – for each type of business?] Benchmarking is worse than useless, it is dangerous.

Like all these big accountants and other professional firms they have several lines of business [audit, tax, advisory, M&A …] each needing a different mix of juniors, managers and partners. This is a classic dynamic-model issue, with ...

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De-skilling globalising law firms

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Yet another great piece at SMS – also not yet published – from Susan Segal-Horn and Alison Dean. What happens when corporate law-firms go international? Seems from in-depth research on their reports that – amongst other things – they start de-skilling, with a larger proportion of work being done by non-qualified lawyers [paralegals etc.], and start reporting their performance differently. Instead of reporting ‘profit per equity partner’ they focus on profit per partner [all types] and ...

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