Professional staffing challenges

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 firms would like to pull off is to “proceduralise” specialist, high-value work so that less-skilled juniors can do it … delivering high fees at low cost. Key to this is codifying and deploying that specialist knowledge, which we know how to do! The impressive thing with this magic-circle firm is how deeply they understand all the many issues in this simple principle, and how sophisticated are the systems and processes they use.

Since this original post, the whole issue is thrown up in the air with the possibilities of AI – a threat not just to the routine legal processes


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