Welcome to the launch of the ofPartner Blog! It is my hope that this will be the first of many entries in the coming weeks, months, and years.
The purpose of this forum will be to share the insights, knowledge, and experiences of legal administrative professionals who have spent decades managing the operations of a variety of U.S. based law firms. While I will typically be the author of our posts, I will collaborate with many of my peers and former colleagues across the nation to validate and substantiate the topics being discussed. We will always welcome your suggestions for new topics as well as your input and commentary on our posts.
What Do We Mean By “Law Firm Administration”
We define law firm administration as the diverse collection of support functions that attorneys require as they practice. In short, it’s everything within a law firm’s operation except the practice of law. Although it varies somewhat by firm size and complexity, administrative operations consist of the following categories: Finance, Human Resources, Organizational Development, Business Development and Marketing, Technology, Office Services (Facilities, Mail, Messenger, Procurement, Meetings, and Travel), and Practice Support (Paralegal, Secretarial, Document Production, Records, Docket, Business In-Take, and Library).
While larger firms have developed specialized, and in some cases senior-level, positions dedicated to various functional areas, our focus will be primarily that of the professionals whose role is to manage the entire spectrum of services and deliver them to attorneys in a seamless and unified fashion. In fact, this perspective is fundamental to ofPartner’s principals as we feel the dreaded “silo effect” contributes significantly to the suppression of innovation within the operation of many firms. As a result, while we may on occasion delve into the technical workings of a particular category of support, we will more often address topics that apply to the management of administrative operations generally.
The Industries Fundamental Challenge
Law firms are in the process of changing how they practice in response to many economic and client initiated pressures. In short, firms are working very hard to “innovate” to stay relevant. Because administrative operations are a foundational component of a firm’s practice, it is critical that they also “innovate” to keep pace. However, the reality in many firms is that budgets and available resources have been significantly decreased making such innovation challenging, if not impossible. This is often why so many administrators find themselves simply “putting out the fires.”
In future posts we will attempt to define the problems faced by those attempting to improve law firm operations and work to offer thoughtful insights and prudent suggestions to implement improvements. We look forward to you visiting this blog often!
As always, feel free to write me at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or observations as we seek to improve law firm administration in these interesting times.
All my best,