In today's dynamic and competitive world, a law firm includes many moving parts such as various practice groups, partners, associates, offices in multiple locations, legal support staff, etc. Ensuring smooth functioning can be very challenging. These days, the main challenge with law firms is limited resources. Add to that, there is a high percentage of attrition because of competition and salary wars. Yet another issue is that assigning partners tend to make their choice depending on inaccurate capacity and availability data. Mostly, they do not have the right insight into what people are aligned to and working on. Also, the associates can't usually decline any tasks assigned to them and thus, end up being over-booked. The best solution for resource management in law firms is implementing a centralized resource allocation software. Such a tool can integrate all data such as associate availability, their skill set, utilization, and training needs so that every resource gets aligned to the right team or project and there is balanced workload distribution.
Benefits of Resource Allocation Software in Streamlining Resource Work Allocation
1. Identifying the challenges
The right resource allocation software is highly scalable and is capable of storing and managing huge volumes of human-resources data; be it for a small team or department or a large, global, multinational organization. Such an AI-enabled system ensures stores accurate data about each team member's competencies, skills, expertise, and caseloads in an automated way. It enables you to identify all the gaps or challenges and then use relevant data to provide insightful, actionable, and comprehensive reports on important metrics like in-demand skills, capacity, resource utilization rates, and forecasts on future resourcing requirements.
2. Gauge the resource availability and capacity
To do resource work allocation effectively, a firm must have a centralized system in place so that the supervisors can monitor utilization and associate availability. This is one of the key features of a centralized resource allocation software as to effectively assign resources to any tasks, you need real-time visibility into their capacity, how busy are they, and who are the ones who have the bandwidth to take on more work. Lawyer availability could be easily tracked and estimated in various measures. For example, by hours available or busy hours, the percentage of free time free or busy time, etc. You can also configure the tool or use colour coding, where red could mean the least availability or that the lawyer is booked completely, and green could mean that there is availability. Filling in time schedules or tracking time only requires a couple of minutes from an associate. But this data helps a lot in calculating an associate or lawyer's actual billable hours and utilization rate. This figure can be compared to the forecast of their availability to understand how precise they are in their projections.
3. Understand each associate's competencies, expertise, and training needs
By assessing the skills and expertise of employees, the firm can get real-time visibility of the competencies, experience, and interest each associate carries. This data can be very useful while doing resource work allocation and resource management in law firms. This way, the firms can use the right person with the right skills on each case or opportunity, which further provides a chance to the associates to learn and hone themselves. Such a tool acts as a skills library or repository of all the organization-wide competencies that each associate must ideally have. For example, management skills, client relationship building skills, business development skills, etc. and anything else that may be necessary for practice groups.
4. Find the best lawyer for projects and cases
Imagine having your data scattered in multiple spreadsheets and systems. This makes it difficult for your resource and project managers and partners to make the right resourcing decisions. What if you could get all data such as capacity, availability, resource utilization, and competencies in one centralized platform? Won't that help you make smooth and well-informed resource work allocation decisions? The right resource allocation software can enable you to have the best-suited team possible for every project. A centralized resource work allocation helps partners and managers to add new cases and projects to the system and then easily submit requests for the associate requirement. You can also add details like if it is billable or non-billable work, the assigning attorney, the estimated effort, or hours, what is the number of people or associates needed, etc. Depending on the request criteria, you can use advanced filters of such a tool and quickly find the right associates who have availability. You can also track the associate's billable rate, where they are located, and other details.
5. Plan and organize your capacity to meet the demand
Tracking resource availability and utilization helps in monitoring workload distribution and overall capacity. This, in turn, helps law firms to determine their hiring needs. A resource allocation software offers real-time visibility into employees' workload and managers can ensure that no team member is under or overutilized. You can also make sure that associates don't end up doing similar projects or work which can get monotonous. Having balanced workload distribution also reduces the risk of dissatisfaction, burnout, and attrition. Thus, such a tool comes in very handy for streamlining resource management in law firms.
6. Train, retain, and attract the right talent for the right work
If the associates are allocated quality and challenging projects that are of interest to them, firms would be able to attract and retain talent with the right opportunities and experience that they are seeking to further their careers. Imagine if you could make such staffing decisions that leads to equitable workloads, while also ensuring every associate's development. A centralized resource allocation software offers a holistic view of all resources, their hourly work, performance, productivity, and their career progression. This data can be used for making individual development plans and help hone their professional skills further. Skills tracking further strengthen resource work allocation and helps businesses derive benefit from mentoring opportunities, particularly in client matters. It also provides a roadmap of the competencies to the associates, which helps them to become well-rounded professionals.
7. Balance resources and staffing across office locations and practice groups
In the law field, it is not enough for one practice group to control the task of resource work allocation. It will be more effective when the entire firm is strategically balanced. Though many times, firms may want to bring in people from another office location or practice group. However, mostly there's no easy way out to find which associate is available or qualified. By having a resource allocation process across the firm, the firms can widen their resource pool as required. They can just log into the resource allocation software, and in a few steps, they can know who is available across the organization and what are their skills.
8. Use the latest technology to help you in resource management in law firms
As we discussed, to be able to manage resource work allocation effectively, law firms must adopt the right approach to resource planning. By implementing an AI-enabled resource management tool, law firms can automate their resource planning, allocation, scheduling, and management processes to identify available capacity, and assign projects to the right professionals with the required skills and availability in minutes. By using a real-time, centralized resource work allocation platform like eResource Scheduler, you can enable the partners or resource managers to assess the availability and associate workload at any time, from anywhere. Not only that, the law firms can gain visibility into individual or team capacity and can plan and allocate associates more effectively. They can also track which are the resources that may be overloaded or in danger of not reaching their billable hours. This enables their partners to have clarity and re-align people to get a better work output from their team.
Achieve Seamless Resource Management in Law Firms with eResource Scheduler
Resource work allocation and capacity planning is key step in executing a project or business successfully. An AI-enabled and cloud-based tool such as eResource Scheduler proves to be a boon for law firms. You can have all the information and data about your resources, cases, projects, etc. on one centralized platform. This enables doing resource management in law firms effectively in a few easy steps. You can also track the status of the projects, and productivity of associates while making sure that no resource is over-booked and the ideal utilization rate is maintained. With eResource Scheduler, law firms can plan, allocate, assign, and manage resource work allocation efficiently. This top-rated tool's features like the easy-to-understand and intuitive interface, detailed reports, drag and drop functionality, time-tracking, etc. help in assigning the best resources to suitable projects. This tool provides real-time visibility which helps in planning ahead and easily estimating your team's or any individual's capacity, effort, utilization, performance, etc. automatically. Do you have specific questions about this tool? Log in for a free trial and streamline resource management in law firms.Next Blog Previous Blog