Think for a moment. If you were general counsel and you opened a budget account for each of your lawyers with $20,000 and you told them they could pay an administrative assistant $30 an hour. Assuming three lawyers for every admin, each fully-used admin would make $50-60,000. Or, if some lawyers chose to use an admin for less time they can pocket any amount they spent less than $20,000.
Such an internal market, a shared service where clients can choose to use the service or not for a fee, would quickly demonstrate which admins work well and productively and which lawyers want or need admin services.
Right, problems pop up – all the difficulties that spring to mind. But the kernel of this proposition holds: use-based payments, meritocracy, and a free market based on real money.