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Measuring delegation to paralegals

Many in-house counsel have difficulty delegating work to their paralegals. Reasons for this, other than the lack of a capable paralegal, of course, include mistrust of others’ work, ignorance of how to effectively manage someone else, a hoarding mentality based on “I am the only one capable of doing this important work,” fear of having to do more difficult – yet more valuable – work, and no incentives.

Try this: ask your paralegals to list the sources of their work, by percentage, between clients, lawyers, and outside counsel. For the lawyer providers, ask the paralegals to go back over the past 12 months and estimate the percentage of the work from each in-house lawyer who gave them work.

The picture will then be clear about who delegates. Not the quality of work delegated, but the amount of time. (See also my post of Aug. 18, 2005 about law firms not delegating to paralegals.)

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