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What if a law department gave each attorney an allowance to pay for support?

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.

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2 responses to “What if a law department gave each attorney an allowance to pay for support?”

  1. Coco F. says:

    Hey Rees, ever consider spending some of that dough on librarians? Who do you think bails the attorneys out when they need a crucial piece of info that they can’t find because they never learned how to do effective legal research? In fact, I don’t think I’ve seen you post on the value of librarians… or maybe you don’t find them valuable??

  2. If an in-house counsel learned their firm was doing this – basically rewarding a lawyer for doing work himself rather than letting it find it’s right staff level – they’d cry bloody murder. Lawyers should be incentivized to get their admins and paralegals to do as much as possible so they can focus on highest level/most valuable work.