2021 ALPMA/BigHand Australasian Workflow Management & Productivity Research



Report released on

30 June 2021

StatusReport Available

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The Legal Workflow Management Survey 2021 was the largest of its kind in the global legal industry!

By gathering in-depth data from over 900 senior Operations, HR and Secretarial Services professionals working at law firms around the globe, we're able to get unique insight into the latest back-office trends including:

  • Lawyer and support staff working practices.
  • Law firm plans for hybrid working.
  • Team structures and the allocation of legal work.
  • The impact of the pandemic on billable hours and staffing rates.
What do the results look like for APAC firms?

The results demonstrate that if APAC firms want to compete against global law firms then they need to act now. The data shows that the UK and NA firms have progressed substantially to accommodate the ever-changing legal sector but firms in APAC are falling behind (for the most part).

Only 25% of APAC respondents indicated they have made changes to their support teams, by restructuring or introducing teams, since the pandemic began. 64% confirm support staff are being utilised the same since the pandemic, and only 4% say they have been used less—which is more than likely linked to the fact that fewer firms have made the changes to support team structures.

In terms of the impact of this on billable hours, 57% of APAC firms say billable hours have reduced or stayed the same. Could this have been improved if the structural changes were already in place?

In terms of hybrid working, 56% in APAC confirm lawyers are working outside of office hours, and 47% say support staff are embracing flexible hours. However, facilitating hybrid working for support staff is a priority for just 25%.

There is a need for better visibility of work allocation too—with 53% of APAC firms citing the need for lawyers to undertake more administrative work, instead of delegating to support staff, as a potential challenge of hybrid working.

46% of APAC firms say clients expect work to be completed by the most cost-effective resource. However, only 60% said they know the total cost of support teams to the firm and a third (33%) of APAC firms are manually monitoring some factors such as the volume and type of support tasks, capacity and utilization of support staff and turnaround times.

However, it would seem that firms understand the need for change, at least for technology, with over half of APAC firms (53%) planning to implement workflow technology over the next 24 months.

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If you have any questions about the research or need assistance, please contact our research team.

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