Assigning Icons to Lawyers
A business is generally out of balance in more than one area at any given time. Almost any problem in our business will be quickly reflected in our Critical Numbers or other collected data.
Workloads among the Lawyers and among the Paralegals will take constant monitoring and adjusting to try to maintain reasonable balances especially during slack times. Guidelines follow.
Business Staff Assigning Icons to LawyersIcons should be scheduled with Lawyers through a balanced rotation process.However other considerations can influence each specific scheduling decision, such as -1. A Lawyer can be skipped because she is temporarily too busy, in court, on vacation etc. Lawyers skipped in rotation and losses by Icon cancellations should get makeup Icons2. When an Icon requests to be scheduled with a particular lawyer, that should happen but such out of rotation scheduling should be offset to create a balance3. A lawyer wants to be taken out of rotation until further notice4. If an Associate requests extra Icons and she has less active clients or less current work than other Associatesshe should get extra Icons5. Marilyn for business balancing purposes or for any other reason may preempts protocol. Things that should not influence assigning Icons1. Personal feelings.2. An Associate requesting extra Icons when she does not have less active clients or less current work than other Associates.
By the end of the month the number of Icons for each Lawyer should be about the same for the month; and the prior (3) calendar months’ number of Icons for each Lawyer should be about the same; unless a Lawyer is happy with a smaller portion and/or influenced the imbalance actively or inadvertently or because Marilyn changed protocol.
Assigning Clients and Work to Paralegals
Associates becoming assigned to a Client (not Marilyn’s exclusive or keeper Clients)
Associates that become assigned to a Client will normally name their Paralegal Teammate as assigned Paralegal. However, for various reasons, such as at Marilyn’s discretion, any Paralegal may be assigned to any case and/or be used for part(s) of a case. Marilyn likes to work with each Paralegal for ongoing observations, training and for fostering continuity.
Marilyn assigning her keeper Clients to Associates
All Associates need to be able, willing and available to take on Marilyn’s Clients when asked by Marilyn Associates that want Marilyn’s assigned Clients will normally get them over Lawyers who prefer not to have them. Marilyn will usually assign a Paralegal to her Clients immediately upon getting a case and if Marilyn assigns an Associate it will be after the case gets started. Once a Paralegal is assigned to a Client, that will usually not change even if the Client is later assigned to an Associate who’s Teammate is a different Paralegal.
Marilyn for business balancing purposes or for any other reason may preempts protocol. The Lawyer/Paralegal Team is not exclusive. Any Paralegal may be assigned to a Marilyn keeper Client or another Associate’s Client. For example, Associates should be able to utilize a Paralegal other than her own when her Paralegal does not need or want more work and when another Paralegal does. Other valid reasons will occur especially considering that (4) lawyers are utilizing only (3) Paralegals and business dynamics come into play.
This emailed to all 5/22/15 –
Please everyone understand how busy and overloaded Julie and Ashley have become trying to keep up with work delegated by (4) attorneys. We are weeks, perhaps months, from hiring a third Paralegal and then there will be a suitable training period before this new Paralegal is effective.
Although we had been in a slump for many months, that appears to be more or less over, especially with our Legal Staff shortage (one less Paralegal). Of course that means an opportunity to follow the best business practices for this new era. Until we have a replacement Paralegal hired, trained and up to speed it is imperative that some or all of the below adjustments are made –
Coping techniques in times of “Feast” (caused by new client overload or sudden Legal Staff shortage) –
1. Screen out the more marginal client applicants from scheduling Icons (by Business Staff).
2. Screen out the more marginal Icons from hiring us (by Associates whom should refer some of the less wanted Icons out as is prudent).
3. Our lawyers should-could-may do more or less of the work normally delegated to Paralegals to fairly distribute billed hours between themselves and the Paralegals.
4. Associates can only be protected from burnout by being able to somewhat control their own workload destiny by saying “no” or “not right now” on taking on any particular new client.
5. Paralegals can only be protected from burnout by being able to somewhat control their own workload destiny by saying “no” or “not right now” on taking on any particular new client or any extra work offered by an Associate.
An Associate may elect to take on a client with no Paralegal support expected or demanded.
6. Slow up on cases that can tolerate it to spread the work out over the future (by Associates).
7. Negotiate the work start date for certain new clients to spread the work out over the future (initially perhaps by Business Staff but especially by Associates).
Please note that Paralegals only have #5 to protect themselves.
This emailed to all 12/10/14
When everyone is overloaded, there seems to be over delegation pressures that do not exist in slower times like now. When Marilyn distributes her cases unevenly, Paralegal demand fluctuates. So the problem seems erratic, elusive and cyclical. Since Pauline started, Marilyn has designated Pauline and Michelle on some of her clients, notably Bader, Lona; Chisum, Michael and Quintana where in November Pauline billed 24.5 hours out of her 92.3 hours total for those clients. What would Pauline’s billed hours have been in November without Michelle delegating her work?
As of 1/1/16
In last 2 months the Paralegals averaged 100 hours per month billing; Associates averaged 100.In last 3 months the Paralegals averaged 103 hours per month billing; Associates averaged 102.
In last 4 months the Paralegals averaged 105 hours per month billing; Associates averaged 104.
In last 5 months the Paralegals averaged 106 hours per month billing; Associates averaged 107.
In last 6 months the Paralegals averaged 107 hours per month billing; Associates averaged 106.
[Note Paralegal hours per month pretty much mirror Associate hours per month – this is commendable and shows that the Associates are spreading around their ‘wealth’.]
Occasionally I hear concerns about fairness in divvying up Paralegal time, but all in all I don’t see anywhere to improve the administration of this somewhat free-for-all, somewhat exclusive and somewhat non-exclusive Paralegal Pool. ‘We’ seem to be doing reasonably well about 1/2 of each year.