The AmLaw 100 press releases have been sending around information that, from a legal perspective, profits are rosy. “Profits and Revenues Hit Record Highs”; “Profits Surge”; “Rise in Revenue, Profits” and even “It’s Back to 2008”.
Now, it’s clear that administrative cuts really happened. In fact, notes the poster of a recent 3 Geeks and a Law Blog, we may never actually go back to the 2008 budgets or staffing again. But rather than claiming that the budget has to be slashed, a clear-eyed look by internet marketing and library sciences numbers crunchers will show that administration monies should be kept where they are, or redirected. It’s the spending that has to be tweaked.
Just to list a few of the “we have to cut funds” excuses that the author, Greg Lambert (pictured here), has heard, they include: “Everyone has to wear multiple hats,” and “Clients just aren’t paying for that any longer.” Lambert, who’s received an award for best use of technology, wants to dispel the myth that the only way to come out on top is to continue to slash budgets for sorely needed products or services, like crucial information services.
The last two or three years were severe, yes, but the cuts tended to weed out serious inefficiencies and streamline the overall administrative functions, says Lambert. Cutting services will eventually “catch up with us,” he adds. “We’re at a cross-roads.” What’s needed is to roll up our sleeves and work on a new business model that will improve services and eradicate the “sloppiness” that caused the staffing and servicing cuts to begin with.
And those high profit announcements should be addressed. Because when large profits are being advertised, vendors will continue to assume it’s all status quo and raise their prices accordingly. “Didn’t your firm just report that it had its best year ever?” vendors might be tempted to ask, right before slapping you with another 10% increase in subscription fees.
“Those of us in the non-lawyer side of things have to start [coming up with] ways to keep the costs down while at the same time bringing services back up to an acceptable level. This is what provides the firm with the resources it needs. Bottom line: lawyers need to scour their expenditure report and see where the money’s being spent. “Time to put away the excuse of ‘we don’t have the money’ and time to start developing the new business model of ‘we can’t afford to waste our time, effort and money on _____, any longer.’ ”
Additionally, an astute commentator came up with the following: “I wish every partner, manager and director would read this blog. Questions like this challenge the firm-vendor, firm-client, and firm-staff relationships…” From this non-lawyer’s point of view, it’s also obvious that those with their heads in the sand about this are in danger, themselves, of becoming obsolete or are “plotting their exits”.
Finally, it merits noting that when something’s moving along seamlessly, as the sort of well-designed service or work product that information management puts out is wont to do, no one will notice, and it might be lost in the shuffle or, worse, shunted aside. “…[I]s it going to be a game of manufacturing statistics to justify the budget expense, or will they accept our word?” To read more, go to http://www.geeklawblog.com/2011/02/your-budget-was-cut-again-but-didnt.html