LOS ANGELES, March 14, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Technology has long been an area of great expense for law firms, incorporating everything from Telecommunications to IT and Computer Networks to Specialty Software. The survey revealed that technology is the additional expenditure most likely (64%) to be approved in 2011. Are these expenses being approved as a way to improve organization and functionality of the firm with a downturn of support staff?
A new survey commissioned by Expense Reduction Analysts (ERA) of Orange and Los Angeles County legal professionals and conducted by Integrated Solution Design gathered information about trends, challenges, insights and solutions related to legal expense management and reduction. The Orange County chapter of the professional resource organization SoCalPROS generously provided support for the research. www.gocapros.com/oc.htm.
2011 Legal Market Expense Management Survey
Other key findings from the online survey comprised of 809 qualified law firm registrants from 38 states included:
Keeping up Appearances
We asked how important the matter of "keeping up appearances" at their firms was. Eighty-three percent of the participants stated clearly that the matter of "keeping up appearances" was either "Very Important" (38%) or "Important" (45%).
Law Firms' Paper & Printing Waste
Despite the economic downturn of recent years, the reported paper and printing waste has continued to get worse, as reported by nearly half of the participants. What this data shows, was that an overwhelming 3:1 majority of the respondents said that half of all of their documents that they print at their firm were unimportant. Some respondents reported up to a 90% unimportant document printing level.
Greening/Recycling of Law Firms
Participants were asked how important was the perception of green, ecological policies at their firms. Over two-thirds reported that this was "Important" (44%) or "Very Important" (23%). The two primary factors reported in the success of green/recycling programs at their firms were first the "Demands on the firm and firm culture" as well as the statement that "Habits only change from the top down."
Law Industry Expenses
The law firms clearly have some expenditure areas that were an issue only in the legal industry, such as Process Servers, Paralegal Staffing, Court Reporters, and Malpractice Insurance. Malpractice Insurance, of these legal industry areas of expenses, was the highest at 59%.
Expense Reduction/Budget Management
Who at the firm really makes budget decisions? Answers varied. 72% overall said that managing partners get involved in expense analysis, vendor fees, and budget review, but when analyzing a cross-segment based on position at the firm the responses split: 81% of management executives surveyed reported involvement of the managing partners, while support/administrative staff reported only 67%.
"Our new research suggests law firms have committed to making reductions where needed, but they are moving forward enthusiastically—looking for new ways to save on expenses," said Marylou Garcia, managing director of Expense Reduction Analysts of Greater Los Angeles and Orange County. "And that's where we come in. By bringing in ERA, law firms can realize deep savings that can potentially enable them to minimize staff cuts, benefit reductions, and pay freezes. This allows law firms to maintain their greatest asset – their talent – and be able to continue to thrive and grow in varied economic environments."
Focus Group. Survey. Whitepaper.
The survey process started with a focus group of major law firms in Los Angeles and Orange County to discuss the value of inventing a new legal paradigm for reducing non-billable hours. The results were unexpected. Not only did we collect surprising insights into the financial challenges in the legal community, the lively and forthcoming collaborative nature of the focus group's events – and the subsequent detailed knowledge gained – were invaluable.
Download a Copy of the Whitepaper: Talk with the Experts
To download a copy of the complete whitepaper and to register for a SoCalPROS webinar discussing the research findings and its impact on the legal community, go to www.legalexpensesurvey.com.
About Expense Reduction Analysts
Since 1992 Expense Reduction Analysts has performed more than 14,000 successful cost reduction projects, helping organizations find an average savings of 20% in their overhead spend. Their clients come from a broad range of industries including professional services, manufacturing, retail, healthcare, non-profits, education, legal and government.
In commissioning this research, Marylou Garcia, managing director of Expense Reduction Analysts of Greater Los Angeles and Orange counties, enthusiastically embarked on this study with the belief that "you can't layoff your way to profitability." http://www.expensereduction.com
Integrated Solution Design produced, compiled and analyzed the research, developed the campaign, microsite, marketing and communications, and authored the whitepaper for the "2011 Legal Market Expense Management Survey." www.integratedsolutiondesign.com
To download a copy of the complete whitepaper and to register for a webinar discussing the research findings and its impact on the legal community, go to www.legalexpensesurvey.com.
SOURCE Expense Reduction Analysts