MEMORANDUM EYES ONLY
To: The Partners
From: Dr Erasmus Strangelove, Director of Education, Strategy and Psyops
RE: Retention of staff and human capital maximisation
1. I am reviewing currently our human operational asset base for the purpose of refreshing the stock. This also ties in with an assessment of productivity of junior associate staff. I was much taken by an article in the Law Society Gazette of 30th inst by Tessa Armstrong, a Careers and Performance Coach, amusingly titled: Junior solicitors create more value, and make firms happier places.
2. Ms Armstrong clearly has the right attitude. She writes: “Increasing profitability is currently a number one priority. Everyone is pulling out all the stops to bring in work – and junior solicitors are an important resource who can help too, if attention is paid to their performance and motivation.”
Ms Armstrong then goes for it with this wonderful sentiment:
Through improving the productivity of junior solicitors, firms can achieve some great things including:
- Accelerated progression of junior solicitors through increased resilience.
- Increased commitment from staff.
- Increased profitability through reduced risk of poor performance.
All that’s needed is to ensure the challenges your junior solicitors face are identified and resolved straightaway.
3. Losing just an hour a day of a solicitor’s time at only £150 per hour for four years costs approximately £135,000. This caught my eye. Our charge out rate is, of course, rather more generous to us, but the idea of such a loss over the four years we aim to retain newly qualified staff for, before assessing how ‘sticky’ they are in our terms, is a matter of some concern. Ms Armstrong rehearses issues of feedback to staff and comes up with a list of stratagems for success: The usual guff about making lists, doing the least attractive task first, turning off mobiles etc etc etc. This advice is counter to our Blackops on twitter where we are encouraging as many of our competitors as possible to waste industrial amounts of billable time by tweeting and faffing around on Linked In; let alone our encouragement and promotion of RollonFriday.com – a wonderful resource, where young lawyers can really be distracted and, in some cases, even lose their sanity. Ms Armstrong does, however, show qualities worthy of Muttley Dastardly LLP where she states “The outcome should be that junior solicitors will be happy, motivated and focused, the number of chargeable hours recorded will increase, and profits will rise.”
4. Retention of staff: We have 12 associates in PQE4 coming up for review. Unfortunately, all of them are showing promise, all are performing to targets – our stratagem of having a P45 blown up to poster size, framed, and placed in the PQE4 Bunker, seems to have had a subliminal effect in these ‘difficult days’. I plan, therefore, with your blessing, to cull this down to 8; to allow us to bring fresh and less expensive blood in by using a device (pictured above) which I recall using at school as a child. To ensure fairness I shall make four such devices, to accommodate the names of the twelve associates, and I shall pick, at random, passages from Lord Denning’s judgment in Hightrees, and when I get to the end of the passage – using one word for each hand manipulation of the aforementioned device - for each of the four ‘devices’, the name on the left quartile shall be the one chosen for dispersal to the legal diaspora. To ensure that this process is even more random, I shall close my eyes when I pick the device up to start the process of selection.
5. May I remind Partners that we meet this Friday to consider our policy on No Win No fee in the light of the shocking news yesterday. In case you missed it, here is an article in The Guardian which explains all: The cost of clamping down on ‘no win, no fee’ legal arrangements
Dr Erasmus Strangelove
Partner and Director of Education, Strategy and Psyops, Muttley Dastardly LLP
Strength & Profits
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