The services we provide our clients, at face value, are not unique. Services such as front of house, print and mailroom, records management, administrative support, document production, and PA services can be seen on the sites of many law firms, particularly in the UK Top 100 firms.
These are functions that law firms are absolutely capable of delivering themselves. So, why do law firms outsource their secretarial and administrative support functions to us?
At Intelligent Office, it’s our approach to providing these and the scale at which we do it so successfully that has put us ahead of other BPO providers and in-house teams.
Successfully maximising the value from each function within a law firm requires dedication to the people and processes within them, coupled with a comprehensive understanding of what excellence looks like in that function.
In law firms, fee earners are at the forefront of the firm’s focus. The value of business development and IT functions are increasingly recognised at board level, finance teams are deemed a necessity, and HR are heavily relied upon to source top talent, an ongoing requirement for a successful firm.
Secretarial and administrative support functions often get sidelined, which causes a lot of the problems law firms experience with those functions today.
Maximising the value law firms see from their secretarial and administrative support functions is our sole and unwavering focus. It’s the reason we can extract a value from them in months that law firms haven’t been able to achieve in years.
That value improvement, for the most part, looks like…
Better standard of output
To your firm, fee earners are driving your growth and profitability, they receive the most attention as a result. When you outsource to Intelligent Office, your secretarial and administrative support functions are what become our driver for growth and profit and they receive our full focus as a result while your firm’s fee earners become our client.
There are quick improvements we can make to output such as reducing the amount paid to some third-party suppliers (which we can do because of our combined buying power) or creating Standard Operating procedures that help us train our people to improve the quality and consistency of what we do. But our focus is always on long-term improvements to quality and efficiency and aligning administrative functions with a firm’s objective.
To us, this means providing the excellent service your fee earners need to deliver a high standard of work in a cost-efficient way for the firm.
We train our staff to a much higher standard on all the technical elements of the tasks they do, often increase the range of tasks that they do and put management tools in place to ensure these high standards never falter.
One of the most intangible benefits of our service is the positive culture we work hard to build and nurture.
Through training and support programmes, secretarial and administrative support staff, who often feel undervalued and unappreciated, can begin to realise their value. This is reflected in how they are perceived by their customers within our clients.
One of the most memorable pieces of feedback we’ve ever received was a client informing us that since Intelligent Office came on board, their secretarial and administrative support staff now stand two inches taller.
Before working with Intelligent Office, many fee earners can feel dissatisfied with the flexibility of their secretarial and administrative support staff. Often, this stems from secretarial and administrative support teams pushing back on work because they ‘don’t have time’ or are busy supporting somebody else.
The processes, training and management incentives Intelligent Office put in place make secretarial and administrative support functions feel more capable of turning around work much more quickly than before. This is because the work is carried out in an effective way—by the right functions (and people) with the relevant training required, and with an understanding of how long the tasks should take.
Secretarial and administrative support teams are also encouraged and incentivised to find ways of improving the speed of delivery even further. Whether that’s through working with other functions, improving the workflow from fee earner to secretarial and administrative support, or by using a new piece of technology.
Our extensive network—a headcount of 810, spanning 47 sites and four onshore service centres—is a major benefit to our clients.
One of our commitments to clients is the consistent adoption of best practice. This comes from the importance we place on knowledge sharing within the business. Using our network, secretarial and administrative support teams are able to continually challenge each other and the conventional way of doing things, to improve the lives of both fee earners and their clients.
Staff encourage one another to be proactive, whether that comes to problem-solving or making recommendations for ways to improve services, do them more quickly, or to increase their scope.
A productive partnership
We focus on making sure that there is a tight-knit partnership between law firms’ management, our customers within each client and Intelligent Office members of staff. We don’t see the two as separate from one another.
While we provide impactful secretarial and administrative support services, alongside this we aim to build and nurture a new kind of relationship between fee earner and secretarial and administrative support—one that can satisfy the needs of both clients/fee earner AND the firm. The role of the fee earner is always evolving, and Intelligent Office’s teams are always capable of evolving with them.
Getting fee earners onboard
Fee earners might sometimes be resistant to outsourcing their secretarial and administrative support to us—they believe that the way they’re accustomed to working could change dramatically. However, this isn’t the case. We work with each practice team to establish an appropriate rate of change—one that pushes the firm forward at a pace, and in a way, they’re comfortable with.
It’s why we renew contracts again, and again, and again.
To start a conversation about your secretarial and administrative support functions today, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 44 (0) 345 658 9443.