The power of the PA

Capsticks is a firm in a tough sector – public health – where pricing is as keen as it gets. Consequently over the past few years Capsticks has been striving to make its business as efficient and client-focused as possible. In practice, that has meant putting in place a structure for supporting its fee-earners as effectively as possible via upskilling its business support staff.

At Capsticks, the results have been little short of phenomenal. Using a mix of outsourced resource (via Intelligent Office) and internal know-how the firm has increased its fee-earner headcount by about 130 per cent since 2009, but only grown support headcount at just over a quarter of that rate. It has also increased the PA to fee-earner ratio from 1:2.3 to 1:6.4; increased team utilisation and typing speed by 32 per cent; and reduced the overall cost of document production by 25 per cent. Oh, and it’s achieved firm-wide revenue growth of £11.5m between 2009/10 (£26m) and 2013/14 (projected £37.5m).

Matt Byrne
Matt Byrne

In our special report on practice management on 21 April, The Lawyer will look in more detail at the moves Capsticks and several other firms have made in this respect, either by the use of outsourcing or by internal restructurings. Don’t miss it.

Also in today’s issue of The Lawyer Management the increasingly relevant topic of cyber security raises its head, with a timely opinion from BAE System’s Tom Burton on the threats facing law firms. There are also briefings from HP Autonomy on information governance and Datacert on Third-Party Risk Management.

And don’t forget to check out how your firm has fared in The Lawyer’s first-ever debt rankings.