Dan: Recently a number of firms have announced reductions in their secretarial ranks as a means of improving their secretary ratios – which is to say 5:1 is the new 4:1. For those not familiar with this stat – it means that the new goal is 5 timekeepers for every 1 secretary. This approach makes a lot of sense. Technology is, in many ways, displacing the traditional role of the legal secretary. Firms should take advantage of these new technological advancements and reduce their headcount to pass along a cost savings to their clients via lower rates.
Jane: You mean, because attorneys are typing their own documents, and sending their own correspondence, and managing their own schedules?
Dan: Yes, exactly. I believe I said that earlier.
Jane: And because many do their own document editing and formatting, basic data entry, and presentation creation?
Jane: And they answer their own phones and get their own coffee?
Jane: And they do all of these things better than their secretaries used to?
Jane: In less time?
Dan: No, but…
Jane: So, assuming it takes an attorney 3 hours to do a task that a secretary can do in an hour, and you have an attorney to secretary ratio of 5 to 1, rather than 4 to 1, how much more money can the firm bill in a year?
Dan: … 4 to 5, plus…??
Jane: Don’t worry about it, genius. It’s a trick question.