Image [cc] juhansonin

Dan: Recent reports of BigLaw staff firings got me thinking.

Jane: I hope you weren’t driving at the time.

Dan: Anyways … I came up with a brilliant idea for how law firms can reduce their cost structures. Everyone is always bitching (your specialty Jane) about how the cost structure of large firms is out of whack.

Jane: “Out of whack.” Is that a technical term?

Dan: Shut up you ignorant trollop. Back to my brilliant epiphany: Large law firms should randomly fire one-third of their administrative staff. Bingo – major cost savings.

Jane: Let me make sure I have this right. You actually were thinking, and this idea just came to you? Are you serious. Do you think most law firm administrative staff just sit around chatting? They were all hired for a reason.

Dan: Stifle your trap long enough to hear me out. I know some of these people might perform valuable functions, but it’s difficult-to-impossible to know which ones. The random firings will quickly determine which non-lawyers were valuable and which … weren’t. Firms can always hire back the ones they really need, since most of them will have a hard time finding jobs in this legal market. Problem solved!

Jane: That is wrong on so many levels. As usual, I struggle where to start in describing your idiocy. Let’s start with the practical and where the money is. If you fire the Billing people, no bills will go out and money will stop coming in. If you fire the Benefits people, your health insurance will be canceled since the bills won’t be paid. Shall I go on?

Dan: OK – the plan may have a few glitches. We’ll make sure to keep those two people. Or … wait for it … we’ll outsource their functions. Everyone knows outsourcing saves money.

Jane: It’s ironic how luddites like you fear the commoditization of law, but then jump whole-hog (pun intended you bloated bag of gas) into the commoditization of everything else about law firms. Apparently everyone, except lawyers, are fungible. Your arrogance blinds you to the fact that there are other professionals with valuable skills. As usual, you probably assume lawyers will be better at everything, so they can take over tasks when the admin staff is gone. I suppose your clients will be happy paying an associate to update your web site?

Dan: Trust me, there will be a significant number that won’t be missed, probably in IT and Marketing. So when the dust settles, the cost structure will be “fixed.”

Jane:  The real solution would be getting you “fixed.” Tell me you haven’t procreated.