CMS Cameron McKenna drafts in resource management guru to allocate work to junior lawyers

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By Thomas Connelly on

Increased red tape will improve efficiency… apparently


Corporate heavyweight CMS Cameron McKenna has added a resource management guru to the firm’s payroll, whose sole responsibility is to dish out work to its lawyers.

The new system — which is currently being subjected tested on 100 associates within the firm’s UK corporate team — aims to improve efficiency by reducing the time it takes CMS partners to divvy out work.

Lawyers who are taking part in the pilot must complete a futuristic sounding “skills matrix” that identifies their key strengths, areas they are looking to improve on, and the sort of work that appeals to them.

London based consultancy firm Mason & Cook will provide the new dedicated resource guru.

The firm’s website is chock-full of recommendations from City law firm partners and lawyers. One anonymous senior lawyer described Dave Cook — the firm’s managing director — as radiating “a quiet confidence and competence”, while another simply trumpeted Cook as “a pioneer”.

Speaking to The Lawyer (£), CMS head of UK corporate Charles Currier said:

The resource manager allocates work for the whole UK team, so that’s London and our three offices in Scotland. Because we’re a single team the plan is to have much more fungibility of resource and therefore to have associates in Scotland being able to work on transactions run by partners in London and vice versa.

If Cook is able to work his matrix magic, the report suggests that CMS will hire a full-time resource manager and make the system permanent. The pilot — which kicked off last month — is due to conclude at the end of this year.

Cook — who has advised accountancy giants PwC and government departments including the Home Office — was also the brainchild behind the “blind work allocation” schemes tested at both Ashurst and Clifford Chance.

Last year Ashurst piloted a scheme that saw work distributed to associates based on tasks they had completed in the past, rather than because they are requested for jobs by individual partners. Quickly dubbed by the legal press as “blind allocation”, magic circle giant Clifford Chance trialled a similar system back in 2012.