Case Study

Corporate practice, Mills & Reeve

Mills & Reeve is an award-winning law firm, operating nationally and internationally to provide legal expertise to their clients. The corporate and commercial practice incorporates expert lawyers in corporate, commercial, banking and tax. These lawyers are based in six different UK office locations.

The Objectives

Creating a resource allocation system where a large number of lawyers spread across multiple UK locations are able to work in an agile and collaborative manner, whilst improving efficiency, productivity and lawye   engagement.

The focus of the pilot was to develop a structured work allocation approach which supported the needs of multiple stakeholders. Themes and objectives of the pilot highlighted by Mills & Reeve included:


  • Creating firm-wide visibility of capability, forecast of activity and lawyer interests and development
  • Supporting the firm’s strategy areas including innovation, supporting our people and promoting a “one firm” approach
  • Better balancing the workloads of associates to ensure fairness and diversity
  • Cementing the position of the firm as an employer of choice for lawyers
  • Driving productivity and profitability through appropriate matching of client demand 
  • Saving partner time spent on the allocation of work

Mason & Cook were engaged to deliver a transformational change project over nine months, adopting our six-phase methodology. After extensive engagement and listening to the issues, understanding the operational and political nuances of every stakeholder, we designed and delivered a bespoke work allocation system for all corporate and commercial lawyers, across all UK offices.

The Results

We have seen an increase of 40% in lawyers who now feel that work is allocated fairly and consistently during over a four month operational period. This data is calculated from pre and post-pilot surveys of all associates.

An increase of 43% has been achieved in lawyers who feel that the work they are doing is in line with their career development and objectives.

More consistent matter related hours across the practice as a whole, supporting the perception of fairness and balancing the workload of all lawyers across the group.

Partners being able to reduce time spent on resourcing issues. Over half the partner group felt they spent too much administrative time on resourcing matters, the pilot reduced this to only 4% who feel their involvement exceeds their expectations.

Embedded a sustainable resource management function within the corporate and commercial team. A permanent resource manager has been recruited, taking full responsibility for allocating all work across the practice group ensuring alignment to lawyers skills, experience, development and capacity.

Additional pilots have commenced in other practice groups to continue to build on the success and approach of the corporate and commercial pilot.

Partner Feedback
“It is amazing how much you have done for us in so short a time and how much of a difference you have made to how we work.”

Associate Feedback
“Already the work allocation scheme has taken a huge weight off.

For me, it means I am getting more of the junior support I need, that work is more often being done at the right level and that I can work with a wider range of partners and fee earners and become involved in work that is stretching and relevant.”