ALA Logo
Welcome, Guest!   |  
ALA Tagline
Competency-Based Job/Needs Analysis

Job Tasks Performed

Required Knowledge or Competencies

Job Tasks Performed by Principal Legal Administrators

Full Listing of Job Tasks

The survey listed 103 task statements. Administrators were asked to rate the importance of each task relative to other tasks on the following 4-point scale:

3 = More important than most other tasks
2 = About the same importance as most other tasks
1 = Less important than most other tasks
0 = Not applicable (this task is not part of my job)

Tasks are organized by Category and listed below in the order of importance (Rank) within each category as they were rated by principal administrators. A numerical average (Mean) indicating criticality follows each task statement. A few tasks, although considered important, are ranked as less important because more than 25 percent of principal administrators do not perform the particular function.

General Management

Rank   Mean
1 Manage day-to-day operations (e.g., set and balance priorities, allocate resources, make staffing decisions). 2.49
2 Cultivate and maintain a productive firm/law office culture and work environment. 2.48
3 Facilitate communication of information within the firm/law office. 2.38
4 Evaluate fiscal soundness, stability, and profitability of the firm/law office. 2.19
5 Develop, implement, monitor, and prioritize operational systems, procedures (e.g., quality control) and policies (e.g., personnel policies). 2.18
6 Identify and communicate policy and procedure priorities. 2.15
7 Develop a routine information sharing process with firm/law office leadership (e.g., periodic status meetings). 2.04
8 Gather information from internal and external sources (staff, vendors, consultants, legal administrators) to help in decision making. 2.01
9 Develop organizational management planning strategies (e.g., realigning employee responsibilities). 1.89
10 Implement/practice law office disaster plans (e.g., financial, information, facilities, human resources). 1.77
11 Administer Professional Liability Insurance for firm/law office. 1.57
12 Manage business package and general liability insurance. 1.52
13 Review/make recommendations about firm/law office governance and structure. 1.52
14 Coordinate lawyer/management functions (e.g., meetings, retreats). 1.45
15 Communicate and implement strategic planning initiatives. 1.38
16 Manage strategic planning process to identify firm/law office's short and long term goals. 1.34
17 Define and explain organizational strengths and weaknesses (e.g., using client surveys, financial data) for strategic planning purposes. 1.28
18 Evaluate the effectiveness of strategic planning initiatives. 1.28
19 Provide practice management guidelines. monitoring, and support (e.g., utilization and capacity, task/project management, docketing, case management) 1.21
20 Define and explain internal and external challenges and opportunities (e.g., competition, demographics, regulatory environment) for strategic planning purposes. 1.14
21 Examine and evaluate growth (e.g., mergers, acquisitions, collateral businesses) and restructuring options. 1.09
22 Oversee and/or direct the management of branch office operations. 1.06


Financial Management

Rank   Mean
1 Develop, update, and monitor firm/law office's budgets (e.g., income, expense, capital). 2.09
2 Analyze firm/law office's financial condition. (e.g., revenue vs. costs; capital, debt, profits-per-partner). 2.02
3 Project short-term and long-term financial position (e.g., revenue, compensation, staffing, profits, benefits). 1.93
4 Develop and monitor and manage cash flow schedules (e.g., payables, collections, billings). 1.84
5 Establish/monitor internal financial controls regarding expenditures, bank reconciliations, cash receipt disbursements, wire transfers, payroll, and expense reimbursement. 1.73
6 Manage billing and collections. 1.70
7 Monitor billable and non-billable hours. 1.69
8 Administer payroll and compensation systems. 1.63
9 Prepare and monitor financial profitability analysis by individual timekeeper, case, practice areas, offices, and client (e.g., productivity, work loads, billing rates). 1.59
10 Administer accounting functions and preparation of financial statements and management reports. 1.57
11 Manage financial assets (e.g., lines of credit, lease vs. buy equipment). 1.51
12 Establish and maintain banking relationships (e.g., lines of credit, loans, leases). 1.48
13 Establish and maintain client escrow/trust accounts and funds. 1.42
14 Coordinate with outside consultants (e.g., accountants) to conduct financial review/audits and prepare firm/law office's tax returns and other reports required by law. 1.35
15 Administer partner/shareholder accounting (e.g., capital contributions, draws, loans). 1.31
16 Establish and maintain intake procedures for new clients (e.g., fee/retainer agreements, billing, conflict checking, risk analysis). 1.28
17 Manage surplus cash investments within established parameters. 1.15


Client Services and Marketing

Rank   Mean
1 Provide guidelines for and monitor the employees' role in ensuring client service delivery. 1.17
2 Implement marketing plan, including the development of marketing tools such as resumes, brochures, press releases, and web pages. 0.99
3 Analyze existing client base. 0.97
4 Plan client-oriented events (e.g., receptions, educational programs). 0.97
5 Monitor and assess the effectiveness of marketing initiatives. 0.94
6 Coordinate external relationships, including contacts with public relations firms, advertising agencies, and the press. 0.87
7 Develop marketing plan, including specific objectives, goals, and selling points. 0.85
8 Provide training and guidance to legal staff in business development activities. 0.84
9 Analyze desired client markets. 0.82
10 Develop and manage client and prospect database. 0.75
11 Assist practice groups and individuals in the development of proposals for new business. 0.74
12 Promote cross-selling within existing client base. 0.68
13 Collect and analyze information regarding client satisfaction (e.g., using surveys or focus groups). 0.56


Information Technology

Rank   Mean
1 Develop, implement, and update an overall technology plan for the firm/law office. 1.69
2 Identify specialized training needs and implement training programs associated with information technology. 1.52
3 Develop information technology policy for the firm/law office (e.g., security, software licensing, and email and Internet use). 1.50
4 Plan and develop hardware and software systems and budget to support communication, information, and work product needs. 1.50
5 Select and manage external information technology consultants. 1.49
6 Plan and implement information technology conversions and upgrades. 1.43
7 Manage telecommunication systems and operations. 1.19
8 Establish access to internal and external information (e.g., data bases, research services, libraries). 1.18
9 Develop/maintain in-house library of texts and references (e.g., paper and electronic). 1.06
10 Manage day-to-day operation of help desk, hardware, software, and Internet and web-based technology. 1.06
11 Coordinate information systems (e.g., system compatibility) with clients, other offices/departments, and telecommuters. 1.05


Human Resource Management

Rank   Mean
1 Facilitate a professional office environment. 2.36
2 Supervise and counsel support staff. 2.32
3 Develop, administer, and communicate firm/law office policies (e.g., policy and procedures manuals). 2.17
4 Address employee grievances, conduct investigations, and mediate disputes. 2.16
5 Develop and administer performance management system (e.g., appraisal, disciplinary action, termination). 2.11
6 Ensure firm/law office's compliance with applicable federal, state/provincial, and local laws (e.g., employee safety, human rights). 2.10
7 Determine non-legal staffing requirements (e.g., attorney/lawyer to staff ratios). 2.06
8 Maintain personnel records management system (e.g., attendance, leave time, personnel files). 2.01
9 Develop/recommend strategies for retaining employees. 1.97
10 Make recommendations regarding attorney/lawyer staffing level requirements. 1.94
11 Recommend, communicate, and administer insurance benefit packages (e.g., health/dental, life, and disability insurance; cafeteria style benefit plan).s 1.92
12 Develop systems and procedures to recruit and select new employees. 1.90
13 Develop/provide training for support staff. 1.90
14 Develop/provide new employee orientation programs. 1.85
15 Coordinate pre-employment inquiries of new employees. 1.83
16 Develop systems to monitor legal staff performance (e.g., quality control). 1.76
17 Recommend, communicate, and administer firm/law office's retirement plans (e.g., pension, profit sharing, partner/shareholder retirement). 1.76
18 Develop and administer compensation structure for non-partner/shareholder employees. 1.69
19 Develop/maintain job descriptions. 1.63
20 Develop succession planning strategies for key positions (e.g., documentation of significant tasks). 1.39
21 Coordinate training for legal staff (e.g., continuing legal education). 1.34
22 Ensure lawyers maintain required credentials for admittance to practice law. 1.21
23 Assist in the development of partner/shareholder compensation structure. 1.09


Equipment, Facilities, Office Services Management

Rank   Mean
1 Review, negotiate, and monitor service contracts and major purchases/leases. 1.97
2 Evaluate vendor services (e.g., prices, product quality). 1.95
3 Plan and execute firm/law office move (e.g., design space usage, communicate with employees, install systems). 1.92
4 Prepare specifications for major purchases and services (e.g., Requests for Proposals). 1.82
5 Develop/maintain internal safety and security plan, including computer and other systems. 1.77
6 Determine/monitor immediate and long-term space requirements. 1.76
7 Manage office services (e.g., fax, copy, messengers, shipping, housekeeping). 1.74
8 Conduct and document comparative value analysis for major purchases. 1.66
9 Identify facility and equipment maintenance problems, arrange for repairs, and maintain service records. 1.62
10 Analyze economic conditions for space planning needs (e.g., moving, restructuring). 1.62
11 Develop and administer central files and off-site records management. 1.58
12 Administer leases. 1.55
13 Facilitate lease/purchase of new facilities (e.g., locate space, negotiate lease). 1.53
14 Develop and monitor inventory standards and purchasing procedures to maintain required levels. 1.51
15 Maintain/monitor inventory of capital assets (e.g., furniture, computer equipment). 1.49
16 Select and manage outsourced services (e.g., records, mail, copy/fax, library). 1.39
17 Perform property management activities (e.g., manage tenant leases). 1.01
Additional Information


Competencies of Legal Administrators


ALA Chapters

Connect with ALA: