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Cosgrove: keeping the flow of law offices productive

By Staff

As the eldest of four children, Catherine Moffitt of Cosgrove Associates always understood the value of resourcefulness and strong organization skills.

“I would keep the peace,” ensuring the smooth functioning of the family unit, she tells

Legal practice management specialists were initially the beneficiaries of those same skills when Moffitt joined Cosgrove in 2003. That was before the company realized her office management services would make the perfect complement to its proprietary value-focused profitability plan, which is designed to strengthen law firms’ management systems by improving docketing, billing, collections, client retention and referrals.

“If you can help law firms remove productivity blockers and improve the flow of their offices, then it makes for a happier, more productive, and profitable environment,” explains Moffitt, now an associate at Cosgrove.

Moffitt frequently steps in as interim office manager at law firms, becoming the eyes on the ground for senior partners who already have too much on their plates.

“They’re so busy, it can be hard for them to pay attention to what’s going on in the office. They can have issues with attendance, staffing or office equipment,” she says.

Moffitt oversees a wide variety of responsibilities on behalf of clients, including human resources, law office administration, facilities management, marketing co-ordination and financial management. The broad spectrum means few of her days are the same.

"Some firms initially just retain us for project work, such as collections, training staff to docket, creating employee manuals or just updating their current policy packages to ensure they are compliant with the law society or Employee Standards Act," she says.

Her co-operative and collaborative style make Moffitt a good go-between for management and staff, helping to keep the law office flowing.

“I tend to be very people-oriented and take time to listen. If someone wants to vent, that’s fine”, she says.

“I have experience in coaching too, so I try to give options and direction to make improvements. Things are generally kept confidential, but if something needs specific attention, I’ll ask permission to bring it forward to the partners for discussion”.

Moffitt says medium-sized firms without an in-house office manager stand to gain the most from Cosgrove’s services.

“They tend to farm out duties to different law clerks or administrative staff, which means there’s no consistency and nobody following up,” she explains. “Minor things can quickly balloon because nobody is paying attention to them.”

Moffitt applied her office management skills to workplaces in a variety of industries before joining Cosgrove, where the focus is solely on law firms. She says the theory applies fairly evenly across disciplines, but working with lawyers presents some unique challenges.

“They tend not to be as flexible, which makes sense when you think about all the strict rules and regulations that they are subject to,” she says. “Things are changing all the time."

Moffitt says her law firm clients are often skeptical at the outset when they present their profitability services.

“They want to see numbers and proof that our process is going to work, which isn’t really an issue once they see all of our glowing reference letters," she says.

“Once we’re in, our clients are generally very satisfied with our services. We have some firms that we have been working with for more than a decade; they recognize that we’re keeping the office flow going so they can focus on the practice of law."

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