I was recently asked what the difference between a manager, administrator, and coordinator is. I have seen these roles change and get redefined over the twenty years we have been working with law firms. The office manager is focused on resources like skills, money, and facilities. A firm administrator would be focused on systems (processes, procedures, and tools). The office coordinator would be focused on a task like front desk, scheduling, or supplies. These are general definitions we have developed over the years, and often, these roles are merged. Recently we have noticed a reluctance to assign one person to each of these roles. There is a fear that this would give too much control to one person. Often this is a trust issue with the owner. When this happens, we see the task that each role is assigned is farmed out with some being assigned outside of the firm.
The most common title we see in firms these days is the Firm Administrator. Often, when we see that role, we see the task of oversight assigned to another staff member or an outside vendor. The way I look at it, it is like doing a reconcile on your checkbook; Assign that to someone other than the person doing the checkbook entries.
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