providing legal services to the maritime industry case study
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providing legal services to the maritime industry case study
1,500 words quantitative research proposal based on the brief below
The Assessment Brief
Samson & Singh Partners are a niche medium-sized law firm providing legal services to the maritime industry, with expertise in shipping, taxation, environmental and commercial law. The company is based in Manchester, with 17 partners as well as 153 staff in employment. Staff comprise 82 qualified lawyers (not including the partners), 43 paralegals, 18 secretaries and administrators, and 10 in other roles.
At Samson & Singh, staff work under tremendous time pressure as the deals that they handle on behalf of their clients have to be completed within very short periods of time. Those deals often involve many different parties and very large sums of money. There are periods where there is little or no commercial activity, punctuated by times when the workload is extreme and working hours are long and sustained. During such periods, it is common for teams of lawyers and paralegals to work around the clock (virtually 24 hours, 7 days a week) for weeks at a time.
The firm is divided into autonomous teams with each employee reporting to their team leader only. Each team has its own client portfolio, being entirely responsible for contracts relating to those clients. The work is target-driven. Lawyers and paralegals in each team have individual financial targets to meet, and each team has an additional collective financial target which is closely monitored.
These targets are used to measure both individual and team performance. Teams operate in parallel, often in a spirit of ‘competition’ with each other. Individuals also compete for the lucrative bonus that is offered to the employee in each team that has exceeded their individual fee targets the most during the year. Many firms, including Samson & Singh, have seen dramatic decreases in secretarial and admin support, with the result that many lawyers now carry out many more admin tasks on top of their work, and for which they cannot bill or use towards their fee targets.
Since the pandemic began, staff have worked from home, although there is uncertainty if, how, and when they should be compelled to work from offices. The removal of restrictions in the UK during the summer means staff can return to work fully in the office, although there is concern about disruptions due to potential lockdowns or increased caring responsibilities.
The volatility in the maritime sector responding to the pandemic has led to an increase in work that needs to be completed quickly, although struggling clients means there is a growing backlog of outstanding payments. Samson & Singh are therefore concerned about experiencing a cashflow problem. As such, the firm has frozen pay rises, bonuses, and promotions, which is a source of discontent given the additional work staff are putting in. There is concern that women are overrepresented at paralegal and junior lawyer level and underrepresented among more senior lawyers.
The pay, promotion and representation issues have all been raised in (mostly anonymous) comments posted on the staff online bulletin board. In addition, certain anonymous allegations have been made to management about unacceptable behavior from line managers, which included shouting at people and derogatory remarks during video calls.
Samson & Singh are keen to use an evidence-based approach to inform their understanding of how the working environment influences the experience of their workforce. They do not have any specific research questions and invite you to identify appropriate research questions and to develop two separate research proposals for them to consider.
You are not expected to address all the questions and issues raised in this brief, and Samson & Singh welcome any other proposals broadly related to an aspect of the working environment that could be of interest to them.
The Assignment and Marking Criteria for the Research Proposals
Your assignment is to supply the above proposal to the above specification and should cover the criteria below. You do not need to have a distinct section for each point below (e.g., sampling and procedures could be merged).
The Individual Quantitative Research Proposal
- Research question and hypothesis (approx. 200 to 500 words).
- There should be between three to five research hypotheses, including one that involves testing of a third variable (i.e., mediation or moderation).
- Method (approx. 900 to 1,200 words)
- Research paradigms and design
- What is the study’s paradigm position? How this relates to the research question posed?
- Sampling and data
- What are the variables in this study and what types are they?
- How many participants will be recruited and how will this be done?
- How are constructs operationalized?
- How will the study be carried out?
- What are the potential ethical issues here and how will they be mitigated?
- Proposed Analysis
- A description of what statistical tests will be used to test the hypotheses and any considerations to consider.
- References (not included in Word Count)
- Citation and referencing in either the APA or Harvard format
What not to include
Although research proposals elsewhere may ask for more information you only need to meet the above criteria. This means not including information that you may be asked for in proposals from other modules (e.g., research dissertation modules, Masters Research Project). In particular, there is no need here for an abstract, literature review, discussion or timeline.
Include on the first page your name and student number, the module title, and whether this is the quantitative or qualitative proposal
Font size 12
Insert page numbers, but no other headers or footers necessary
First person acceptable egg “In this report I will…” (but avoid statement such as “I believe.” unless you have evidence to support your claims)
Use headings to structure your argument
Limit the use of bullet points, figures and footnotes where possible.
The background and significance of the problem and a clear statement of the research purpose is provided. The search history is mentioned.
Content is well-organized with headings for each slide and bulleted lists to group related material as needed. Use of font, color, graphics, effects, etc. to enhance readability and presentation content is excellent. Length requirements of 10 slides/pages or less is met.
More depth/detail for the background and significance is needed, or the research detail is not clear. No search history information is provided.
Review of relevant theoretical literature is evident, but there is little integration of studies into concepts related to problem. Review is partially focused and organized. Supporting and opposing research are included. Summary of information presented is included. Conclusion may not contain a biblical integration.
Content is somewhat organized, but no structure is apparent. The use of font, color, graphics, effects, etc. is occasionally detracting to the presentation content. Length requirements may not be met.
The background and/or significance are missing. No search history information is provided.
Review of relevant theoretical literature is evident, but there is no integration of studies into concepts related to problem. Review is partially focused and organized. Supporting and opposing research are not included in the summary of information presented. Conclusion does not contain a biblical integration.
There is no clear or logical organizational structure. No logical sequence is apparent. The use of font, color, graphics, effects etc. is often detracting to the presentation content. Length requirements may not be met
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