A lawyer’s primary focus should always be the law, but many law firms are understaffed, middle-man or simply wear too many hats. This not only impacts business performance, but can also lead to burnout and missed tasks. Day-to-day law firm processes involve many mundane tasks that are not directly related to the law, and some of these tasks may be suitable for outsourcing to a third-party vendor. Outsourcing frees up a lot of time and can be cost-effective, not to mention its benefits for increasing direct income for lawyers.
However, not all tasks can be outsourced. It is important for companies to be selective about which tasks to outsource and to which providers, in order to give staff the freedom to work on the tasks that only they can perform.
When Law Firms Should Outsource
Law firms considering outsourcing should look at the day-to-day tasks performed by the entire team (attorneys and legal staff) and determine which tasks would be best performed by outsourced providers. Leaders need to consider what team members do each day and what tasks would benefit from a third-party expert.
For example, a team may spend too much time processing payments, reviewing legal documents, or handling administrative tasks, all of which can be outsourced to improve efficiency and productivity.
Here are some questions a business should ask before deciding to outsource:
How important is the task to the success of the business?
What is the cost of performing the task in-house versus outsourcing?
How capable is the company or team member of the task?
Are the right team members in the right roles for their skills?
These questions can help the company determine the company’s mission and core values, how resources are spent, and how outsourcing can reduce costs or create more time for team members.
How law firms can find help with assignments
Once a company decides to outsource, it is essential that they find the right third-party providers to ensure that the tasks are carried out in a cost-effective manner and in accordance with company standards. The success of the business should be the main factor in choosing the best solution for an outsourcing provider.
Depending on the company’s size, budget and team, specific vendors may be used for specific tasks. In other cases, outsourcing to an all-inclusive practice management company is the most convenient and cost-effective choice for law firms to streamline their day-to-day operations.
Finding the right outsourcing for law firms
Legal outsourcing is widely available, but not all companies are helpful to all law firms. It is important to consider factors such as working remotely or working in-house, costs and the total number of tasks the provider can take on.
Explore legal outsourcing options
Once the main business outsourcing needs have been identified, it is easier to find the right legal process outsourcing provider.
In addition to comprehensive legal outsourcing providers, companies can utilize the assistance of:
Court Appearance Outsourcing: An appearance attorney or per diem is available to appear in court as a representative of the law firm. This not only saves time, but saves attorneys from wasting time on non-substantial court appearances.
Brief and written work: Specialized outsourcing provides legal professionals who can take on duties for a law firm, including independent attorneys. Law firms can hire an independent lawyer for assistance with a specific case, a low-key project, or other tasks. These providers may also offer contract attorneys for research and written assignments.
E-discovery: Documentation occupies a considerable part of a company’s time. Several outsourcing providers offer contract attorney scanning and coding services to facilitate documentation tasks at a much lower rate than a full-time in-house attorney.
Other outsourcing options include:
General business tasks can also be outsourced, including invoicing, accounting, marketing, and business operations.
More and more businesses are adopting legal management software to improve processes and streamline efficiency. Equipped with automation tools, legal management software solutions can support many law firm tasks, including:
Customer relationship management
Legal Technology offers client relationship management tools to help companies retain clients and grow their business. For high-volume processes, such as customer onboarding, a customer relationship management tool can automate the process and reduce time spent on non-billable hours.
Case management tools allow templates, tasks and events to be created with a click or automatically to save time. This tool keeps all customer case information in one place, with custom filters for specific data.
Documentation affects the efficiency and productivity of a law firm. Document management tools integrate with popular collaboration platforms such as OneDrive, DropBox, Google Drive, and Box.com to share crucial documents with clients or team members. Templates can be used to quickly fill in customer details and reduce time spent on mundane tasks, and all documents can be created, edited, approved and archived in real time with all necessary parties.
Calendar tools make businesses more efficient and ensure that critical tasks are not forgotten or missed. The calendar tool syncs with Google, Outlook and other calendar tools to track events and appointments. Deadlines, such as court deadlines and statutes of limitations, can be included in the schedule to keep lawyers on track.
Legal invoicing tools have many benefits, including saving time and reducing human error. Automatic payment reminders, client-specific payment plans, and retainer contracts can be set up for automatic payments, and billing can be adjusted for hourly, contingent, or flat rates. The billing platform supports payments from major credit cards and payment providers and once completed, payments are deposited directly into the trust account.
Outsourcing for competitive advantage
In a changing legal landscape, companies need to differentiate themselves and improve the customer experience without increasing corporate overhead or overburdening employees. Legal process outsourcing is a great solution for improving efficiency and productivity and allowing lawyers and team members to focus on the tasks they do best. More outsourcing options are available now than ever before. Law firms can choose between outsourcing to third-party providers who specialize in the legal industry, but many of their processes can be simplified and automated through the use of legal practice management.