Remember when you had to meet someone at a bar to make a romantic connection? Or when you needed to write down directions on how to find that new restaurant? What about when you had to call to find out what hours the restaurant was open? Then, you’d also have to ask around to see if it was any good.
Even though technology has changed so much about how we eat, shop, move, and connect, my partner and I, running a small law firm together, noticed that this tidal wave of tech didn’t seem to be as overwhelming in the legal space.
This technology gap didn’t catch our attention when we first started our firm. We didn’t immediately think of ourselves as entrepreneurs or even consider how technology might help us run our new business. But, as time went on, we saw that not thinking like a business was hurting us and our bottom line.
In an attempt to become more efficient, we started outsourcing work. We hired a virtual paralegal and a bookkeeper, found some practice management software, and began trying to push out research, writing, and other small (and sometimes big!) matters onto project attorneys.
We did this to free up our time for things that were proving very important to our business, like getting more clients through networking and marketing, or taking the occasional restorative vacation or nap. Without an extra hand—or five—there were simply not enough hours in the day for us to do all that our business needed us to do.
Why consider legal process outsourcing?
I talk to lawyers every day who are also struggling with time management and efficiency. Some are colleagues, some are clients, and some are just my friends at the gym. Many of you are often hesitant to turn work over to other people. Accounting work and phone calls are fine, but turning over substantive legal work? That’s a bit more difficult to handle.
But what if your hesitance to engage help is keeping you from growing? Worse yet, what if it’s making you less profitable? For our law firm, both of these points were true.
It doesn’t have to be that way. There are easily accessible tech solutions that allow you to hire independent contractors to handle any task on an as-needed basis. For example, Aggregate Law helps connect you with experienced freelance lawyers on a project-by-project basis. Ruby Receptionists manages inbound and outbound calls, provides detailed call records and messages, and takes care of client intake.
Don’t let a lack of comfort keep you from accelerating your firm’s growth. Here are five key reasons to consider using technological solutions for legal process outsourcing:
1. You’ll have a greater capacity for growth
You are trying to grow your firm, but you are wary of taking on the responsibility of a salaried employee. The solution: There are tech-based solutions to help you hire independent contractors to handle any task on an as-needed basis, from handling your phone calls to writing a brief. This allows you to increase your firm’s capacity without adding unnecessary overhead or wasting valuable time.
2. You’ll get more time for big picture thinking
Are you able to spend any of your time planning for the future? Or are you too busy putting out the daily fires that come with a busy practice? Hiring a freelancer can free up some time to plan your marketing strategy and to think about where you want to be in six months or a year’s time.
3. You’ll have a better work-life balance
Does last minute work eat up all your “free” time? I bet you didn’t start your firm hoping that you would be working every night and weekend. Hiring an experienced attorney can help you meet your deadlines without pulling an all-nighter. Putting someone to work while you’re out can also allow you time to go to conferences that will benefit your practice and/or take a vacation.
4. You’ll be able to keep the cases you want
Do you find yourself referring out good work that you would like to keep, but that you need a little help with? If so, find a freelance attorney with experience in that practice area to work with you on the case. That way, you keep the client and the work for your firm.
5. You’ll have a higher output
You need help getting more done. Hiring help means that you can multiply your output. That increases your bottom line. Hire a project attorney to do your busy work while you take potential clients or referral sources to lunch. Put a freelance paralegal to work while you attend that networking event or legal conference. When you have more time, the possibilities are endless.
Legal process outsourcing = Outsized benefits for your firm
The bottom line: When you’re running any type of business—including a law firm—it can seem like there are never enough hours in a day to do all that needs to be done. Legal process outsourcing can help take extra work off of your plate, relieving stress and giving you more time to focus on the long term success of your firm.
Like this post? Want more like it? Subscribe to weekly emails from the Clio blog, and never miss an idea for improving your practice.
About Jennifer Downs
Jennifer Downs is the co-founder of Aggregate Law, an efficient online staffing solution that matches solo and small firms with skilled, vetted project attorneys on a project by project basis. Jennifer is passionate about helping lawyers think entrepreneurially—by implementing technologies and efficiencies into their practices, and by bravely looking forward to the changes happening all across the legal landscape.