Dos and Don'ts of Legal Services Outsourcing
Jan 27, 2021 02:32 PM EST
More firms these days are outsourcing some of their legal services, including support staff and even full attorneys. But while legal services outsourcing can be an effective strategy for your firm, there are both ways to do so successfully and ways you can do so poorly. Let's break down examples of each.
Legal Outsourcing Dos
Outsource for Special Skills or Tools
Even the most diverse and versatile firms don't have the talent for every new case. In these circumstances, it may be beneficial to outsource lawyers, attorneys, or even support staff that have specific skills or toolsets that can be of use to your current situation.
For example, some firms will outsource talent for specific cases when they need an expert on a particular cultural, industry, or geographic subject. This can save you money in the long run since you won't have to hire a new firm member just for a single case.
Fortunately, the legal services outsourcing industry is growing, so chances are you'll find someone perfect for your needs quickly.
Ensure Clear Communication
Whenever you're outsourcing any legal processes or tasks, you must ensure that you communicate clearly. Communication is of the utmost importance since any freelance attorneys or staff will not be in the office with you to the same degree as your standard staff.
Ensure that you communicate effectively so any outsourced talent:
completes objectives on time
focuses on the right aspects
understands the goals of your firm or current project
Think of Freelancers as Partners
Although freelancers or outsourced legal talent aren't technically a part of your organization, it may be beneficial to think of them as partners nonetheless. This will help you to subconsciously work more closely with them and ensure that you only hire talent whose goals are aligned with your firm's.
Thinking of freelancers as hired talent only may lead to conflicts of attitude, low expectations, and miscommunications.
Legal Outsourcing Don'ts
Outsource Research with Subpar Talent
Even if your firm's workload seems tough, you should never try to outsource legal research without thoroughly vetting the people you hire to do so. Your firm's research can have a serious impact on your case outcomes, so any research needs to be of the utmost quality and completely relevant to your firm's objectives.
Make sure that you only hire the best researchers and writers to create briefs for your team. Slacking here could lead to catastrophic failure later on in a case.
Outsource Your Firm's Core Staff
Though some law firms are now outsourcing their core staff to cut down on costs, it's generally a bad idea in the long run. Your firm must have its core functions intact for every case or long-term project. Make sure that you never outsource your core employees if you can avoid it.
Not only will this help you in terms of practical efficiency (i.e. project workflow and scheduling), but it'll also preserve your firm's social culture: an understated benefit that helps your firm to grind through tough times thanks to solidarity.
Think of Outsourcing as a Quick Fix for Mistakes
Lastly, don't use legal services outsourcing as a fix for mistakes made by your core talent. Your legal work should be high-quality and strive for excellence in every way. Don't produce or allow subpar work and imagine you can use outsourced legal services or attorneys to correct bad work, sloppy case research, and so on.