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A Guide to Outsourcing Legal Services

Is your staff dragged down by tedious tasks? Despite your firm’s efficiency and hard work, you and your staff have only so much time in the day to complete everything on your plate. If you’re spending too much time on administrative tasks, you’re not devoting enough time to the important stuff, like helping clients, practicing law, or growing your firm.

Many law firms face this predicament, so they turn to outsourcing legal services.

When you outsource, other businesses take on tedious tasks, such as document and task management or billing and invoicing. Some firms turn to technology  to “outsource” their firm’s most time-consuming tasks like case management or billing.

Law firm outsourcing saves you time and money so you can boost your firm’s productivity and direct more of your resources and energy toward clients, cases, and growth. 

What Is Legal Service Outsourcing?

Legal service outsourcing is when law firms hire other professionals and companies to take on some of the attorneys’ duties. This way, they can save time and money, allowing them to focus more on their client’s needs and improve their services and reputation.

Some tasks law firms outsource include:

  • Administrative tasks, like scheduling, issuing invoices, and recording time entries

  • Document management, like organizing client files and uploading important information

  • Marketing, like responding to client comments and reviews or creating email marketing and social media posts

What you want to outsource is up to you. Your firm can analyze where you commonly see bottlenecks, missed opportunities to get cases, and more to determine what you need help with most. Additionally, the businesses that handle these tasks can customize how they serve you.

How Often Do Law Firms Outsource Legal Services?

Law firms are outsourcing legal services, and that trend is only on the rise. In 2021, a Reuters survey of small law firms found that 26% of respondents had implemented technology to address pressures and improve their services’ efficiency. Additionally, 19% want to use technology more to outsource and improve some of their firm’s operations. 

More law firms are looking into optimizing their services as they realize they need more support with payroll, case research, and billing. In a short time, the practice of outsourcing legal services will likely expand significantly.

Is Legal Outsourcing the Same as Offshoring?

The short answer: No.

However, they do relate to each other. Legal outsourcing occurs when you contract a specific task or tasks to a third party that works in that field. For example, if you need help with setting up your billing and invoicing templates, you would hire a company that offers specific aid in that area.

On the other hand, when you participate in offshoring, you’re sending your in-house jobs overseas to complete your work remotely—at times, for a lesser cost. For instance, if you’re in the United States and want assistance with producing high-tech devices, you may offshore this work to reduce labor costs. 

Benefits of Legal Service Outsourcing

Hiring a team for legal service outsourcing comes with plenty of benefits, including:

  • It’s cost-effective: Generally speaking, it’s cheaper to have someone who works outside the law firm complete certain services for you. That is, it can help keep your overhead and staffing costs on the lower end.

  • Supplement your systems when your resources are limited: Sometimes, law firms don’t have the necessary technology to complete certain tasks. For example, you may not have a system for timekeeping. Outsourcing your services to another company that has a program designed for timekeeping can save you time and money, as you won’t have to dedicate extra hours to handle it on your own.

  • The ability to support more clients: When you’re preoccupied with menial tasks for much of your day, it can take time away from your clients. As a result, your brand and reputation may take a hit, especially if your clients are overcharged, or you lose their information.

Types of Legal Service Outsourcing Processes

Legal services outsourcing isn’t limited to one type of process. Depending on what your firm needs, the company may tailor its services to how your firm operates. Typically, law firms may seek assistance with:

Billing

Inform the company about the payment structure you use. Flat fees? Hourly? Contingency? 

Whatever the case, the company to whom you outsource can create and customize an invoice template and set up the terms for online payments and late fees.

This feature allows the client to pay you with one click. That way, it’s convenient for the client, and you receive your payment right away.

Filing and Document Management

Uploading documents into a cloud-based system allows you and your staff to easily access data and other controls at any time. That way, you don’t spend hours remaking documents and searching for client folders.

If you need to move things around, rename, or customize documents, you can. These features should be flexible and mesh with your firm’s current needs.

E-Discovery

Thanks to e-discovery technology, law firms can easily identify and collect important data for cases. Not to mention, e-discovery can help you with your document management, such as scanning your uploads.

It makes these documents more accessible to their clients and saves their memory and time.

Administrative Tasks

Legal services outsourcing can also take care of your administrative tasks. The contracting company can manage aspects of your client relationships, bookkeeping, timekeeping, and even phone calls.

You don’t need a full-time employee to be responsible for these tasks when someone else outside your firm can perform them for a fraction of the cost.

How to Hire for Legal Service Outsourcing

If you’re looking for legal consultants or freelance workers to assist you with your legal services, check out these websites:

While you’re searching for the right fit, think about the qualities that will add to your firm’s success, like:

  • Experience: How long have they been in the business? What was their training like? Who have they worked for?

  • Skill: What are they capable of? How much of a workload can they handle? What do they prioritize at work? Do they have any specializations or certificates in certain areas?

  • Familiarity with legal technology: Many contractors continue their education to keep up with the latest technology. Have they listed what they have expertise in? For instance, see if they know how to manage legal billing and invoicing, timekeeping, and task management using legal software.

Narrow down your top two or three favorite candidates. Don’t just consider their past but also their potential.

When Should I Consider Outsourcing the Legal Services at My Firm?

If you’re not sure if you should look into legal process outsourcing services, reflect on the well-being of your firm.

You may want to consider the extra help if you’re experiencing:

  • Overwhelming caseload: If you’re taking on more than you can handle on your own

  • Decreased client experience: If you’ve received client complaints, especially about errors in their invoices or lost documents

  • Tasks falling through the cracks: If you find yourself putting off sending invoices, uploading client documents, or reminding your clients to pay you

Simplify Outsourcing With Legal Technology

You don’t have to take care of all your practice’s tasks on your own. Help is available, and it doesn’t have to be complicated. Don’t be intimidated about having someone work remotely for you. You can easily manage their tasks, especially when your firm’s most crucial documents, billing records, and customer information is housed in a central location.

This article was authored by Nina Lee.

©2006-2023, BILL4TIME. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.National Law Review, Volume XII, Number 341
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About this Author

Founded in 2006, Bill4Time’s cloud-based legal practice management software was created with the guidance of law and consulting firms. Now, Bill4Time is trusted by both small and large professional service firms to automate their daily tasks. Bill4Time has created simple to use, intuitive, and user-friendly software at a fraction of the cost of other legal practice management systems. With a strong focus on convenience, Bill4Time offers online access to your account and mobile apps anytime, anywhere. Bill4Time’s goal is to streamline the time tracking and billing aspect...

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