Like many fast-growing law firms, Tabak Law had its share of staffing challenges.
A top-rated social security, disability, worker’s compensation, and veterans’ benefits firm handling more than 10,000 cases a year, Tabak needed a sizable team of intake specialists to receive, evaluate, qualify, and onboard the many prospective clients that called in each day. Yet despite offering a competitive salary, good benefits, and a positive workplace culture, Tabak was always scrambling to hire enough intake specialists to handle its large volume of inquiries.
“We were really struggling to find employees who performed well and stuck around,” said Jim Brzezinski, attorney and managing director at Tabak. “I felt like all our effort was spent hiring and training versus actually doing the legal work that needed to be done.”
Ryan Gwynn, Tabak Law’s intake manager, agreed. “We were always understaffed. I was constantly hiring, bringing new people in almost every week, but the average tenure of an intake specialist was less than six months. We were at the point where we were kind of running in place. We couldn’t move forward because we just never had enough people.”
Then, the coronavirus pandemic hit, and the situation got worse. “The majority of the team members started working remotely and were not providing the greatest output of work or work quality,” Gwynn said.
That’s when Tabak Law reached out to iFive. Quickly, iFive brought on a team of five additional intake specialists — plus three administrative support team members — all based in a secure office in Manila, Philippines.
The results were tremendously positive. Tabak Law, for the first time in many years, had a fully-staffed intake team. And those team members not only stayed with the company longer, but also performed at a higher level too.
“We’re signing way more cases with iFive than we were able to do before on our own,” said Brzezinski.” And this has to do not just with the number of people, but their productivity levels, too. I’d say the work we’re getting done per dollar spent is four times what it was before iFive.
As Tabak Law’s business continued to expand, its partnership with iFive grew too, to include not just assistants and intake specialists, but case managers too.
“Like the intake team, the case management team was always understaffed,” said Lauren Zwirlein, a partner at Tabak Law. “At first the thought of making such a big change to work with people overseas seemed daunting, so we started small with just two case managers from iFive. I thought, well, let’s just see how this goes. Once we got going, I was really impressed. We’ve grown organically from that point.”
Today, iFive provides Tabak with a team of 22 intake specialists, 26 case managers, six administrative support team members, and two investigative team members. The positive effects of the partnership can be seen in all aspects of the business — including Tabak Law’s Google reviews.
“We used to contact clients every 60 days, in part because I couldn’t staff enough and I had to have higher caseloads,” said Zwirlein. “Now with iFive, we can contact our clients every 30 days proactively if we’re not hearing from them. And when a client does reach out, we’re able to respond within 24 hours. We provide much better service, and we haven’t had a negative review in quite some time. That has been a pretty dramatic improvement.”
The decision to outsource with iFive has allowed Tabak to improve employee satisfaction and tenure in the U.S., too.
“As a result of going with iFive, our staff in the U.S. is far happier than they used to be,” said Alex Eichhorn, attorney and managing partner at Tabak. “We are now able to offer significantly better benefits to our on-site employees because of the cost savings through iFive. Recently, we added a 401(k) match, short-term disability insurance, and other benefits that, previously, we couldn’t afford. It’s really made a big difference.”
The partnership has also been a boon for Tabak Law’s bottom line. Tabak has sped up its intake processes, improved case management, and increased its capacity to handle more cases.
“Working with iFive is less expensive than hiring staff here,” Zwirlein said. “And we no longer have the concerns of running out of office space, desks, or computers. But in addition to that, we’re able to take on more cases because we’re working on the files more regularly. We’re also better at identifying cases we’re not going to move forward with our representation before it gets to our attorneys. And when we do move forward, our attorneys inherit a better file, with more notes and more information on the case. All of that saves us time and money.”
Tabak is even starting new lines of business, thanks to the partnership with iFive.
“We recently started a business venture that’s more on the marketing side, selling fully-qualified, completed client intakes to other attorney clients,” Brzezinski said. At Tabak, we’re able to produce more leads than we can ever handle in-house on the veterans’ benefits side. So we’re excited to provide these completed intakes to other firms and see if there might be an opportunity to grow a secondary business.”