Every law firm wants to work as efficiently and effectively as possible, especially in today’s competitive legal landscape. Legal budgets, after all, are expected to shrink in the coming years, according to The American Lawyer. As a result, many law firms have engaged or are seeking out legal outsourcing services in an effort to save on costs while upholding — or even improving — their quality of work.
What are the benefits of legal outsourcing services? How can they be used to deliver maximum return on investment for law firms? In this article, we’ll explore answers to these questions and offer tips for selecting the right partner for your legal outsourcing services.
What are legal outsourcing services?
There are many different ways law firms can take advantage of legal outsourcing today, so the phrase legal outsourcing services has come to refer to a truly wide range of different services, from general administrative support to extremely specialized legal work. But to put it in its most basic terms, outsourcing is the delegation of work that is typically done within a company to outside individuals or organizations.
Legal outsourcing, then, refers to work that is outsourced by lawyers and law firms. Often referred to as legal process outsourcing (LPO), that work includes tasks that must be undertaken by lawyers and other legal professionals, such as document drafting and court appearances. However, legal outsourcing services can also encompass more general business tasks, such as client billing or marketing or answering phones, that are common to both legal and non-legal organizations. Delegating those more general services to outside individuals or organizations is often referred to as business process outsourcing (BPO).
Legal outsourcing services can also be offshored, defined as outsourcing work to a company in another country. Offshoring legal outsourcing services can offer additional benefits, such as more competitive labor costs and more flexible around-the-clock service times.
What are common legal outsourcing services?
While legal outsourcing services include work that must be done by lawyers or other legal professionals, many law firms also seek to outsource general business processes that do not require legal training to perform. According to The National Law Review, “payroll, case research, and billing” are among the services more law firms are choosing to outsource. More broadly, law firms often seek to outsource:
Administrative services. Law firms need reliable receptionists and assistants, and increasingly need these administrative staff members to cover extended business hours to better meet client needs.
Client intake services. Many law firms have prospective clients call with potential cases, and need an intake specialist team to carefully and efficiently screen these calls. Legal outsourcing services can help law firms quickly build up a team of qualified and trained intake specialists.
Client management services. Staying in regular contact with clients and keeping their files updated is an important yet time consuming task for many law firms. Using legal outsourcing services to staff client management teams can help preserve the time of in-house lawyers by letting them focus on higher-level legal tasks.
Accounting and billing services. Every business has to send and pay bills — and balance its books, too. Delegating this work to a legal outsourcing services company allows law firms to focus on more specialized legal business.
Marketing services. Ads, social media, and other marketing channels and tactics can be effective means for attracting clients. Many law firms choose to delegate this work to external firms or contractors.
What are the main benefits of legal outsourcing services?
Specialized skills and experience. Accounting, marketing, and client management are functions important to every business. Lawyers, however, are trained to practice law, not to balance books, launch ad campaigns, or manage clients. Partnering for legal outsourcing services allows law firms to harness the expertise and experience of people who specialize in performing these business functions well.
Flexibility and speed. Recruiting, hiring, and training a team of intake specialists can take many months — and create ongoing employee management challenges too. Delegating this work to a legal outsourcing company can make it much easier and faster for law firms to ramp up and scale as business needs change.
Cost effectiveness. Many legal outsourcing services can be obtained at a lower labor and overhead cost than performing the same tasks in-house. This is especially true when services are outsourced to a country with lower labor costs, at a significant savings for the law firm.
Time savings. Lawyers’ time is very valuable, yet at many law firms, partners and associates have to spend time tending to business processes that could easily be done by non-legal professionals. By outsourcing these tasks, law firms are able to preserve lawyers’ time for the work that matters most — and allow for better work-life balance for legal professionals.
What to consider selecting legal outsourcing services
While outsourcing offers many benefits, selecting the wrong partner can lead to unexpected problems, ranging from low quality of service to security concerns. Pay special attention to these three qualities when choosing a partner for your legal outsourcing services:
High quality of service. A good outsourcing partner should perform the services you’ve sent them at an excellent level, whether measured through frequency of client contact or higher customer satisfaction rates. Make sure your outsourcing partner has a strong and positive reputation in the industry before entering an agreement.
Flexible relationship. The legal environment is continually changing, so the needs of your law firm is sure to fluctuate too. Find out how quickly and easily you can scale your teams or add more services when selecting your outsourcing partner.
Security protocols. Ensure that your outsourcing partner has measures in place to safeguard your firm’s and your clients’ data. Ideally, the outsourcing company offers teams working from a secure location with strong physical and digital security protocols.
Legal outsourcing services are valuable for many law firms today who seek to stay competitive, efficient, and effective. Business process outsourcing can be especially effective for law firms who want to focus on the important work of practicing law while delegating general business processes to external organizations. By choosing the right outsourcing partner, law firms can reduce costs and increase earnings while also providing a higher level of service to clients.
Selecting a trusted partner is essential when it comes to legal outsourcing services. To find out more about how iFive can support your law firm’s needs, simply get in touch.