Law practices are like any other business with the “bottom line” getting precedence over everything else. Hence the focus in high or low seasons is to reduce costs without affecting productivity. However, this is easier said than done as expenses for salaries and benefits to lawyers as well as rentals on office space can be quite high and lowering manpower can drastically affect the quality of services.
The best option, therefore, is to outsource legal administrative work to external paralegal services that have the expertise and experience to meet your expectations and complement your in-house team.
The benefits that accrue from outsourcing certain paralegal function can be categorized into general and cost benefits and these two will be seen in some detail here.
There are a number of general benefits that can be had from outsourcing certain key functions to agencies offering legal support services.
Easy delegation of work
Most support services have wide experience in this field having worked with different law firms and attorneys. Thus they will be very conversant with all types of work and office procedures and can easily adapt to any work delegated to them.
Flexible working hours
Paralegal outsourcing agencies do not have fixed working hours unlike general business times followed by law firms. Hence you can delegate work to them and have it completed and returned to you quickly and in a time bound manner. You can thus maintain a better work-life balance without compromising on meeting deadlines.
This is more so when you outsource to offshore paralegal services. The difference in time zones means that the work uploaded at the end of your business hours will be completed and sent back at the opening of office next day.
Focus on core activities
Your core activity should be to expand and develop your client base and spend more time on meeting clients instead of micromanaging routine tasks. By resorting to outsourcing you can have time to attend seminars and concentrate on devising business development strategies.
Specialized training is not required
Most law firms spend considerable time and money in training freshly recruited paralegals in areas of special software training, computer training and other systems training. Outsourced legal support services, on the other hand, have a great deal of exposure to the working methodologies of different attorneys and can quickly adapt themselves to any work pressure and procedure.
Savings in costs
Law firms around the world are optimizing their profitability through the simple act of outsourcing legal services. This is because there are a number of avenues for cost reduction and increase in savings, dollars which can be put to better use for business expansion and diversification.
Here are some of the ways law firms stand to gain through cost savings by spinning off paralegal functions to external agencies.
Medical and dental benefits
Medical and dental benefits have to be paid to hired paralegals and when required to their spouse and children too. This expense is not payable to external agencies. The average of one employee can exceed $5,000 perannum.
Many employers offer a 1% to 3% matching contribution to what employees pay into their pension fund. If there are a number of paralegals working in-house, this can add up to large sums annually. This amount is saved once paralegals are not hired but the functions are outsourced.
Full-time paralegals are paid two weeks paid vacation every year and about five sick days in a calendar year. All these can be negated when outsourced paralegal services are hired to carry out the work. Moreover, these services do not charge overtime if they have to work extra to meet deadlines which is not the case with in-house paralegals.
Annual review and raise
Paralegals have contracts with a provision of annual raise in salary after the review which can be anywhere in the range of 2% to 5%. This is not required for hired legal support service seven though in some cases contracts may be renewed with a raise depending on increased volumes of work.
Outsourcing paralegal is a sure way to increase the productivity of your law firm, reduce expenses and boost profitability.