Legal Process Outsourcing (“LPO”) has grown substantially as law firms look to minimize costs, increase flexibility and expand capabilities.
As we have discussed in a number of blog posts, the legal industry is experiencing a significant shift in the way law firms operate and deliver legal services to clients. A large part of that shift can be attributed to Legal Process Outsourcing (“LPO”), where law firms outsource the work of attorneys and support staff to external vendors, including freelance service providers. This trend continues to grow as law firms and legal departments look to cut costs and increase flexibility, without sacrificing quality. Sally Kane (@sallyannekane) of The Balance, a career and finance website, recently published an article listing the top four (4) reasons why law firms should begin outsourcing, which we have summarized below.
This is one of, if not the most significant advantage of outsourcing legal work. Law firms can significantly reduce overhead expenses by using freelance support because of the wage differential between full-time staff and freelance attorneys. By outsourcing work to freelance attorneys, law firms enjoy tremendous cost benefits. Full-time staff come with salaries, benefits, taxes, equipment, larger office space, etc. Outsourcing work to freelance attorneys effectively eliminates all of these. In addition, most states (including Florida) allow law firms to add a reasonable surcharge to a freelance attorney’s rates. So for law firms, the benefits are two-fold: significant reduction in overhead expenses and retaining a high profit margin for the outsourced work.
Here’s the kicker, in most situations where a surcharge is added to a freelancer’s rate, the total is still much less than the law firm’s normal hourly rate, which means your clients can also share in the savings! How’s that for a selling point when you’re trying to sign a new client?
Access to External Talent
Outsourcing work doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice the quality of your work product. Far from it! Utilizing reputable services (like The Freelance Firm) gives law firms access to freelance attorneys with extensive experience in a myriad of practice areas. It also allows firms that lack adequate support in a certain area to access talented freelancers to fill in those gaps. This is a particularly attractive feature for solo-practitioners and boutique firms, who can draw from a pool of qualified freelance attorneys for interim or periodic support.
Aside from using freelance support to outsource individual tasks, law firms can also utilize freelance attorneys to collaborate on larger projects, as well. With a network of freelance attorneys at your disposal, law firms can divide and conquer to complete large projects in a shorter timeframe. Also, law firms can lean on freelance support to outsource work that is time-consuming or less profitable, giving them more time to focus on the high-priority matters or those that will result in the highest profits for the firm.
Having the option to combine your full-time staff with freelance support enables law firms to be more versatile and respond to client needs more quickly. As lawyers, we know that the workload can vary from month-to-month, a new client comes in, an old client leaves, a complex case finally settles, etc. The need for resources can vary at any time, which can be especially challenging for small to mid-size firms. Having access to on-demand freelance support gives firms the flexibility to absorb larger workloads at a moment’s notice, which is a huge advantage for those smaller firms because they can adapt to any situation without taking on the expense of more staff, or even taking on another firm to co-counsel due to a lack of resources. The flip side of that coin is when work slows down, there are no concerns about how to carry the additional salaries and overhead. Firms can handle the work and still operate in a lean, efficient manner.
These are just a few of the ways that using freelance legal support can benefit law firms, big or small. Legal outsourcing is a trend that will continue to grow at a fast pace because it provides considerable advantages with little to no risk.