At Valenta we assist many professional service provider businesses. Professional service providers make up a sizable portion of small to medium organizations. Valenta is exclusively focused on this sector. Legal practices make up a significant portion of the professional service SMB clients we interact with. One consistent topic we discuss with them is the outsourcing of paralegal services. Paralegals provide a valuable service for legal practices and free attorneys up to be with clients, preparing arguments, and in courtrooms. Paralegals are consistently in demand. However, there is a high level of turnover in the position. Turnover is rampant for a variety of reasons, including a lack of a career path, high amounts of stress and pressure, long hours, and the routine nature of the work.
Now that we have talked about supply and demand for this position, let’s talk about outsourced paralegal benefits and why law firm outsourcing can make sense. We are often engaged with our clients on the topic of business optimization. Frequently our optimization recommendations include staff augmentation and offshoring roles within a business. There are many good reasons to consider outsourcing roles like a paralegal for a legal practice. Outsourcing and staff augmentation can be beneficial for a business and the employees that work there. In the remainder of this blog, we will examine why and how outsourced paralegals benefit and create value for law firms.
Focus on What is the Highest Priority
The ability of attorneys to focus on what is the highest priority in a law firm is overwhelmingly the biggest reason to have paralegals on staff. If finding and keeping local paralegal staff is a challenge – then outsourced paralegal services is a compelling alternative. Not being able to focus on cases and clients is not an option for attorneys. Outsourcing fills a gap that is sorely needed. Offloading back office work that does not directly impact billing hours or that has the lowest value billing hours is smart and makes sense. Paralegals will also free up sole proprietors or managing partners to have more time to be attentive to the business aspect of their practice. The increased ability to think and act strategically can not be understated.
Get Hard to Find Skills on Staff
It does not matter much (if at all) at the end of the day if required skills are in the location a practice is in, or if they are offshore. What matters most is that they are in a practice. Every business is made up of people with different skills sets. It is best when those skill sets are complementary. Paralegal work is the quintessential back office role whereas attorneys are front and center and client facing. Paralegals have skills that the general population does not have. It is a very specific skill set and knowledge base. The process of recruiting, hiring, and training new paralegals can be daunting and time-consuming. With outsourced paralegal services, you will always be contracting resources who have worked in the legal profession.
Reduce Costs & Increase Profitability
According to Glassdoor the average salary for a paralegal in the USA is $69K annually. This salary amount does not consider government taxes for Social Security, unemployment, and other items. It also does not account for costs related to health insurance or infrastructure for employees in the form of office space and computer equipment. Outsourced paralegal services can be provided for a fraction of these costs. Typically, they can be provided for one third to half the costs of salaries, and with no additional costs for taxes or benefits. Virtual paralegal staff can be a great option for legal practices. Besides reducing costs and flexibly addressing the staffing requirements of a business, virtual paralegal staff can dramatically improve bottom-line results.
Wide Variety of Services Provided
There are many relevant and time saving duties that can be performed by outsourced paralegal staff. Document review and contract lifecycle management can both be offloaded to paralegal staff whether they are in house or offshore. Reviews of cost estimations can also be performed as can predictive coding, and content redactions. Legal research, contract drafting, contracts abstraction and summarization can also be part of the services provided by outsourced staff. Paralegals can serve every type of law firm whether it practices corporate law, personal injury, family law, medical malpractice, employment law, conveyance, or estate planning. Outsourced paralegals have the same skills as those found onshore with various software tools. For example, at Valenta we have provided support for LexisNexis, Thomson Reuters Westlaw, Leap, Mycase, Clio, Amicus, Abacuslaw and many others.
Flexibility & Scalability
All outsourced paralegal services are contract based. They are all flexible and all typically run month to month This flexible aspect of outsourcing is quite different than the employer employee relationship, – which is much more rigid and inflexible. The employer and employee relationship is also one that comes with risks and liability. The flexibility of outsourced paralegal services means that they are very scalable. Businesses can ramp up and ramp down quickly based on caseload conditions. This aspect of outsourcing means that staffing will not be a hinderance to growth or a liability when there are fewer cases.
Supplement Inhouse Staff
When it comes to law firm outsourcing, in our experience, we are typically not replacing in-house staff with outsourced paralegal services. Outsourcing works best when done as augmentation and when outsourced staff works in conjunction with in-person staff. In a typical SMB law firm, our resources will work with that firm’s small paralegal department, or directly with a principal in a solo practice. The staff that we provide are virtual employees, and they act just like they would if they are a local work from home employee. However, a Legal Practice can combine those same WFH / work from home capabilities with the advantages of cost savings and flexibility outlined above.
Want to Learn More?
A quick and no charge consultation can help determine if outsourcing is a good fit for your business. In addition to being a provider of staff augmentation and outsourcing, Valenta is a business consulting, digital transformation, and business software integration services provider. Besides providing outsourced paralegal services we also provide other virtual staff. We can provide bookkeepers, accountants, IT support, and digital marketing to law offices. As mentioned prior, we are 100% focused on serving small and midsized businesses, and many of these are professional service providers. We provide the same services large consulting firms offer to the Fortune 1,000.