The three myths of outsourcing your law firm’s support services
With internal resources stretched like never before (and clients relentlessly expecting more for less), law firms have been outsourcing their support services to experts in the field—and they’ve had great success.
By working in this new way, these firms freed up time for fee earners and were better able to capitalise on growth opportunities, with the peace of mind that their support staff would manage the steep uptick in workload.
That said, there’s no doubt that the profession can still be cautious about outsourcing, and it’s for three main reasons…
- Outsourcing is typically associated with compromising quality
- It won’t save enough money
- The legal sector is too niche and requires specialist skills that an outsourced firm cannot provide
We’ve addressed these common concerns head-on (most of which our now-clients had before signing with us):
Myth #1 Outsourcing compromises quality
This is a common and valid concern, but one that can be dispelled with a little understanding.
When you’re used to things working in a certain way, change and trusting someone to do the job for you leaves you thinking…
“They’ll never care as much as I do”
BUT, that’s not always the case. Often it takes a fresh pair of eyes to see what’s working and what’s not, and a new perspective to come up with solutions not previously considered (such as integrating new technology and tools to assist service).
However, successfully working with a third party to run a whole function of your business depends on trust and aligned standards.
You can ensure a high quality of work if your firm understands that the two businesses need to work together, but with clearly defined and articulated responsibilities—and there should be unwavering transparency between the provider and the law firm.
To safeguard against poor quality work and ensure your provider’s standards align with yours:
- Request results and testimonials achieved for similar firms
- Ask for the 3 things that define their company and how they measure success and
- Understand what experience they have in the legal sector
If you take the time to do this and work closely with them, you can rest easy knowing that the outsourcing firm you’ve chosen will hold themselves to the standard you expect.
Myth #2 It won’t save enough money
When it comes to working out whether outsourcing makes financial sense for you and your firm, there are typically one of two thought processes; the first is that outsourcing will save loads of money or the second that the results won't outweigh the cost.
The best way to make an informed decision on outsourcing your support services is to properly understand what the associated costs are, and what results you can expect to see in return.
Short term, yes, outsourcing your support services can sometimes incur additional cost (and you won’t necessarily see ‘loads’ of savings straight away) however, in the medium term, this is what you will see:
- Cuts in unnecessary spending, which means…better profit margins
- Improved efficiency in support functions, which means…freeing up time for fee earners
- Better staff-to-fee-earner ratios, which means…freeing up funds and time to reinvest in your firm
And longer term, you’ll get:
- Better incentivised support staff, which means…increased output and improved quality of work
- More support for fee earners, which means… business growth and more opportunities to win new clients
- Decreased staff turnover, which means… saving costs on procurement and training
Myth #3 The legal sector works differently and outsourcing providers won’t ‘get it’
True: The legal sector has quirks only those who have experienced it could understand.
False: No outsourcing company can understand how law firms work.
Companies who provide support services to the legal sector have specialist skills and experience in what is required to provide cost-effective, efficient and high-quality support to fee earners, so they can focus on their chargeable activities.
That being said, to be effective in providing these support services, an understanding of the impact a law firm’s culture has on how a provider would need to approach service delivery is necessary.
The best way to ensure your firm chooses support service providers that ‘get’ the way things work in the legal landscape is to background check their experience. Do your due diligence on any potential provider and ensure they:
- specifically focus on providing support services to firms in the legal sector and
- have at least 10 years’ experience working with legal clients
What do we do?
At Intelligent Office, we work with law firms looking to expand and grow. We offer a range of secretarial and administrative service functions which help them achieve that. These are:
- Personal Assistant services... for firms looking to free up fee earners’ time for higher value work
- Print and mailroom, front of house and records management services...for firms wanting to improve the efficiency of these facets
- Document Production…for firms who need to improve the consistency, quality and speed of their current document production functions
If you’re looking to outsource your law firm’s support services but aren’t sure of exactly where your efforts should be focused, you’re not alone.
For a realistic assessment of your firm’s needs (which we can do via a phone call or a visit to your office), and recommendations for how Intelligent Office can ensure your support services are helping (not hindering) your growth efforts, speak to one of our friendly team—no strings attached.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or give us a call on +44 (0)7984 252 150.
Alternatively, if you’d like to hear more about outsourcing your law firm’s support services to a third party like us (and hear from the people who are currently doing just that), we send emails twice a month to our database.
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