In today’s environment, every firm is working to provide increased services with fewer in-house resources.  Reducing overall staffing costs and outsourcing services where appropriate can reduce costs and provide greater value for their clients.  One of the biggest areas to reduce spend is to outsource non-core services, such as eDiscovery, forensic work, and other services that are not needed on a full-time basis by the firm.  However, determining what services are best to outsource and who to hire can be a daunting task.

What Services to Outsource?

Often transactional work and non-core legal services are the first choice to outsource.  What is considered a non-core legal services varies from firm to firm as each firm should evaluate if a service is within in or outside the firm’s core services.  For example, drafting Patent applications would we a core process of an Intellectual Property focused firm where the knowledge and resources for drafting patents is readily available. The in-house knowledge is at an expert level and the drafting can be completed in a timely manner.  On the other hand, for a firm that does not specialize in Intellectual Property, the time to draft the patent application for an attorney that does not specialize in IP may cost more than outsourcing the services.

Another area of legal services that are often outsourced is litigation support services, such as document discovery and e-Discovery.  These services require many resources in a short time period and trying to provide those services in-house may disrupt core work and cost more than if outsourced to teams that provide such services.

Who to use?

It is important to use a legal service provider you trust and build a relationship between the service provider and the firm. A long-term business relationship will be mutually beneficial to both entities and often bundled services may be offered at a discounted rate. In addition, using an outsourced service provider that monitors quality and risk of the work being conducted provides reliable solutions at a reduced cost. Use a service provider that has investigated individuals and resources thoroughly and can confidently stand behind their services and products.

Off-shore outsourcing is also a popular option to leverage reduced labor fees and may be effective for non-specialized transactional services, but quality if often comprised if not managed closely.

  1. Some Questions to consider when selecting the right vendor:
  2. Does the vendor offer the services you need?
  3. Does the service provider have the right expertise?
  4. Can the service provider work without Firm management?
  5. Does the service provider work as needed or annual contract?
  6. Does the provider come recommended by your peers?
  7. Does the provider have a good reputation?
  8. Will they customize and adapt their solutions to meet your needs?

Benefits of Outsourcing Legal Services

One of the benefits of outsourcing legal services is to keep billing rates competitive by outsourcing non-core services instead of having to hire full-time employees.  Outsourcing provides smaller Firms the flexibility to fully serve clients without added overhead and can offer larger Firms a reduction is administrative and training expenses. While outsourcing has many benefits, if not managed well may result in a loss of quality which may be costly error to fix.  That is why the provide a Firm chooses must be reputable, responsive, and have a history of producing quality results.

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