In this episode we touch on the processes involved in legal work and how law firms are defining their workflows and getting the help they need – or not. We also talk with LegalTypist.com and Virtual Bar Association founder Andrea Cannavina and learn how she helps lawyers and law firms outsource legal work, her system for managing the constant flood of email, insights on delegation, font types and more.
What About Legal Outsourcing?
Today’s Hot Take is an article from The Balance Small Business called “Learn About Legal Outsourcing” by William Pfeifer. In it, he writes:
“Legal outsourcing may be a great way for a busy attorney or law firm to handle complex or time-consuming projects on a more affordable budget. Solo practitioners, small firms, and boutique law practices can take on cases that would otherwise be too large for them to handle. Midsize and large law firms can make their billing rates more competitive by obtaining subcontracted legal services at a dramatically reduced rate. Firms that use legal outsourcing find that it provides all the benefits of having associates and paralegals who perform research and document review but at a fraction of the cost and without full-time employees.”
There is a little good/bad happening here. Among the benefits are reduced costs and quicker project turnaround. BUT – legal work and the jobs associated with it in Big Law are flying overseas, and some companies are beginning to cut out the middleman (the U.S. firm) in favor of dealing directly with the legal outsourcing firms.
Ultimately, our take is this – lawyers are business owners, and at the end of the day, you want to look for opportunities to grow your practice, and outsourcing is an option. However, in order to do that, you need to find out where in your processes you need help, and to have an understanding of the way things run and the processes involved. Once you can look at things systematically, if outsourcing is your goal then it will be much easier to find places where things repeat or bottleneck and see if you can find a way to outsource it or automate it.
That’s the difference – the future doesn’t belong to people that can multi-task – it belongs to people who can multi-ASK – they are able to see what needs to get done, identify how, and then get that help. Great article worth a read, check it out here: https://www.thebalancesmb.com/outsourcing-legal-services-2151240
Improving Law Firm Efficiency While Reducing Costs
With 15+ years of legal secretarial and administrative experience, including working as a top-notch legal assistant in and around some the largest firms in New York City, Andrea Cannavina has thoughtfully developed and thoroughly tested the application of specific technology in law firms in order to improve efficiency and reduce costs. Since 2001 Andrea has been CEO of LegalTypist Inc. she’s also a master Virtual Assistant and Director of the Virtual Bar Association. All of that keeps her pretty busy, but she was gracious enough to make time in her schedule to join us on the podcast and we are honored to have her on the show today.
Streamline, Automate, Delegate
In this excerpt from the podcast Jake and Paul talk with Andrea about where to start when looking for ways to improve efficiency and get some tasks off the busy lawyer’s plate, getting things under control and the different jobs small business owners are tasked with regardless of what it is they “do”:
Andrea: So my big three things – when it comes to helping people, whether they’re attorneys or regular people or anyone who works in a law office, is first you have to streamline. If you’re not decluttering the office, its systems and the way that you do things, then you can’t really automate as well or you can’t know where to automate because that’s the second half. You have to streamline and you have to automate. And what automate does is it pulls the human to be in the process to the actual last possible parts.
So as much as possible is done before you have to put a human in the mix because of course, let’s face it, that’s somebody’s time. And whether it’s your own time or your assistant’s time, it’s all time that actually you have to pay for, so you don’t want to have to do that. So you streamline so that you get everything as short, and small, and tight as possible. Then you automate everything that you possibly can and then you delegate anything as an attorney or an administrator that isn’t your most important and/or money generating of those tasks. Go to somebody that you actually pay to do for you.
Because your rate that you receive from your client is certainly far higher than you’re even going to pay an outside outsourcing [or] in-house person to do any of these tasks that you’ve now decided are only possible to be done by you, or…I want to say everybody in this day and age works three full-time jobs, especially attorneys who are solos, true solos. They’re the attorney, they have all the court work and client work, and you know, the legal stuff they went to law school to do and they have the business owner stuff. Which the business owner stuff is the making sure that the billing is getting done, making sure the bills are being paid, making sure that all of the stuff there. So they have that whole job.
Then they also get the “gofer” job. That’s the gofer that gets to do and fill in for every freaking emergency generally created because things fell through the cracks at the attorney level, but now they have to be at the call and whim of almost anything else that’s going on out there along with making sure there’s supply, making sure the copier gets done, making sure the mail goes out, making sure the gofer work gets done. So it’s three full-time jobs for every person who’s trying to just exist in business today without the help of streamlining, automating, and delegating.
Get More Information About Delegation, Outsourcing & DAFT-ing
Be sure to listen to the entire podcast episode for more insights and thoughts on improving your law firms’ systems and workflows, identifying processes you can delegate and how Andrea created the DAFT system to win the fight over the exploding inbox. If you want more LAWsome subscribe to the show on your favorite podcast platform, and for the latest in legal marketing insights and information be sure to subscribe to the Consultwebs Newsletter here –>SUBSCRIBE<—