Legal Outsourcing: 3 Reasons to Use It and Advice on How

by | Dec 24, 2021 | Insights

Legal outsourcing has been around for quite some time now. Although some are still sceptical of its reliance and credibility, it has become an extremely common resource for companies and law firms. While the Covid-19 crisis has impacted every single industry in various ways, one effect it has had on the legal world is the way in which it is almost impossible now to thrive without adapting to the flexible, cheaper, remote way of working.

However, just like all innovative changes, it is necessary and essential to be cautious in its use rather than rushing and risking making ethical or financial mistakes.

The benefits of legal outsourcing are numerous. We can sum them up in three main points: saving, expanding, optimising.

Saving

Law firms are notorious for racking up major fees that are then reflected on their clients’ bills. Outsourcing is a previously unthinkable way for them to save money. It was sometimes believed outsourcing was “cheap” because it was coming from nations with lower living and labour costs and thus with probably lower quality.

None of that is true. Outsourcing from India the US or Europe – done the right way – never leads to sacrificing the quality of legal work. You might ask what costs you can avoid. Not only would you dodge the expenses linked with hiring and training candidates but also the major overheads notably due to infrastructure.

That’s not all; what makes the biggest difference is the fact that there is a tremendous gap between the remuneration of full-time and freelance attorneys. Lastly, in the cases where the hired lawyers are not so relevant anymore, there are no extra salaries being paid. 

Expanding

Law firms, especially boutique firms, often receive a client or a project that they don’t have the necessary resources or expertise for. A small firm or a large legal department from a big company can both lack the right lawyer(s) for a mission they are asked to work on.

As a matter of fact, a single project might require extra workforce or a specific expertise. Having to decline a work opportunity is a last resort solution.

There is a solution to this troubling issue: affordable and flexible outsourcing that will allow firms to expand and grow a stronger customer base. In addition, gaining access to other talent coming with diverse experience and capabilities and different ways of thinking can only enhance productivity. 

Optimising

Another factor often neglected and overlooked is the well-being of lawyers. It is time to take it into consideration. Heavy workload negatively affects productivity, it’s a fact. The legal field is well known for being a world of long hours, pressure, stress, and unpleasant working environments.

Some of the daily burdens of being a lawyer do include spending valuable energy on inevitable tasks that take a long time and require a lot of effort such as repetitive work and mundane tasks.

These are often taking time away from more high-level work that could later be done by an overtired professional.

With the weight of research and writing lifted from their shoulders, in-house lawyers will be free to focus on the activities that they excel at. That way, lawyers would gain in efficiency and productivity without having to sacrifice their health, well-being, and personal lives. 

All those reasons do a good job in advertising legal outsourcing. However, there are some crucial non-negligible steps to follow in order to do it the right way. We can also sum them up in three recommendations: research, supervise, respect ethics.

Research 

In every kind of business, checking up the background of a candidate has become common practice. From hiring an intern to picking a CEO, knowing the credentials of a potential colleague is crucial. In the same way, when working hand-in-hand with another company or establishing partnerships, deep checks take place. Hence, it makes sense to ensure the provider is the right one for you before outsourcing.

You can also use advice from trustable authorities in the legal field such as Chambers & Partners that ranked the global top ALSPs in 2021. Lawflex also provides a guide to the top new law companies. It is also worth noting that not all ALSPs supply every expertise or type of lawyers. This gives another reason to research before hiring external help. 

Supervise

We saw that there are various reasons for outsourcing legal work. It can either be an overload of work that leaves no lawyers available, a pragmatic way to optimise the productivity of the firm by relieving in-house counsels from redundant time-consuming work or a lack of specific expertise.

In all these cases, it is important to define the explicit tasks while maintaining sufficient supervision of the work that is being made. Whether it is research and admin work or more prominent assignments during a mission, without consequent training usually taking place at the beginning of a job, guidance is fundamental. 

Respect Ethics

There are several rules that should not be ignored. Before outsourcing legal work and hiring external lawyers, the firm must make sure that some codes are complied with. They first have to get consent from the client. They should then make sure privacy is a handled concern by signing non-disclosure agreements for example.

Regarding billing, the American Bar Association has expressed its position on the subject in declaring that a firm should not impose an extra fee for work performed by an outsourced lawyer. Lastly, avoiding conflicts of interest due to multiple clients is imperative.