Law Firm Outsourcing with Virtual Assistants is a hot topic in 2022 for law firm owners all across the country. Some lawyers swear by it while others shun the idea altogether. Is Virtual Assistant outsourcing right for your firm?
First – let’s start with the misnomer – Virtual Assistants aren’t limited to off-site legal assistants.
The term encompasses any off-site or offshore contractors hired to provide services for your firm that had traditionally been performed in-house. This could include a litany of activities, from answering the phones, handling intake screening, medical records retrieval, or even traditional paralegal and attorney services such as case prep, drafting or responding to discovery, drafting documents, and performing legal research.
While hiring a company to handle your firm’s after-hours calls was a novel concept a few years ago, opting for virtual contractors to handle these and similar duties has become mainstream for many law firms in 2022.
Let’s face it – Good Help is Hard to Find.
Even lawyers who were dead set against remote employees or contractors were forced to reckon with the concept of remote work as a direct result of the Covid Pandemic. Many have come to see that a host of law firm work can be successfully performed offsite.
With the pandemic being a sort of icebreaker, more and more law firm owners are now asking the questions: Should I start outsourcing? and if so, for what tasks?
Part of successful law firm ownership is recognizing when your firm has a need and taking decisive action to meet that challenge. Virtual Assistants can be your firm’s godsend when you need help – and don’t have the time or resources to build out your own in-house staff.
Do you need someone to answer the phones after hours? Do you need more Intake staff to handle an increase in calls? Are you having trouble with medical records acquisition? Are your paralegals snowed under with a big pending case in pre-lit or litigation?
For many law firm owners, hiring virtual assistants to get these kinds of tasks done is a major game changer for continued growth and satisfactory law firm management. They can fill a need quickly and, in many cases, much more affordably than hiring in-house employees.
If you do want to take the plunge and start outsourcing, where do you begin the search? Fortunately, there are a host of companies offering legal support services and many at a much more affordable price than you could obtain state-side.
But do your homework and vet these vendors first.
As Ben Franklin famously put it: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” And this is certainly the case in hiring. Far better to take time up front to vet a vendor, then deal with the clean up of botched work, and disgruntled clients that can flow from bad hiring choices.
- If you are a PILMMA member, then use your member List-Serve to ask other lawyers what vendors they are using and which ones they ‘ll never use again (PILMMA’s exclusive members-only List Serve is a powerful tool for helping law firm owners get the inside scoop on all kinds of legal marketing and management issues and gives lawyers 24/7 real-time answers and feedback from other law firm owners from all across the country – not to mention it’s a great way to give and receive lucrative case referrals) Find out more about joining PILMMA today so you can gain access to the PILMMA Listserv.
- Vet a prospective Virtual Assistant Vendor by asking for references and then follow through by contacting the references.
- Ask for samples of their work. Just like when hiring an employee – ask to see some of their work, where relevant. Review writing samples if they will be drafting documents. If they are going to be handling your firm’s marketing/social media, then ask to see materials or posts they’ve created for others in the past.
- Make sure they have solid Internet service. Since all the work is done off-site, this is a must.
- If they are handling phone services or Intake, then make sure the speakers will be intelligible to your clients and prospects. This is important. Depending on the particular country in which the company is based, their callers may have accents that will be difficult for your clients or prospects to understand. Avoid this common complaint by proper vetting.
Outsourcing tasks can help you get more done for less money. Typically, virtual assistant services cost about 50% less than in-house services. Hourly wages for offshore work is often between $7-12/hr., rather than the $15-30/hr. you will pay for those same services in house, and there’s no additional costs for benefits such as insurance, paid leave, etc.
Virtual Assistants can help law firm owners fill immediate needs quickly, and cheaply. So don’t be afraid to take the plunge, just do your homework to ensure a satisfactory outcome for you and your clients.
*** If you want to learn more Strategies to help your law firm grow, then register for PILMMA’s 2022 Legal Management & Marketing Super Summit in New Orleans, June 27-29,2022, Live & LIVESTREAM
Its 3 solid days of back-to-back cutting edged presentations from the best and brightest law firm owners and industry experts in the country.