The 2017 Altman Weil Survey titled “Law Firms in Transition” discusses the growing use of contract lawyers to combat the oversupply of lawyers, the decreasing demand for legal services, and the mounting challenges facing the business of law. The survey reports that:
Firms are using contract lawyers, staff lawyers and part-time lawyers in an effort to mitigate costs and improve efficiency and profitability. The stigma about the quality of contract lawyer work is gone in most firms, in our experience, and clients find such strategies to be acceptable if not preferable.
Half of all law firms in the 2017 survey said they have significantly changed their staffing strategy since the recession. The use of contract lawyers is the top staffing tactic firms are pursing and the most effective lawyer staffing technique….
The use of contract lawyers allows firms to flex up and down in response to demand fluctuations without increasing overhead. A firm that has addressed the issue of underperformance and identified a cohesive and productive core partnership should certainly add contract lawyers to its toolkit if it has not already done so.
The 2017 Survey establishes the many benefits of using contract lawyers and paraprofessionals, citing that:
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