The Speed of Working with Remote Associates

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The words “speed” and “hiring” do not usually go hand in hand in the legal industry.

The traditional hiring process of law firms moves at a painfully slow pace.  It can take a law firm anywhere from three to 12 months to bring on a lateral hire.  Entry level hiring of new associates typically only happens once a year around the bar exam.

The majority of attorneys in the U.S. are solos or at small firms of five or fewer attorneys.  The staffing needs of these attorneys are not met by the traditional hiring process primarily because of how slow and cumbersome it can be.  It’s time for a fresh new look at the hiring and staffing needs of law firms – especially the speed and benefits of remote workers.

BENEFITS OF OUTSOURCING

The business model of the modern law firm is evolving.  More and more firms are turning to outsourcing to remote associates for a variety of reasons.

Overhead Control

Hiring a full-time associate is a great way to get more work done and produce more billable hours. That is, if your firm is busy and employee productivity is at 100%.

But before a traditional associate can get to the point of being 100% productive (if ever), they are expensive and can drastically reduce profitability for your business. You’re going to have to make payroll for that person every two weeks, whether or not they are hitting their billables and whether or not your firm has enough work for them.

The fully loaded cost of hiring a traditional associate attorney is incredibly high when you consider the cost of their salary, benefits, office space, equipment, and subscriptions they need to succeed in their role.

In this post-pandemic world, many law firms are re-evaluating the cost of managing a physical office. Now that more and more clients are demanding video conferencing options the need for bricks and mortar real estate is diminishing.

When you compare all of these traditional hiring costs to the low cost of outsourcing to a remote associate or a freelance attorney, either for one-off projects or on a subscription basis, you can get help at a much more affordable price point without adding to your monthly overhead.

Access to Expertise

Law firms typically outsource time consuming tasks related to discovery, document review, and research.

And traditionally, if you were going to hire an associate to handle those tasks, you’d be looking to hire a junior associate who is one to three years out of law school.

While these young associates are eager to work and may put their all into it, their lack of experience can end up consuming a lot of your time as you will need to commit your own time to training and mentoring them.

Instead, when you compare the traditional hiring of an entry level associate with that of a freelance lawyer, you’re often able to find attorneys with many more years of experience. They have handled their own cases, counseled their own clients, and they can draw on those experiences in performing quality work for you.  Keep in mind that they can perform this high-level work without you having to spend hours of your own time giving them instruction and training them on what they need to be doing.

When you collaborate with a seasoned freelance lawyer who has 10+ years of experience, the work product is going to be at a deeper level than if you chose to assign the same task to an entry level associate.

Increased Profits

Many attorneys mistakenly view outsourcing to freelance lawyers as a cost.  The reality is that it can be a profit center.

According to the ethics rules and opinions, you are allowed to charge the work done by a freelance lawyer to your client at a reasonable market rate.

For example, let’s say you post a Project to the LAWCLERK marketplace, and you set the price you’ll pay at $1,500.

After you hire a freelancer and they complete their work, they send you their timecard, and report that it took them 12 hours to complete the Project.

Based on a reasonable market rate of $200 per hour, you can charge your client $2,400 for that work.

And since you only have to pay the freelance lawyer $1,500 based on the predetermined rate for the Project, that’s a profit of $900 for your law firm — based on one Project alone.

Not only did hiring a freelancer create more profit for you, it also helped you carve out 12 more hours of work that you spend on other tasks. That’s time that can be better spent strategizing on a case, marketing your business, or any of the many other more important tasks you’d like to spend your time doing.

Time Management Efficiency

When it comes to spending your time more efficiently, one of the most compelling reasons why law firms should turn to outsourcing to remote employees is effective time management.

If you’re a solo attorney or you have a small firm, chances are that when you founded that firm and first opened your doors, you did every job under the roof. You answered the phones, you helped with marketing, you did client intake, you did research — and of course, you did the legal work. The workday never seemed to end!

But as time goes on and the firm evolves and grows, as the attorney at the firm, you simply don’t have enough hours in the day to do all of those things yourself anymore. That’s when you need to re-evaluate what the best use of your time is and start delegating everything that isn’t to team members.

This is where most lawyers typically get to the point of saying, “I don’t have time to spend hours and hours researching issues and writing memos. I don’t have time to spend hours and hours managing discovery.”

Yes, as the managing attorney, you need to be the quarterback looking over all the work and supervising it. But you don’t need to be the one in the trenches personally doing the hours and hours of work that go into legal research, discovery, or other similar tasks.

This is why legal outsourcing can be such a great solution for an evolving and growing law firm. This way, you as the attorney can stay focused on only handling tasks that are the absolute best use of your time — because time is limited, and you have to maximize it to grow your business.

ENTER REMOTE ASSOCIATES

Remote Associates are also known as freelance lawyers, virtual associates or contract lawyers.  Remote Associates are talented lawyers with a wealth of experience and expertise who are intentionally choosing a freelance career for a variety of reasons.

Freelancing offers welcome flexibility for attorneys who find themselves dealing with burnout, who crave work-life balance, who want to retire but don’t want to leave the game completely yet, and those new parents who want to spend more time with their babies and less time arguing about discovery extensions.  These talented attorneys are looking for remote lawyer jobs that better match their lifestyle.

Freelancing offers the chance for attorneys to use their legal skills and experience on their terms.  These attorneys get to hand pick the projects they want to work, get to do those projects during working hours that are convenient for them, and can work from anywhere with an internet connection.

Flexible work from a home office is quickly becoming the new normal. There has been a major shift in attorneys prioritizing their physical health, mental health and personal life beyond just their career. Offering remote work options will boost retention and also results for your clients.

A large factor in this move to freelance lawyering is that the traditional legal career path is not designed for the majority of lawyers to succeed and leaves little room for any type of work/life balance, let alone individual well-being. Many attorneys will join big law firms out of law school, chasing the dream of one day making partner but what they may not realize, is that at the 250 biggest law firms in the United States there is less than a 30% change of making partner. This is often called the big law “up or out” system.

These highly skilled lawyers without the necessary million-dollar book of business to become partner are leaving big law en masse. Many of these attorneys, trained at some of the best firms in the world, start their own firms and freelance as they build up their clientele. In other cases, these attorneys are developing full-time freelance careers and searching out opportunities for remote attorney jobs.

Remote Associates can help with project-based work or with on-going subscription-based work.  There are countless benefits to working with Remote Associates but certainly the speed at which they can get to work is a huge advantage.

THE NEED FOR SPEED

When it comes to Project based work you can be matched with a Remote Associate and start work in literally hours.  The way it works is simple.  You post a Project on LAWCLERK.  Remote Associates apply and you get to review their credentials.  Each applicant provides a bio, resume, writing sample and you are also able to see their reviews and ratings from other attorneys.  You select the top applicant and once they clear conflicts you are off to the races.  This entire process of matching with a Remote Associate can take just a few hours!

Many attorneys need on-going help from a Remote Associate.  This is when LAWCLERK’s subscription program can be a real game changer.

The way our subscription program works is that you speak with you Dedicated LAWCLERK Advisor to identify the skills and characteristics you need in a Virtual Associate along with how much help you need each month.  The program starts at just 30 hours per four-week period and can go up to 160 hours (or more).

Then we go to work for you to find and pre-vet applicants.  We present only the most qualified applicants to you – saving you a ton of time.  We do the heavy lifting so that you don’t spend your valuable time on writing job descriptions, posting on job boards, and sorting through applicants.

We work with you to narrow down your top applicants and we can set up interviews by phone or Zoom. Fortunately legal quickly embraced remote work and tools like video conferencing when the pandemic hit. Busy attorneys are now adept at collaborating with a remote workforce anywhere there is wi-fi, whether it is a home office or coffee shop.

After you select the top applicant you can get to work right away.  This process can take days or weeks compared to the months long hassle of the traditional hiring process. Plus, we’ll take care of the administrative work and tax reporting so you can focus on growing your firm.

Working with Remote Associates is the modern way to get the help you need, when you need it for your law firm.  Successful attorneys like Serena Baig Cooper have hired associates via the traditional hiring process and know how much time it takes.

That’s why when Serena was recently faced with an unanticipated staffing challenge she decided to try working with a virtual associate because she didn’t have time to waste.  She shared the following about her experience:

“I contacted LAWCLERK on a Tuesday as one of our associates suddenly had to take extended medical leave. We were slammed with year-end work and needed help stat. I had heard about LAWCLERK’s subscription program and reached out. Two days later, my LAWCLERK Advisor presented me with six Virtual Associate applicants based on the criteria I had provided. We set up interviews and although we initially set out to hire one, ultimately hired two. Our Remote Associates were up and running by the following Monday – less than a week from my first call to LAWCLERK. It’s now three months later and we’ve had a great experience! It has been wonderful to be able to adjust our Virtual Associates’ subscription hours with the ebbs and flows of our workload. The speed, quality, and flexibility of LAWCLERK’s subscription program are unmatched!”

LET’S GET TO WORK!

Leveraging the time and talent of freelance lawyers can get you help much faster and save you a ton of time when you are already drowning with work.

Whether you need occasional help from a freelance lawyer or on-going help via our subscription associate program, thousands of law firms rely on us to bill more hours and reduce overhead. You’ll have complete control over who you hire, the work to be done, and how much you’re willing to pay for help.

Learn more at lawclerk.legal or schedule a demo HERE.

Kristin Tyler, Co-Founder Lawclerk

Kristin Tyler, Co-Founder Lawclerk

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