Obviously, our business and livelihoods depend upon Law Firms using our services, and some can shout, “Fake News….”, saying we twist the facts to our own benefit, but these facts are irrefutable.

For firms wanting to enhance their marketing, but do not have the bodies, process, or infrastructure to do so, this discussion series/article is for you.

Outsourcing is such a compelling topic for law firms of all sizes, but from our perspective, absolutely critical to small and mid-size firms. We continually monitor outsourcing trends and research on the topic.  Below are some excerpts and links to interesting articles authored by qualified sources and our thoughts as to why these referenced items are meaningful to law firms.

The MOST COMPELLING QUOTE for me comes from independent law firm administrator/management consultant, Elizabeth M. Miller, MBA. Miller states,

“Lawyers doing accounting, writing basic motions, shopping vendors or supplies takes away from the important things lawyers need to do: BILL!”  She adds with italic emphasis: “I cannot emphasize enough that any timekeeper doing work that is non-billable is a waste of the firm’s resources and a loss to the firm’s revenues.” 

Another source, tried to make a similar point in terms of an “opportunity cost” algorithm (as a former Large Law CFO, I could not support the premise for the equation, so have not attributed the author) that an attorney that blogs regularly and has a $200 per hour rate costs their firm $72,000 per year.

Our position on attorney’s that blog, and do it well…

They are worth their weight in gold!  You cannot put a “Cost Tag” on an attorney’s ability to develop quality thought leadership, and our position is that core thought leadership is not something you can generally effectively outsource. Obviously, thought leadership/blogging does not replace the requirement for an attorney to bill hours, but it is an important component of many firm’s marketing strategies.

However, there are many law firm administrative and marketing tasks which lend themselves to being outsourced.

The following factoids are representative of what we see and law firms should take note of:

  • A recent BusinessWire article states that they are seeing a fast-growing trend for outsourcing in law firms beyond traditional office services tasks, to include the full array of administrative functions.
  • Harvard Business Review statistics have stated that the global outsourcing industry is growing at near vertical rate.
  • Per Gregg Landers, director of growth management at CBIZ MHM, the nation’s eighth largest accounting and business services provider. The types of tasks that are best outsourced fall into three general categories:
    • Highly skilled, or executive expertise: Critical needs such as a CFO/Financial Advisor/Business Manager. Required, just not on a full-time basis.
    • Highly repetitive tasks: Specific knowledge and skills required, but again not on a full-time basis. <Marketing tasks,> accounts payable, billing, data entry and inventory fall into these categories.
    • Specialized knowledge. “An example might be the IT support for your accounting system or your network,” Landers says. “You may not be able to afford or need a full-time IT person, and it is easier to change to an outsourced provider with the right skill set as your IT needs change.”

We strongly concur with Gregg’s analysis and assessment. If you wrap this up with Elizabeth’s thought on how attorneys should be spending their time, aligned with our position on how attorneys should spend non-billable time… Well this whole idea of outsourcing starts to make a ton of sense.

Let’s review benefits related to Outsourcing…

We could cite the Pareto Principle, but that could be confusing, implying for some that you may actually have more time for admin stuff (smile…)

Benefit/Reality: What it really means is that successful attorneys/firms should spend most of their precious resource (TIME) bringing in clients and working on cases, and less time on the administrative functions.

Working with clients is what drives your business forward, so spend most of your energy there!

Full Funnel, an enterprise level sales and marketing outsourcing organization working with the largest of organizations, highlights their Top 9 Benefits of Outsourcing Sales and Marketing Here.  Our top 3 picks from their article are:

  • Lower overhead and reduced risk associated with staffing positions suitable for outsourcing
    • Benefit: Having an experienced and reliable outsourced team mitigates risk of operational inefficiencies, and greatly decreases the cost impact of hiring and retaining internal staff.
  • Time savings
    • Benefit: Allows attorneys to focus on client work and acquisition. Priceless!
  • Growth
    • Benefit: Small to mid-size law firms are notoriously understaffed to take on growth/strategic initiatives, resulting in either poor performance, or worse… Inertia! Engaging an outsourced marketing team can enable quick results and growth by nature of simply quickly putting together and executing a marketing plan.

This discussion can go on and on and on, and so it shall… Keep an eye out for the next article in the series, as we dig deeper into this and other related topics.  More soon!

The ProfessionalWORX Team

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