This article first appeared on the LAWCLERK.legal blog
Outsourcing is essential if you want your small or solo law practice to scale over time. The simple truth is that you don’t have time to do everything. Expecting yourself to ‘grind it out’ is not virtuous or responsible.
Deciding to outsource can lead to a lot of mixed emotions and mixed messages. You might feel guilty that you need help or micromanage because you are unsure that your freelance attorney is up to the task.
My advice? Take a moment to get in the right mindset before outsourcing legal work so you are not inadvertently sabotaging your results.
First, recognize that you can change your behavior without having a complete mindset change. What does that mean to you? You can start outsourcing without fully believing that everything will be perfect. In fact, things won’t be perfect but they will be better.
I hated sushi and never understood why someone would want to eat raw fish. I passed up every sushi restaurant until I was dating my husband. He was a huge sushi fan. I accompanied him to restaurants and eventually became a sushi fan. My point is I liked him more than I disliked the idea of sushi.
You can take the same attitude towards outsourcing. Focus on what you will gain: more time, more freedom to do work that satisfies you, more productivity.
Before you know it outsourcing to freelance lawyers will become one of your favorite things to do. It’s kinda like eating potato chips. Once you have one successful outsourcing experience, you want more!
What are you thinking?
Let’s look at the beliefs that may be holding you back from taking advantage of outsourcing. Have you ever thought any of these thoughts?
· This is legal work for my law firm. I should do it all myself so I know it’s right.
· It will take longer for me to explain this work than do it myself.
· I’d hate to break an ethical rule by outsourcing.
· I can’t afford to outsource this work.
Believe me you are not alone. Most lawyers believe or have said some variation of each of these sentences. However, successful lawyers adjust their mindset so they accept new ideas and grow their law practices.
Let’s give you some new beliefs to help you embrace outsourcing to a freelance lawyer, shall we?
This is legal work for my law firm. I should do it all myself so I know it’s right.
Freelance lawyers are trained to do this exact type of work you are requesting. They have superior knowledge and familiarity that significantly reduces the chance for error.
You will ultimately get a better work product when you use a freelance lawyer to do work that you haven’t done before or rarely do in your law practice.
It will take longer for me to explain this work than do it myself.
Outsourcing helps you leverage your time. Taking the time to write out an explanation of your project provides you with two benefits. One, your practice becomes more organized because you have documented a process. That document is called a standard operating procedure, or legend, as I like to say. You can share the legend of the project repeatedly each time you are outsourcing that project. And, you save time when you do the project yourself because you are not starting from scratch and trying to remember your steps.
Second, you get a return on your time investment because you can use your newly freed time to do income-generating activities like attending courting referral sources.
I’d hate to break an ethical rule by outsourcing.
There are so many rules and regulations about the practice of law that worrying is understandable. Find out the rules so that you have certainty that outsourcing is acceptable to your state or city bar.
Better yet, use a tool like LawClerk.legal, which goes the extra mile to ensure that there are no ethical concerns. Their technology is built so you are following your state rules on unlicensed practice of law. They do the footwork for you so you can outsource with confidence.
I can’t afford to outsource the work
It is admirable and responsible for you, as a small business, to pay close attention to the money that leaves your firm. You may even consider outsourcing to be a luxury to your law firm.
Think of outsourcing as an investment like the cost of Lexis Nexis. It is a necessary tool you need to do a good job. Because you decide when to outsource work to a freelance lawyer and the project fees, you always have control over the budget. Thankfully, there is qualified talent available to just about every budget.
Stop telling yourself that you can’t outsource because you can. Your law practice will be better organized, more efficient, time-rich and happier if you do.
Want help determining if you’re ready to outsource and clarifying your goals? Let’s talk