3 MYTHS OF OUTSOURCING

With internal resources stretched like never before, and clients of law firms relentlessly expecting more for less, law firms have been outsourcing their support services to experts in the field—and they’ve had great success.

By working in this new way, these firms have freed up time for fee earners and are better able to capitalise on growth opportunities, with the peace of mind that their support staff (both internal and external) will manage all increases in workload, in a highly cost advantageous fashion.

That said, there’s no doubt that the profession can still be cautious about outsourcing, and it seems to be for three key reasons:

1. Outsourcing is typically associated with compromising quality.

2. It won’t save enough money and is not worth the change.

3. The legal sector is too niche and requires specialist skills that an outsourced firm cannot provide.

So let us explore the 3 myths of outsourcing.

Myth number 1

Myth number 1 is a common and valid concern, but one that can be dispelled with a little understanding and research.

When you’re used to things working in a certain way, change and trusting someone to do the job for you leaves you thinking: “They’ll never care as much as I do”

BUT, that’s not always the case, and often it takes a fresh pair of eyes to see what’s working and what’s not, and a new perspective to come up with solutions not previously considered (such as integrating new technology and different tools to improve a service).

However, choosing a third party to run a whole function of your business depends on trust and aligned standards, and that can be achieved from a range of enquiries, endorsements and pilot schemes.

Myth number 2

Myth number 2 may in the short term be correct, and outsourcing your support services can sometimes incur additional time and cost, however, in the medium term, this investment will quickly give you:

• A better understanding of costs, and savings on unnecessary spending, which means clearly gives better profit margins.

• Improved efficiency in support functions, which means freeing up time for fee earners and better, quicker client service and response.

• Better staff-to-fee-earner ratios, which means freeing up funds and resources such as space and time to reinvest in their firm.

And longer term, you’ll get:

• Better incentivised support staff, which means increased output and improved quality of work.

• More support for fee earners, which means business growth and more opportunities to win new clients.

• Decreased staff turnover, which means saving costs on procurement and training.

Myth number 3

Myth 3 is also reasonable, but of course is overcome by companies who already provide support services to the legal sector having specialist skills and experience in what is required to provide cost-effective, efficient and high-quality support to fee earners.

To be effective in providing these support services, an understanding of the impact a law firm’s culture has on how a provider would need to approach service delivery is essential.

The best way to ensure your firm chooses the right service provider for you is to:

• Background check their experience. Do your due diligence on any potential provider and ensure they specifically focus on providing support services to firms in the legal sector.

• Speak to your colleagues and contemporaries and ask for references and case studies.

So I hope that helps to dispel some of the myths of outsourcing.

Outsourcing works – just take care in who you choose as your partner.

Martyn Best, Document Direct