Outsourcing: There is Nothing to Fear
Over the years, many new words and everyday phrases creep into our language.
What have we had recently – pandemic, vaccines, and ‘you’re on mute’ spring to mind.
More specifically in the legal sector, we have had ‘agile’, ‘remote-working’ ‘cloud’, and of course everyone’s favourite, ‘outsourcing’.
All these words and phrases cause us to re-think our position and views.
Now, pandemics and vaccines may deliver some concern in some minds, but surely we have nothing to fear about outsourcing, so let us examine why there may be some hesitancy amongst some law firms in this area.
If we look at the legal sector, we will see that internal resources are stretched like never before, and clients of law firms are relentlessly expecting more for less, quicker, but with no reduction in quality.
This then leads to ensuring we are as efficient as possible, with the best and most appropriate skills within our grasp, and at the most expedient cost.
What have lawyers trained years for?
This is a good starting point – and the answer is really quick and clear – they’ve trained for years to be able to deliver the best possible legal advice and opinion that they can. To ensure that we all have access to justice, and to help those in need.
I don’t think lawyers become lawyers to:
- Perform accounting functions.
- Compare telephony providers.
- Try to understand our IT systems.
- Do our own typing.
- Manage our own cashiering.
- Answer our own phones.
- Manage people with different perspectives.
- Assess the best case management systems
- Write our own blogs, even.
Once we appreciate that we should all play to our strengths and bring in those resources that are better and more cost-effective, then our next concern is “what fears do we need to overcome next?”
1. Outsourcing can be associated with compromising quality.
Indeed it can – as can choosing a bad lawyer. Therefore choose wisely, and follow step 4.
2. It won’t save enough money and not worth the change.
Most businesses offering any sort of commercial service must be able to offer a competitive advantage, or they will not survive. Those who specialise will be aware of this, and their expertise and focus will be built upon a great commercial proposition to you.
3. The legal sector is too niche and requires specialist skills that an outsourced firm cannot provide.
That may be true if you need specialist legal advice that only you have – but even then, there’s always someone wiser somewhere. However, let’s face it, the actual business of a law firm is not very complex. We have a simple process of offering our time at a certain price, billing for it, and collecting the resultant invoice.
We do not have a complicated process, sadly it’s not rocket science, and we can very easily impose very clear controls to be able to manage our business.
Certainly, an understanding of the nuances of a law firm is very useful, and an appreciation of our culture is helpful, but let us not create unnecessary barriers.
4. Choose your new partner wisely.
It is vital to conduct a proper assessment when choosing any supplier to the business.
Prepare your schedule of needs carefully and have a clear specification of what you want to be delivered, and what qualities that supplier must have.
Take your time in the assessment, and do not rush into a decision.
Call upon others for validation or endorsement. Your colleagues may have had prior experience of their service, and you will certainly know contemporaries who have used them. Case studies add to this along with third-party references.
Compare their prices and quotes with your own existing cost base, and make sure you create a clear costs/benefits framework.
5. The right cultural fit
Having said all of that, every business is different and has its own special culture.
It is therefore important that you choose someone who understands that. Business is a personal matter, and it’s also important that you embark upon a new relationship with people who share your values, and who you will actually enjoy working with.
So, now that we’ve been reassured that adding external resources to our existing ones is not the doom-laden scenario we first feared, we can take those steps towards it.
Outsourcing works – just take care in who you choose as your partner.
Author: Martyn Best, Document Direct