Do Not Copy and Paste

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Do Not Copy and Paste

The start-up law firm needs many elements. These will cover the initial fundamental structure, compliance issues, funding, operations, office and property, people, training, IT and a good marketing strategy.

Document Direct’s services weave throughout every element, some not entirely initially obvious.

The initial business plan is essential, as, without this, there will be no funding raised, no lawyers engaged, and a dysfunctional approach from the outset.

A vital element of the business plan will look at what resources are needed; typically, office space, location, and people will play a vital part in this. These aspects will form a major part of the business’s working capital needs, and indeed, location will be a significant driver in one of the first key decisions.

Property/location – where should they be, which specific area of the city/town is relevant and optimal, how much space is required, how much supply is available, and growth factors are all key considerations.

Clearly, the more people you plan to employ, the more space you need. (NB – of course, Covid-19 will have an impact on the thinking here, as will the early development of work-from-home and remote access to resources – but nevertheless, property will still be a big factor for many).

That decision then leads to people – and after lawyers, your key priority will be to ensure you have outstanding support staff – and this, of course, includes your secretarial and typing resource.

The art of typing is a very insular activity. When looked at dispassionately, it can be performed anywhere, as long as access to the appropriate information is secure and readily available.

Traditionally typists/secretaries/PAs were required to be physically available. This was due to ‘paper’ on the one hand and poor access to other elements of information that are traditionally needed to create the necessary documents/letters/contracts etc. In recent times, firstly tapes and now digital dictation replaced the need for expert shorthand. There is also the more revered role of a secretary as a provider of other services – travel, flowers, lunches, reception, etc.

With the advent of the internet, lower-cost PCs and workstations, and efficient CMS and DMS, some of the above became less important. Overall, efficiency improved in ways that the sector had not experienced before. With these factors in mind, a new start-up can now view an office as being, at its least, merely a form of marketing – an expensive piece of wallpaper. It need not be a receptacle for people, hardware and costly resources – so do not just copy and paste your past experiences into your new one.

Once that concept has been accepted, the whole business plan changes. The need for space and its subsequent cost reduces, the funding needs also decline, and the entire knock-on effect to IT, other support structures, resources, working capital, and many other areas is huge. This presents many major benefits and opportunities, many of which would not have been available before.

In the context of Document Direct’s services, the reduced need for space is but one of the major benefits to be gained. We have already seen that the ‘new’ working from home environment has proved to law firms that they don’t need so much space, leading to the next obvious question “Do we need to employ so many people?

Hence, do we then need to look at how the traditional employed model originally arose?

This was obviously a mix of practical physicality as referred to above, but also elements such as compliance, security and trust.

Seeing was believing – and if managers could see their staff, they had confidence that they were productive. If they could see them, they could form an opinion on their discretion, confidentiality and trust, and have comfort that they would not breach any sensitive issues that may damage the firm. Once again, since 2020, we do not need such ‘physical’ aspects to provide evidence of capability.

Document Direct can offer all aspects of compliance, security, confidence, and data security by providing such evidence as independent accreditation, significant endorsements by peers, remote review of systems, procedures, and more cumulative years of experience in this area than probably any law firm in the country.

Mix these components together, you have a means of delivering a service that has a lower risk attached to it than the more traditional form. This, in turn, feeds further into finance and insurance elements. Other perspectives that are looked at in reducing risk include our approach to engaging typists. In terms of compliance and risk – does the average start-up do this:

Once an operational and strategic decision has been made to use an outsourced typing and document production service, what are the other benefits to a law firm?

  • Access to this service across a 24-hour window – not only to send items but to have them worked on, completed, and returned. This, in turn, means that pressure on both the fee earning and support teams is reduced, compliance is adhered to, and the firm never faces a backlog of client-facing work or attendance notes.
  • Flexibility is, therefore, a major advantage. How does a start-up assess the demand it will have? Typists typically come in ‘one-person’ increments. Our service is incredibly incremental, coping ideally with and flexing not only increasing demand but also reducing demand. You can use us in ‘one-minute’ increments. As a perfect example, the property sector’s recent changes have shown us the need to quickly scale up resources before reducing them.
  • A ‘one-person’ resource also comes with much in the way of fixed costs – not only salary, NI, pensions, holidays, but also costs that are difficult to plan for:- sickness, maternity absences, training, never mind the impact of external forces, including the weather and global pandemics.
  • A ‘one-person’ resource also has additional hidden costs – management, HR, hidden inefficiencies and overheads (even if it’s only tea and coffee, computers, chairs, desks, water coolers etc….).
  • A ‘one-person’ resource is also a vulnerable one. Typically, ‘ one-person’ acquires and retains much in the way of internal knowledge that is instantly lost when they are not there. Collective knowledge is not usually widespread, by default, with “one-person”. Partnering with Document Direct ensures you will never have a single point of failure or vulnerability in your typing team.

So, there we have it. Who would have thought the selection of your typing resource would be such an exciting task, providing you with the agile and flexible support you need and at a cost that moves in line with your fee income.

Don’t copy and paste from your past – create your new future on a clean piece of paper.

Author: Martyn Best, Document Direct

UK based 24/7 digital dictation, typing and transcription services. Our talented and highly experienced team of UK-based legal secretaries work around the clock giving you this resource at a lower cost than employing and housing traditional 9-5 staff. This helps you deliver quicker client responses, improve your profitability and take some stress out of your working life.

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