Outsourcing isn’t exactly a new idea – it’s been around for decades now.
Many law firms have already outsourced their support services such as secretarial, document production and even HR to trusted partners.
Sometimes this is out of necessity, because they can’t recruit the staff or, where demand outstrips their own resources. Other motivations include the need to streamline processes, reduce costs, deal with the peaks and troughs of variable demand or remove the burdens of recruitment and management of staff.
Recent market conditions have led more law firms to explore outsourcing their legal service delivery -as the growth of our freelance lawyer service, NexaConnex, can confirm.
NexaConnex is aimed at mid-market firms which have been particularly affected by the recruitment squeeze and salary wars pushing up pay in London and other big cities.
So, what should law firms be thinking about before outsourcing aspects of their legal service delivery?
Quality: If you are going to trust your valued clients’ work to outsourced lawyers you need to be confident that there will be no reduction in the quality of the service provided. Make sure you vet and ideally interview in advance, the lawyers who will be working with you.
Service standards: Decide what “good” looks like and make sure your service agreement defines this carefully. Ideally, you will pick the right partner and not need to enforce these, but make sure there are appropriate contractual consequences for failing to meet standards.
Supervision: Linked to quality and service standards – how will this work in practice, do your own partners have capacity to take this on? Are you looking for junior or senior support? Are you happy for outsourced lawyers to be client facing, or would you prefer not?
Costs: Obviously a critical consideration – can you afford to do this or, rather, can you afford not to do this? What billing arrangements are being offered? How will lawyers’ time be recorded and invoiced? Will you be able to recoup costs from clients and how much profit margin do you want to make?
Flexibility: How quick and easy will it be to scale outsourced work up or down? What notice requirements are the outsourcing partner asking for? Is that workable for your business?
Risk & insurance: Talk to your insurer and make sure contracted lawyers and their work will be properly covered. If not, will you be fully covered by your outsourcing partner’s insurance?
Regulation: Is your proposed outsourcing partner regulated by the SRA? This is the best way to give you and your clients peace of mind.
Termination: How easy will it be to terminate the outsourcing arrangements – perhaps because you want to switch provider, or can bring services back in-house?
How can NexaConnex help your firm?
We have addressed each of the key questions above in designing our NexaConnex offering. You can be confident that our solution is of high quality, flexible and backed by our SRA regulated vehicle, Nexa Law Limited.
If you’re thinking about outsourcing legal service delivery, please get in touch with Nigel Clark, Nexa’s CEO or our NexaConnex leads Matthew Dunne and Daniel Jenkins who will be very happy to talk through the NexaConnex solution with you, on a confidential basis.
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