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When Should a Solo Lawyer Outsource Work?

By William Vogeler, Esq. on June 07, 2017 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

If you are thinking about whether to outsource legal work, it's about time.

A solo practitioner cannot do it all alone, despite what My Cousin Vinny said. You need at least two "yutes."

In other words, it's never too late to get a little help in the practice of law. Outsourcing is one of the best ways to do it. Here are some pointers:

Office Support

Receptionist, bookkeeping, and clerical services have long offered themselves for contract work, which is basically the same as outsourcing.

They can work at your office or in their own space. To keep expenses down and to avoid blurring the line between independent contractor and employee, it's a better practice to contract for these services away from your office.

It's OK to have contract workers show up at the office for limited tasks, such as occasionally filing or accounting onsite, but if your receptionist is answering phones at the office then that person is more like an employee. Maybe a virtual assistant, who doesn't need a time sheet, will do?

Tech Support

Speaking of digital assistance and remote workers, most tech support today is through a phone line or a computer. Your software consultant may live in foreign country.

So outsourcing work to tech companies can be as simple as clicking on a website. This could include document management, website development and maintenance, legal scanning and filing and a host of other services.

You may want a tech person to handle it all, like a general contractor who handles sub contractors in construction. In any case, tech services are the solo practitioner's best friend when it comes to leveling the playing field in a competitive law practice.

This is what we're really talking about -- help with all the things lawyers must do to actually practice law, like drafting and appearing in court.

Outsourcing this work requires a hands-on approach. You have to work more closely with appearance counsel and legal writers to ensure that their work is your work product. Don't forget that you are ultimately responsible for it -- malpracticewise and otherwise.

Freelance lawyering is a well-entrenched service these days, so it's not hard to find a contract attorney on the Internet. But before you hire a lawyer you've never met, consider the old-fashioned way: get a referral.

Have an open position at your law firm? Post the job for free on Indeed, or search local candidate resumes.

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