When you run your own practice, you need to be careful to avoid burnout. You’re likely to work long and stressful hours. Clients will call anytime they have a problem, not only during your office hours. This makes it harder to leave your work behind at the end of the day and take the time off you need to recharge. And if you’re a solo practitioner, you might not have anyone in the office to help you manage the stress or even take a break if the day feels overwhelming.
That’s why outsourcing certain tasks can be a lifesaver for many solo lawyers. You can benefit from their niche expertise, at a much lower cost to your business than hiring in-house staff. However, when you’re starting to look, you might find dozens of companies that supply the services or software that you need. How can you choose the right company for you?
What to look for in legal services outsourcing?
To stand out from their competitors, many companies now offer additional features beyond their core service. Some of these features might align well with your existing needs, or even resolve multiple issues your firm faced. However, it takes careful research to discover whether these come at an additional cost, or whether they can be delivered at the same quality as their core business.
Assess new partner companies with an open mind. Ask yourself whether any additional features would help your business or would be an unnecessary complication. If you can find a company that delivers multiple services that would be useful to your practice, this could provide a higher ROI and help you to save money each month without compromising your business.
Another factor that will be significant for most businesses is response time. Speed matters, and how quickly you can get through to their team is often representative of how quickly they will deliver their services.
It can be hard to get a clear picture of a company’s true operating speed before you have worked with them, but there are a few clues that you can look for. Send them an initial inquiry or some questions, and monitor how long it takes them to respond. If a company takes more than a day to reply to your inquiry, they are likely to be even slower once they have secured your business.
Support is key, especially for small firms where every delay or issue costs valuable minutes from your hectic day. No service is perfect, and if you work with the same company for long enough, you will undoubtedly come up against some challenges. That’s why excellent customer support is one of the most important features of an outsourcing partnership – it gives you confidence.
Before you sign up with a service, find out what their customer support looks like. How will you be trained to use the service or software? If you have any problems, who do you contact? Learn as much as possible before you commit to them, as you don’t want to find out their customer support isn’t available out of hours when you discover a problem with your account at the end of a long day.
A simple question that may have more significance than you think – where are they based? When outsourcing, you’ll often have the option of small local businesses or nationwide companies, and everything in between. Both have their advantages: a national company may have more resources, while locals might have a better understanding of your specific business model or audience.
Learn as much as you can about their office locations and working model, as this will give you an insight into how they operate. We can certainly recommend the distributed model for small firms – with multiple locations across the country, they will help to mitigate the impact of local issues. If your city or state experiences a power cut or extreme weather event, distributed businesses can help you to maintain your service and activity throughout.
As much as some services want to pretend otherwise, price is still a big factor in a solo practitioner’s choice of service. When you’re starting out, $100 can be the difference between paying yourself something that month.
However, how are you going to grow your practice without investing in some support? If outsourcing certain services could help you speak to five more potential clients each week – and even help you retain one of those, you’ll start to see a solid return on your investment. So, yes, the price matters. But so do the results.
Outsourcing done right can help small firms to grow without the huge overhead costs of hiring new staff or training current employees. But choosing an outsourcing company that doesn’t fit your practice can be a negative experience that can put you off approaching other businesses in the future. Make sure you do your research, read reviews, and speak to other firm owners who use these services to ensure you find the perfect fit for you.
Do you need support for your solo practice? LEX Reception provides virtual reception services for small firms and solo practitioners. We can help you answer every potential client, and take them through your intake script to secure their case.