Running a legal business primarily requires investment, time and smart people with great talents and multitasking capabilities. But as the business grows and thrives, managers and business decision makers face many challenges in the form of complex business processes, lost time and reduced employee satisfaction and productivity. A simple solution to this problem is back office outsourcing. Assigning non-core tasks to a reputable BPO company could ensure many benefits including cost and time savings. When talking about outsourcing benefits, one of the most appealing benefits organizations look for is time savings. Time management is of utmost significance in any organization and crucial in legal firms.
As any business grows, business processes increase and become more complex. Every worker has multiple activities which may be salaried activities or self employment activities. Calculating the time spent on each activity is vital to justify compensations, remunerations and also to find a balance between activities. This also allows understanding the time required for each activity, which makes it easier to subcontract them. The fundamental trend of any business is that if more expertise is required then some work is outsourced to reliable outsourcing services.
Keeping track of time spent on various processes helps to achieve organizational goals and also creates an element of personal motivation. Today, businesses can outsource their activities if it becomes difficult to manage these in-house and grow the business satisfactorily. However, choosing the tasks that need to be outsourced is important.
Let us consider a law firm as example. In the United States, both small and large law firms are outsourcing legal work including document review, form preparation, and legal research to legal process outsourcing companies. To ensure successful outsourcing, here are a few important considerations.
- Know your needs and understand your goals: Determine your exact needs. Understanding what processes need to be outsourced is important when it comes to ensuring improved efficiency, productivity and time savings. Are you outsourcing to save money on attorneys? Are you planning to take on bigger cases and remain competitive? Or maybe you have a project that needs a little extra manpower and you don’t have the resources? When you have a clear picture of what you need from an outsourced service, it can help you choose the right provider that can assist you in meeting your goals efficiently.
- Take your time to choose the vendor: This is something you cannot hurry into. Spend sufficient time researching outsourcing providers and finalizing a suitable partner. Cost shouldn’t be the only consideration when making a selection. Once you receive different offers, check the provider’s experience and your project vision. Communication with your service provider is necessary, whether face-to-face or via videoconferencing.
- Ensure expertise of the outsourcing company: Make sure that the outsourcing partner has the necessary skill and talent pool to handle the specific tasks you are outsourcing. Only then can quality and accuracy be ensured.
- Make a thorough investigation: Apart from investigating the expertise of your LPO provider, make it a point to know the background of the company, including their processes. Clarify the company’s methods of avoiding conflicts of interest. If it is a large outsourcing company, they may have many clients, and if the company is an offshore one, they may not have the same ethical standards as you. Before hiring the company, discuss this issue directly with them to ensure you cover your ethical bases.
- Consider domestic providers: You can consider outsourcing within the U.S instead of sending your work abroad. The American Bar Association Journal reports that outsourcing legal work to domestic companies in the Midwest, in states such as Ohio, could be equivalent or even cheaper than finding providers overseas. In addition, you get to work with attorneys and other service providers with the same ethical guidelines, and who are familiar with the U.S. legal system.
- Focus on value, not cost: Outsourcing firms are known for being a great option to cut costs, but today more importance must be given to the value companies bring. The key to success is tying up with a company that can anticipate your organization’s needs and deliver high-quality solutions, rather than associate with one that provides services at lesser cost.
- Obtain informed consent from your clients: Legal work mandates you to stay within your ethical rules when working with an LPO provider. You should inform your clients of any work on their case that is being outsourced to another agency. This is because your clients are paying for the services of your firm, not that of an unknown company.
- Ensure privacy and confidentiality: Attorney-client privacy is a major consideration. Your service provider must be familiar with U.S. privacy standards and sign proper disclosure agreements when necessary. Ensure that all private information is handled with utmost respect to the client, with minimum risk to their privacy.
- Select the right tasks to outsource: Make a list of the processes that consume a great deal of time such as accounting, writing emails, administrative management, document retrieval and management, data entry and so on. Make a second list of tasks that require skills that you don’t have in-house. Finally, make a list of tasks for which you would like to assign more time: animation of your blog, replying to comments on social networks, newsletter creation and dispatch, and forum participation among others.
- Consider taking advantage of time zones: Domestic outsourcing is recommended and could be cost-effective as well. However, legal outsourcing overseas can give you the time zone advantage. If you can find an ideal provider overseas that can meet your requirements, it means you get to enjoy the time zone advantage and get your tasks completed faster.
- Flexibility is important: Make sure that your outsourcing provider is flexible enough to meet any of your changing needs within the contract period.
- Learn to utilize collaborative tools: Mastering collaborative tools such as Slack, Trello, Dropbox, Skype and Google Drive is essential in outsourcing. Be in constant contact with your outsourcing provider to simply interact with them and share documents that are important for the work.
- Organize regular meetings with your outsourcing partner: This serves to share ideas on a regular basis, review the progress of the project, stay updated, and clear doubts if any.
- Supervise adequately: Supervision of the work outsourced is of utmost importance. Supervision and constant review are key to ensuring successful outsourcing of legal work.
To conclude, successful legal process outsourcing involves considerable research, preparation, and continuous communication. For legal entities, LPO is a very useful, strategic and operational option and its benefits cannot be ignored. Successful outsourcing will surely pay off in terms of long-term productivity and significant ROI.
Implemented properly, outsourcing can help companies meet the present day business challenges efficiently, and with measurable success. It is important to understand that outsourcing itself is a competency. To reap the full benefits of outsourcing, you have to approach it with business process knowledge and effective outsourcing experience. You also need to have deep-seated knowledge regarding the organization’s challenges and how outsourcing can help address those.