Solo and small law firm attorneys wear a lot of hats and do a lot of things themselves. One practical and potentially life-saving solution? Effective delegation.
It’s widely believed that a successful law practice requires team effort and contributions from many different specialties, and yet there are solo and small law firms that manage to run their practice single-handedly… not without a cost, usually, though the elements of freedom and independence can be beneficial. Unlike the large law firms with their specialized practice areas, small law firms and solo practitioners tend to go broad and engage in multiple practice areas. This has certain advantages as well as disadvantages: work becomes very challenging, particularly because these attorneys take up extra projects and end up performing substantive legal tasks in areas beyond their expertise. Limited staff strength means the work cannot be evenly distributed or effectively managed… which means extra stress.
While it is an advantage to have complete autonomy in running the practice, there are areas where specialized attention is required simultaneously at different levels of management. Attorneys working solo and those in small law firms attend to a wide range of clients and therefore need to constantly update themselves in the varied areas of practice and services they provide, including client services, marketing and building practice, and general administration among many others. It is crucial (and difficult, without available times, bodies, or resources) to channel expert focus into each of these areas.
This is where delegation can play a very important role. As a business strategy for solo and small law firms, delegation saves time, lowers costs, and most importantly, improves the quality of services offered… otherwise diluted from limited staff strength. Delegation is as beneficial to small firms and solo practitioners as it is to large law firms and big corporate houses and doesn’t always necessitate full time support– servicing licensed attorneys can also be utilized on a contractual basis, which proves particularly helpful in situations where small outfits have to turn down clients per lack of time or expertise. This way the firm can commit to new business associations and expand their reputation of practice in varied areas of expertise without having to expand the firm by adding more associates. With tactical delegation, solo or small firm attorneys can get large volumes of work done without ever having to hire new hands and go through the additional burdens of salaries and employee benefits. Relevant work can be delegated to litigation support providers on a project-by-project basis. That way, the cost is only on a need basis rather than employing full-time attorneys and waiting for work.
Delegation also ensures quality because the service providers or the contract attorneys are specialized in legal research and have access to the latest tools and resources. These providers are also updated with the latest legal developments and current legal trends… something solo and small firm attorneys, inundated with excessive workloads, are not always aware of.
Effective time management is another key advantage of delegation. Carefully drafted documents are crucial in determining the outcome of a case. Therefore, quality is not something that cane be compromised for the sake of expansion goals. One solo attorney might have to single-handedly talk to clients, research into the matter, draft relevant documents, and appear and present in courts. In such situations, certain areas like research and drafting can be safely delegated to trusted partners, depending on the feasibility.
Solo and small firm attorneys can also delegate legal marketing, which is very crucial to build practice and gain reputation in this increasingly competitive service industry. Although work is being delegated, the law firms retain complete control– the terms of work are dictated and work is customized to fit the requirements, with confidentiality and privacy heavily guarded by the service providers. For overwhelmed small firms and solo practitioners, delegation needn’t be a dirty word. Partnering with the right legal services provider can be a secure, timesaving, cost-effective, high-quality solution to a besieging workload. Less hats = better attorneys = happier clients.
About the Author
This article was provided by LegalEase Solutions. LegalEase is a specialized legal research and writing company serving attorneys, law firms and legal departments across the US and beyond since 2004. For more information, please feel free to contact us at 1(877) 712-8003 or email us.
Full disclosure, Legal Ink Magazine is an affiliate partner with LegalEase Solutions.
Feathers, C., and Brown, C.S.
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