Finding an A-Player Paralegal, Part II

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The true cost of lower-level support

The introduction to this series identified the challenge in finding good support, and briefly considered how we’ve traditionally looked for support.  Those traditional methods can be costly when they don’t work.  During the business seminar I attended, Mike shared a wealth of statistics and information on employee engagement, and the cost of hiring less-than engaged and capable support.

According to those statistics, only 29% of employees are engaged in their work.  That’s a scary thought that leads to an even bigger problem: The 70+ percent of employees who are not engaged do not do a good job, are dissatisfied with their employment, and create a less-than-appealing work atmosphere.  In contrast, employees who are engaged enjoy their job and are good at what they do.

Our first goal, then, is to find, retain, and keep one of the 29% who are motivated.  If you’re looking for a freelance paralegal or paralegal support service, the good news is that it shouldn’t be hard to find motivated and engaged support.  They are businesses just like you, striving to succeed.  Happy clients (you) make them happy; they’re going to continually work to improve their services to make sure their attorneys and firms are happy with their support.  If, on the other hand, you’re looking for a traditional employee, you have a bit more of a challenge to find an engaged employee.  But not to worry – that’s our focus here.

If you find a paralegal who is motivated and engaged, you want to keep that person, right?  Here’s the key:  Don’t skimp.  If you pay a premium for the best, it will cost more now, but it’s a drop in the bucket for what you’re going to pay if you have unmotivated and disengaged support.

Support can be ranked similar to a grading scale.  You can have A-level support (an A-player), B-level support (a B-player), and so on.  As you’ll see, the lower you go, the more it costs, even though you’re paying less for lower-level support.

The studies Mike introduced showed that one A-player is the equivalent of 3 B-players.  In other words, you would need to hire 3 B-level paralegals to produce the same amount/quality of work that one A-level paralegal produces.  While I won’t go through the entire scale here, worst case scenario is that you have D-player support.  In that case, it takes 27 D-players to produce the equivalent work product as one A-player.  Ouch!

The lesson is that it is well worth it to pay a little extra for the best paralegal (or any other) support possible, and that it saves significantly in the long run – and not only in cost.  It greatly affects the quality of work product you receive, as well (and thus, produce for your clients).  The work atmosphere also improves when you retain an A-player paralegal because you have an engaged paralegal who enjoys his or her job and work.  And, you’ll be happier because you’re not stressed about the quality of work you’re receiving and the person with whom you’re working.

The information Mike shared was both staggering and eye-opening.  Now that we know what we need to do to retain quality paralegal support, the next task is to find that A-player paralegal.  It begins with having a good idea of your needs and goals – which we’ve discussed a few times here at Paralegal Support 101.  If you want to get a head start, check out: Finding a Freelance Paralegal That’s Right For You, Clarify Your Needs to Receive Invaluable Support, and Paralegal Support Services: 5 Tips for Getting Started.  In the next part, I’ll share Mike’s insight on the subject.  It’ll be good information you can put to use immediately.

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