The Cost Benefit of Shifting Work to Paralegals

You’ve heard about the many benefits of utilizing paralegals and paralegal support services.  Those benefits include more time, less stress, increased morale, a better work-life balance, increased profits, and reduced legal fees for clients.  The details are highlighted throughout Paralegal Support 101 and are discussed regularly in the legal community.    If you’ve heard about these benefits directly from paralegals and paralegal support services but have never actually worked with one, you may have some reservations about how it all could possibly be true.  That’s certainly understandable; I probably would, too. The good news is there are many resources available that corroborate this information.  A significant source of research and information comes from none other than the American Bar Association (ABA).  Through the work of its Standing Committee on Paralegals, the ABA has published some great resources on the use of paralegals; so much so that I could dedicate an entire … Continue reading

Need Help? Now what?

Many a time I’ve talked to attorneys who need help but have a hard time deciding what to delegate to a freelance paralegal or paralegal support service – even after talking with a provider.  It’s not an uncommon predicament, especially for sole practitioners, so here are a few ideas to help you move forward. If you’ve contacted a paralegal support service or freelance paralegal (remember, they’re really the same thing) because you know you need help, e.g., drafting confidentiality agreements or preparing trademark applications, then you’ve already identified specific tasks you’d like help with.  That’s exactly what you should delegate to the service.  If you’re uncomfortable moving forward with that, especially if it’s your first time using a paralegal support service, then give the paralegal two or three small projects on a trial basis just to get started.  That will help you build a work relationship with the service without … Continue reading

Clarify Your Needs to Receive Invaluable Support

A few weeks ago, I provided a consultation to a small litigation firm looking for paralegal support.  I give them kudos for knowing they need support and for already identifying the type of support best suited to their needs.  However, it quickly became clear during the consultation that, while they knew they wanted and needed someone highly qualified in their particular area of law, they hadn’t yet considered what tasks to outsource. Sometimes it’s hard to break things down with specificity, especially if you’ve been working in your field for a while.  As a specialist, the work you do becomes familiar and the intricate details of each step soon blend together into a more generalized overview; they become second-nature to you.  At this point, it can become difficult to break them back down into the individual steps you once spent so much time mastering.  In order to delegate, though, it’s … Continue reading

Check it out!

Paralegal Support 101 is back!  It’s been a while, yes, but we’ve been here the whole time – busy working behind the scenes, making lots of changes and implementing new ideas to make Paralegal Support 101 a more user-friendly (aka attorney-friendly) resource for finding information on paralegals, the paralegal profession, and paralegal support services. The bulk of the work is done – we have just a few articles to finish recategorizing – so come experience the new look and feel of ParalegalSupport101.com and let me know what you think.  What do you like?  What don’t you like?  What else would you like to see? Remember, Paralegal Support 101 is for all attorneys – from the solo practitioner to the general counsel – so be sure to tell us about topics specific to your practice that you’d like to read about, too. The redesign and reorganization undertaken to address the growth … Continue reading

9 Ways You [and Your Clients] Benefit from Paralegal Support

overwhelmed

Whether you’re thinking about hiring a paralegal or retaining paralegal support services for the first time, you’ll benefit both personally and professionally from the support – as will your clients.  Here are just a few of those benefits. 1.    More Time.  Having a paralegal on your team, whether regular or on-call, gives you more time to work on other tasks that demand your attention.  In turn, you maximize the time you invest in your practice and your clients’ legal matters. 2.    Reduced stress.  Delegating substantive legal work to your paralegal means you have fewer items on your “to-do” list and more time for other matters, which reduces overwhelm and, by extension, a significant amount of stress. 3.    Support.  Whether you’re a solo or a corporate attorney, you benefit from working with a paralegal – from having someone to discuss and think through the case with you to having someone performing … Continue reading

Supervising Virtual Paralegals

Under rules of professional responsibility and guidelines for the utilization of nonlawyer assistants, paralegals and legal assistants work under the direction and supervision of an attorney.  In other words, an attorney has a professional responsibility to direct and supervise the work of nonlawyer assistants.  Failure to do so can result in serious consequences for an attorney, so it’s no surprise that supervision is one of the first concerns when retaining a contract paralegal or paralegal support service.  (Another significant concern is that of confidentiality, which is not the subject of this particular article.)  If you’re using a contract paralegal or paralegal support service that provides on-site services, supervision isn’t much of an issue.  However, just as you don’t, most service-based businesses don’t work at their clients’ locations.  Rather, they perform their services from their own place of business.   If you know me, you know I don’t often use the … Continue reading