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

Reducing Overwhelm

All of us experience overwhelm at one point or another; some of us more regularly than others.  Are you running your practice or is it running you? What’s the cause of your overwhelm?  Is your practice growing?  Do you have an exceptionally large case to handle in addition to your regular matters?  Has someone else’s cases been delegated to you as a result of a departure?  Do you consistently have numerous cases or legal matters on your plate? While all these situations can cause overwhelm, they may not be the cause of your overwhelm; at least in whole.  Consider your own unique situation for a moment.  Is it similar to one of the above or is there something else?  How organized are you?  How efficiently and effectively do you work?  Are your office processes streamlined?  What about work-flow processes or your own systems for plowing through emails and the piles … Continue reading

5 Ways to Increase Paralegal Support

Do you need more time or support, but aren’t sure how to get it or what you could delegate?  Don’t worry; you’re not alone.  In fact, from talking with attorneys, I’d say you’re in the majority.  The good news is, it is possible to be in the minority.   To get you moving in that direction, here are 5 quick tips for increasing your support and freeing up your time: Think about the work you least like to do.  What tasks do you dread?  Are they tasks your paralegal or legal assistant can perform for you?  Most likely.  Make these the first tasks you delegate. What about the tasks that take you away from what you really need to do?  Do you find you’re regularly doing one thing when you need to be doing something else?  Those types of tasks should be at the top of your delegate list, too. … Continue reading

Contract Paralegals Help Agencies Alleviate Unprecedented Caseloads

This fourth and final article in the mini-series discussing the challenges various types of law practices face today considers quite possibly the most challenged of them all – agency legal departments. Previously discussed was the challenges faced by solo practitioners and small firms, law firms, and corporate legal departments. Of all these workplaces, local, state, and federal agencies and institutions grapple with some of the deepest budget cuts in our country and their legal departments, while taking on more and more work, are no exception. What challenges do these legal departments face? Unprecedented case loads An appreciable backlog of files Deep budget cuts Hiring freezes Insufficient staff The need to do more with less How does work get done under such extreme circumstances? Oftentimes it doesn’t; at least not right away. It’s a matter of dealing with each issue as it becomes an urgent matter of priority. Until then, it … Continue reading

Support Solutions for Budget-Constrained Corporate Legal Departments

Like law firms, corporate legal departments generally have plenty of office space, attorneys, paralegals, support staff, and benefits.  And, many of the challenges they face are the same challenges law firms face.  But as corporate legal departments, they also have some of their very own challenges.  Just as they do solos and law firms, paralegal support services compliment the corporate legal department’s unique needs. Challenges Corporate legal departments face: Increased workloads; Tighter budgets; An increase in the number of legal matters they’re charged with overseeing for the corporation; Significant increases in litigation costs; Limited resources, requiring them to maximize the use of the few resources they have; and A need to prove their value to the corporation. The solution More and more, corporate legal departments are turning to outsourcing to minimize cost and maximize value to their client (the corporation).  They outsource to try and mitigate increased workloads, to minimize … Continue reading

Paralegal Support for Law Firms

overwhelmed

In the last post, Benefits of Paralegal Support Services for Solo Practitioners and Small Firms, I mentioned that savings is the bottom-line with paralegal support services – whether in the form of time, business, or clients.  Really, that’s the case for each of the four types of practicing attorneys (solo/small firm attorneys, mid- to large-size firm attorneys, corporate attorneys, and public service attorneys) mentioned, even though each faces distinct challenges. This week, let’s consider briefly the challenges faced by attorneys in mid- to large-sized firms and how paralegals and paralegal support services help with those challenges. Challenges Larger firms already have it all:  Plenty of office space (most of the time) and equipment, partners, associates, paralegals, legal secretaries, support staff, office manager/bookkeeper, and even benefits.  What challenges could they possibly face? Growth (Congratulations!); Insufficient office space for more employees; The occasional spike in the number of active cases; Occasional conflicting … Continue reading