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

Benefits of Paralegal Support Services For Solo Practitioners and Small Firms

Of the four major types of attorney practices (solos/small firms, mid- to large-sized firms, corporate legal departments, and governmental entities), solo practitioners and attorneys in small firms face the most challenges. Yet, for these attorneys, solo practices and small firms can also be the most rewarding, both personally and professionally. Challenges What’s the biggest challenge?  You’re on your own.  And, there are only so many hours in a day. Not only are you trying to practice law, you’re also learning how to run a business (which they don’t teach you in law school) and handling everything yourself.  Solos and small firm attorneys are responsible for every aspect of the practice: Building and managing a business, marketing, client retention, budgeting, bookkeeping, filing, faxing, copying – all in addition to providing legal services to clients (what you went to law school for in the first place).  When you’re alone, it’s hard to … Continue reading

Evolution of Legal Support Services

As promised in the article How to Find the Right Support, here’s an explanation of how all those support titles evolved. The concept of working remotely or “virtually” is not new; what is new is the technology used to carry out and deliver the work. Of course, the term “virtual” has new meaning in a world now totally connected through technology.  However, the terms “virtual attorney” and “virtual paralegal” actually reflect the evolution of an existing group of independent professionals.  Attorneys and paralegals have been offering support from their own offices to attorneys and law firms for many, many years.  (The first time I offered support from my own office was in 1998.)  We once were referred to as contract paralegals and attorneys or, simply, independent contractors.  More recently, we have been (and are still) frequently referred to as freelancers.  Now, with the virtual world we live in, the terms … Continue reading

How to Find the Right Support

A couple weeks ago, I posted the article, What’s in a Name? to address the mass confusion that occurs when attorneys search for substantive legal support.  What type of support do you look for?  What keywords or titles should you search for when looking to find paralegal support?  Are freelance paralegals and virtual paralegals the same?  What’s different between them and paralegal support services? As promised, this post will help clear the air about what, and who, you might find during your search so you can better identify the types of services you’re looking for and their related keywords and titles.  To start, let’s look at some of the terms, titles, and phrases you may come across in your quest for support: Freelance Paralegal Independent Contractor Paralegal Contract Paralegal Paralegal Support Service Virtual Paralegal Independent Paralegal How do each of these differ?  Fortunately, they’re not all that confusing after all, … Continue reading

What’s in a Name?

What’s in a name? If you’re looking for support for your practice, probably far more than you anticipated.  In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if you’re downright confused by the mass enumeration of titles floating around out there for legal support.  So much so that the confusion as to what you should be looking for may have you stopped in your tracks, unsure of how to proceed: “Am I looking for a freelance paralegal or a virtual paralegal?” “Do I need paralegal support services or a legal support professional?” “What are the differences between them all?” “What are the bonuses and drawbacks to each?” “Which is right for me?!?” Well, today, I have great news! Confusion time is over and it turns out that it’s not all that complicated after all.  Since we’re in question mode, let’s answer the question with a question: What’s the difference between an attorney and … Continue reading

Paralegal Support Services: 5 Tips for Getting Started

You’ve thought long and hard, considered the pros and cons, and are ready to take the leap.  You may have even found a service you’re interested in retaining.  Now, how do you take that first step to move forward and get started?  The freelance paralegal or paralegal support service you’ve chosen should be able to help you with that, but here are a few ideas to kick-start the process. Sit down together (okay, phone conference or Skype together) and identify your needs and expectations. Determine the method in which you will utilize your paralegal service (on-call, temporary, project based, or regular-ongoing assistance, etc.). Determine the types of tasks you’ll be delegating (research, drafting, transactional work, complete case work, everything). Determine who will be responsible for providing what.  Will you be supplying a company email address and/or phone number to your paralegal for use in client and vendor communications?  Will your … Continue reading