Being an attorney is a complex, sometimes challenging, career. Attorneys have a hefty workload balancing between clients, office tasks, court dockets, and never seeming to have enough hours in the day. Add to these general tasks the finer details of the job, such as phone calls, emails, and signing a plethora of documents, and the role of an attorney becomes even more chaotic.
The good news is that attorneys can delegate some tasks to their paralegals, legal assistants, or other staff members. Of course, the first step is hiring qualified individuals who you can trust to tackle the workload with the same degree of dedication and professionalism as you would. Depending on where you are located, you may have a large or small pool of potential hires. Fortunately, nowadays, you can outsource to skilled legal assistants located almost anywhere who are trained to support your law firm remotely.
Curious about how outsourcing to a legal assistant works? Outsourcing and delegating tasks is a great way for attorneys to focus their time and efforts and maximize the return on their investment when hiring.
What does a Legal Assistant Do?
A legal assistant is someone who works with attorneys and law firm staff handling administrative tasks that may otherwise fall to the attorney. A virtual legal assistant performs the same tasks, but remotely. A legal assistance communicates with the attorney and firm through email, chat, text, telephone, or other means throughout the day.
Some of the most common administrative tasks that legal assistants perform include:
- Answering phone calls
- Greeting clients (if in the office)
- Responding to emails
- Responding to general questions about the attorney, firm, or services
- Coordinating schedules
- Scheduling meetings
- Making appointments
In addition to administrative tasks, legal assistants may also help with legal tasks, depending on their skill, training, and/or education. Some legal tasks that legal assistants may help with include:
- Sending and processing invoices
- Managing firm billing
- Organizing documents and files
- Filing documents
- Conducting legal research
- Drafting legal documents
Ultimately, the tasks that a legal assistant is assigned will depend on their skills and training, as well as the needs of your firm.
What’s the Difference Between a Legal Assistant and a Paralegal?
There are many similarities between legal assistants and paralegals. In fact, many firms use the titles interchangeably. But generally speaking, there are some differences between the primary roles of each position. Most notably:
- Legal Assistant: Manages administrative and general office tasks as needed.
- Paralegal: Manages tasks under the supervision of an attorney, such as drafting pleadings, filing documents, communicating with courts, and assisting clients.
Often, paralegals perform many of the same tasks as legal assistants, however, paralegals often have a higher level of education and training, and work more closely with attorneys and clients.
How to Outsource Your Legal Assistance Needs
If outsourcing to a legal assistant sounds like something your law firm could benefit from, a great way to start is identifying your needs and then researching your options. See below for some helpful tips on where to begin.
Identify Your Firm’s Needs
There are many tasks in a law firm that don’t directly generate revenue. Many of these tasks are administrative in nature, such as research, data entry, filing, and legal intake. If your staff is currently stretched thin, outsourcing some tasks to a legal assistant could be a great way to boost revenue generation by having your in-house staff focus on those tasks.
Set a Budget
The goal of outsourcing to a legal assistant is to allow attorneys and in-house staff more time to focus on revenue-generating tasks. Before hiring a legal assistant, take a look at your law firm’s budget and revenue. Consider how many hours your current staff spends doing those tasks, and at what pay rate. Then, calculate how much money could be saved by hiring a legal assistant for those tasks. This is how you will determine what sort of budget you are looking at to invest in a legal assistant.
Recruit, Interview and Hire
Once you know what your budget is, your next step is finding potential hires and interviewing them. There are a few ways you can find legal assistants – websites, referrals, LinkedIn networks, or outsourcing agencies like Legal Conversion Center.
Take your time when interviewing to find someone you feel comfortable working with remotely. Some good qualities to look for in a legal assistant include:
- Some level of education in the legal or business industry
- Relevant knowledge or experience in the legal industry
- A working knowledge of law and legal terminology
- Willingness to communicate openly and regularly
- Knowledge of legal programs, websites, and software
- Personality traits that will complement your team
Set an Onboarding Schedule
Once you have found the perfect candidate, the next step is setting an onboarding schedule. For at least the first few weeks, it will be helpful for your legal assistant to work the same hours that your firm is open. You may be in different time zones, so coordination and communication are important. You should know within a few weeks if the relationship is going to work well for your firm and the new hire.
What are the Benefits of Hiring an Outsource Legal Assistant?
There are numerous benefits to outsourcing work to a legal assistant. Some of the most notable benefits to law firms and attorneys include:
- Reduces Cost: Outsourcing generally is on a contract basis and does not include costs like benefits, payroll taxes, or insurance.
- Saves Time: Outsourcing to a legal assistant frees up your time so you can focus on the core tasks that need your attention.
- Improves Customer Service: When you and/or your staff are stretched thin, the quality of your customer service can suffer. Outsourcing to a consistent legal assistant can ensure that your clients and potential clients receive quality, consistent service every time they call or email.
- Improves Efficiency: Legal assistants take care of many tasks that otherwise would fall to attorneys. By delegating tasks, your entire office runs more smoothly and efficiently because your team members are each doing what they are best at.
Other Outsourced Services to Consider
Outsourcing to a legal assistant sounds pretty great, right? Did you know that companies like Legal Conversion Center offer this service and many others that can improve your firm’s efficiency and bottom line? In addition to legal assistants, LCC provides:
- Legal Intake Services
- Mass Tort Intake
- Contract Acquisition
- Case Management Integration
- Web Response
- Spanish Support
- Appointment Scheduling
Legal Conversion Center is a law firm’s one-stop for all legal intake needs. Our entire philosophy is based on the idea that great outsourcing can help law firms be more efficient and effective, and therefore, can better care for the needs of their clients. That’s why our intake team is specially trained in legal intake, including legal terminology, empathy, HIPAA regulations, call control, and more.
Why Legal Conversion Center
Why choose LCC over the competition? When it comes to legal intake, there is no competition! LCC’s proprietary process and innovative technology sets us apart from our competitors. Not only that, but with decades of call center and customer service experience, we know what our clients need. When you partner with LCC, you are guaranteed to see an increase in your conversion rates, client satisfaction, and overall efficiency.