To Improve Efficiencies, Consider Adding More Paralegals to Your Legal Team
By Jamy J. Sullivan, JD, Robert Half
My legal team is busier than ever. While we’d like to grow the business, we are challenged to manage the casework we already have. Any advice on how to improve our efficiencies so that we can take on more work?
Are you sure that you’re delegating enough tasks to the paralegals and legal support professionals on your team? It may be tempting for legal managers and attorneys to handle every aspect of important cases, but paralegals are there so you don’t have to.
Paralegals possess many of the same skills as associates but at a lower price point. No doubt you already have some of these valuable workers on staff. But consider being more proactive about hiring paralegals and legal assistants since this will enable you to expand your business in a cost-effective manner without neglecting the needs of your current clients.
Here are three reasons hiring paralegals is the smart move.
1. Paralegals are generalists
While lawyers specialize in certain types of cases, good paralegals are flexible generalists, just as ready to support a litigation matter as they are to work on a contract. It’s that adaptability that makes paralegals such a valuable resource, and the more opportunities you give them to work in different practice areas, the more valuable they will become.
2. Paralegals are highly motivated
Many paralegals see the job as a steppingstone to law school, and many law schools like to see paralegal experience on applications. A glowing law school recommendation letter from an employer can make all the difference. To increase engagement from your support staff, try to assign at least a proportion of their tasks in the subject areas that interest them most.
3. Paralegals have a lower price point
To improve efficiencies, consider giving some tasks usually assigned to lawyers to your paralegals instead. When paralegals take on more routine matters, attorneys can be freed up to do more critical and complex casework. You’ll find this makes for smoother sailing with both your clients (who feel they are getting their money’s worth) and your attorneys (who aren’t being weighed down by routine responsibilities).
If you’ve taken on new cases and need further help, you can hire paralegals on either a permanent or contract basis, strengthening your ranks for the long haul, or just for the duration of a specific case. Either way, paralegals are a crucial resource that’s worth investing in, and knowing their value is the key to using them well.