The use of outsourcing within the legal profession continues to grow as more and more firms look for ways to reduce overhead without at the same reducing the level of service delivered to clients. However, outsourcing can, if not handled correctly, present a firm with a number of regulatory and management risks which, in an outcomes-focussed world, might not be deemed to be acceptable to that firm’s regulator.
The Lawyers Defence Group can help you to address those regulatory and practical risks and ensure that your outsourcing activity is not in breach of the codes of conduct that apply to your firm.
Outsourcing can take many different forms, including:
- outsourcing office services such as word-processing and secretarial services,
- having elements of the legal work outsourced to lawyers outside of the firm, sometimes overseas where labour costs are lower,
- sharing serviced offices so that the firm does not have to worry about problems relating to premises, and
- cloud computing – where firms store their data off site, run computer programmes remotely and access files and records via the Internet.
There can be little doubt that for many firms, the benefits of outsourcing are considerable with reductions being able to be achieved in relation to a firms’ staff, premises and insurance costs whilst achieving corresponding improvements in speed and efficiency. It is understandable, then, that outsourcing is proving to be such an increasingly attractive option.
Many of the providers of outsourced services are basing themselves overseas in economies where labour costs are lower, premises are cheaper and where the employment rules are less onerous and the benefits lower, or even non-existent. Even were the actual individual costs are not lower, the ability of outsourced service providers to ensure that staff are more effectively utilised can in itself reduce costs. If a secretary or junior fee-earner is not employed fully then the incremental cost of their time increases.
However, as the SRA Code of Conduct makes it clear, issues such as confidentiality, supervision and practice management must not be ignored in the attempt to become more financially effective.
If you would like assistance with the implementation of outsourcing within your practice or would simply like more information about the Lawyers Defence Group, then you can do so by:
- telephoning during office hours – 0845 216 2000,
- requesting a call-back using the call-back request form to the right,
- telephoning our out of hours number (but please only in an emergency – for example when someone has been arrested or you believe that your firm might be about to be intervened in) 07952 861 868,
- emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or
- writing to us at one of the addresses at the bottom of this web page.