Many lawyers still wrinkle their noses at legal project work as a means to meet certain market demands. These naysayers believe that legal project work means lower-quality work product and less secure processes. This sentiment, however, is quickly changing around the industry.
As client demands increase, legal project work is becoming a popular option for law firms when managing their workload. But why is legal project work gaining popularity and market traction now? Here are three reasons why firms are turning towards legal project work.
Perhaps the largest benefit to legal project work is reduced firm costs. With project work, law firms are able to pass these savings onto the client, or bill the client a higher rate than they paid the project lawyer (similar to the traditional practice of up-charging clients for hourly associate rates). This is a simple, yet effective, way to turn a profit for your firm while still offering a cheaper rate than the traditional billing structure.
Additionally, costs can be cut by using contracted workers and technological processes that most law firms do not have or cannot afford. Moreover, legal project work helps enhance the workflow process, which cuts down on time and cost. This is a big deviation from the traditional billable hour structure, which often strips clients the ability to know what projects are worked on, how fast the work is being performed, and by whom the work is being completed.
Another key component of legal project work is process management and time flexibility. In essence, process management is finding the most efficient way to complete routine, daily tasks. With one point of contact for each task, law firms can delegate tasks to attorneys whose sole job is to complete that assigned work. Having well-planned process management strategies means legal project work companies have highly accurate means to efficiently complete tasks and reduce client prices across the board.
Lawyers who do project work are typically paid by the hour and have no obligation to fulfill annual billable hour requirements. Moreover, they can choose when and how they want to work as long as the work gets completed as requested. This employment setup appeals to a variety lawyers with specialized expertise that firms usually might not have access to. Accordingly, this opportunity creates an environment where attorneys with specialized work are available at a reasonable rate.
Popular areas of expertise that are typically sought after when using legal project work includes: due diligence; internal investigations; contract management; patent valuation and portfolio analysis; and compliance programs that surround employment law, corporate governance, cybersecurity and data privacy.
In conclusion, why should attorneys stop wrinkling their nose at project work? The answer is simple: reduced firm costs, enhanced process management and time flexibility, and increased access to specialized expertise. Since the turn of the century, clients have been complaining about law firm inefficiencies, and, consequently, the lack of meaningful alternatives to counteract those inefficiencies. Legal project work is changing that and is proving to be a major market disruptor in the legal industry.
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