Full- or part-time legal practice?

Full- or part-time legal practice?
Flexible talent can power high-performance legal departments

By Kevin Motaroki

Legal scholar Richard Susskind was among the first to address a possible radical disruption of legal practice by technology when Covid hit. The pioneering Susskind foresaw a future, now our reality, where technology would radically reshape what law firms look like and how they operate – although, to be fair, the shift is not just because of technology but also due to evolving client expectations and the nature of modern business engagements in general.

As the economy rebounds from the economic vagaries of Covid-19, law firms face an unprecedented challenge. In many instances, workloads have risen above pre-pandemic levels; however, most firms find themselves unable to permanently retain employees as they attempt to contain ballooning expenses. As a result, firms find that they have to work harder to reach or maintain pre-pandemic revenue levels, with the resulting burnout affecting long-term performance in turn. 

While the list of deliverables remains extensive, there are only so many hours in a day. By outsourcing legal processes, managers and their managers can tackle to-do lists faster, smarter, and more efficiently. Outsourcing legal services can be a significant cost-saving measure because it frees up dedicated internal resources by transferring legal services to external providers. 

Outsourcing legal processes can be a significant cost-saving measure because it frees up dedicated internal resources by transferring legal services to external providers.

The integration of flexible talent has made it increasingly easy to leverage the strength of other experts to save time, cut costs, and reduce workload. In addition, it allows the core team to remain focused on the work that directly aligns with the strategic company objectives.

One factor that has made flexible legal staffing so popular is remote work. Because remote legal practice is now an accepted reality, many clients, including corporate ones, accept, even advocate virtual assistance. Clients’ willingness to engage remotely with their lawyers has remarkably amplified the ability of firms to provide talent with the exact skills and experience to resolve problems. As some contend, engaging alternative legal service providers (ALSPs) is expected to spark a new wave of significant industry growth. 

A blended team of full-time talent with institutional knowledge of the law firm or legal department and its clientele and a complimentary part-time pool minimizes risk exposure, maximizes the value of the in-house team, and optimizes human resource spending. 

As the economy reboots, legal practitioners must understand that while retaining flexible talent is not every firm’s cup of tea, it is emerging as the surest way to building high-performing legal departments.

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