Blog Post

How Can You Scale Your Administrative Legal Support Functions?

February 21, 2019

Secretaries – they’re the quiet heroes, jacks-of-all-trades, working behind the scenes to keep everything running smoothly — until they’re not. Although scalability is great for business, it strains the legal administrative support function until it’s stuck in a cycle of reactivity, unable to provide proper value to the law firm.

As the law firm grows, scaling administrative support is critical to maintaining high levels of efficiency. Outsourcing administrative tasks can provide this scalability, giving both lawyers and secretaries room to focus on their key tasks. In addition, by removing the day-to-day administrative tasks, the secretaries can ensure they are adding value to their teams at the highest level.

Elevate Your Secretaries With An Outsourced Support Network

Before we dive into the value of outsourced administrative support, let’s make one thing clear: Outsourcing should not act as a replacement for current secretaries. If you have talented, hardworking secretaries who love their work but are consistently bogged down by deadlines, then an outsourcing provider should act as a support network for them as well.

The secretarial role is unique in that it requires a broad skill set. Secretaries are expected to be experts in everything — but of course, some might specialize in certain areas, such as business development or billing. Outsourcing certain tasks allows existing secretaries to focus on their individual talents and provide optimized support.

Before investing in an outsourced legal administration provider, figure out what that sweet spot is for your current secretaries, and then do your due diligence to understand where the true pains and inefficiencies lie. The optimization process for administrative support is really more of a discovery process; by analyzing the data you have in hand, you can understand where the additional support and scalability is actually needed. Is there simply too much work for your small team of secretaries to handle? Do you need to update your technology stack? Is there too much work at the wrong time of day?

For example, say that a huge amount of paperwork always comes through on Fridays at 5pm, so the secretary is always staying late on Friday evenings. This has several consequences for the law firm, including increased costs due to overtime pay, decreased secretary morale due to work/life imbalance and inefficiencies because of the lawyer staying late as well. In this case, you could scale and optimize the administrative support function through an outsourcing partnership that provides overflow support. The work will still get done on time, but the secretary can go home.

The True Cost of A Secretary

Secretaries shouldn’t be expected to do everything — at some point, as the law firm grows and secretaries continue to try to do more with less, their productivity will suffer. By outsourcing certain tasks and allowing secretaries space and time to do their highest-quality work, the law firm actually saves money in the long run.

Your secretaries are good at their job. Be honest and transparent with them about the need for administrative support, and allow them to explore outsourcing providers with you. Their experience can help you identify the right outsourcing provider with the skills and resources they need to elevate processes throughout the entire firm.

Don’t let tight deadlines, inefficient service delivery, and dwindling bandwidth break the administrative backbone of your law firm. When secretaries have space and time to be proactive about improving service delivery, they can use their unique strengths to support the law firm as it scales. Incorporating service partnerships into the administrative support function at your law firm will give your secretaries the relief they need to do their best work — even as the business continues to grow.

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