A story* in the on-line version of the ABA Journal shed light on a little discussed practice in the law business these days, that of outsourcing legal work to temp or contract employees. The story concerned a client who filed a malpractice suit against a law firm over the quality of the work performed by the contract attorneys that the firm used.
Just like many other business, law firms are looking to save on overhead where they can by outsourcing work and turning to contractors or temp services for virtually everything that can be done by a clerk, legal secretary, paralegal, or lawyer.
I know many insurance defense firms that do not have legal secretaries, but instead use one of the “virtual” secretarial services. One mid-major law firm in Indianapolis which does a lot insurance work has outsourced their photocopying and document storage and retrieval department. Although the department is still located in the firm’s offices, the employees are all employees of a vendor.
Of course, a client should not really care that much if a law firm can save money on its overhead by outsourcing or using temps or contract workers instead of firm employees to do secretarial or clerical work. That is because such work is considered as firm “overhead” and not billable. So, if a firm can save a buck or two on this type of work, why not?
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