Using a Virtual Assistant for Law Firm Cost Management
As the managing partner of a small to medium-size law firm, you know how difficult it is to predict the volume of work on a monthly basis. Your billable hours can fluctuate significantly, while your expenses remain steady. Your staffing costs do not change just because it is the end of the year and no new cases are coming through your door.
One of the most significant costs of operating a law firm is the staff. On top of their salary, insurance, and anything you contribute to healthcare, employees cost you overhead for office space, equipment, and technology. Those costs remain fixed no matter what the firm’s monthly income is.
If you had a staff of virtual assistants, you could reduce those overhead costs and keep your staff budget more closely aligned to your net income. Virtual administrative assistants do not require a workspace in your office, computers, or phones. As independent contractors, virtual law assistants are responsible for their own workspace and internet connections. They are ready to work whenever you call or email, and they continue working despite inclement weather.
Better Time Management Saves Money
In addition, you only pay a virtual assistant when there is work to do. During those weeks when your caseload is low, you don’t have to dream up work to keep the virtual staff busy. You only pay for their time when they are working. You can change the number of hours you engage your virtual assistant on a weekly basis to match your current workload.
The same convenience exists when you have a big case preparing for trial and you need extra hands. With virtual assistants there is no need to worry about where you will find the temporary help you need to get through a busy season, even if it is unexpected. More virtual assistants are available when you need them to step in and carry the extra workload until the case is settled.
How many times have you kept your legal assistant waiting for work most of the day and then required her to work overtime to help you complete a pleading before the filing deadline? You know this is not the most efficient use of her time or your money, but that’s how legal workflows sometimes. You cannot always control when the client gets back to you or when your co-counsel decides you need to revise a document. A virtual assistant works when you are ready, and you just pay for the time worked.
Virtual law assistants can also be available on short notice, like when opposing counsel dumps thousands of discovery documents on you two days before a motion hearing. A virtual assistant can sort, organize, and catalog through your case management system and even read and summarize for you.
While you are drafting responses, a virtual assistant can help you stay focused by fielding voicemails and emails. Your other clients can have the benefit of a personal response that explains, if necessary, why you are not able to help them personally at the moment. In many cases, clients just want to know a person is listening to them and continuing to work on their case. A virtual assistant can make it easier for you to handle multiple cases at the same time.
Cost management in a small or medium-sized law firm is crucial to success, especially in the first five years when you are still building your business. Hiring a virtual administrative assistant could be the first step in growing your practice while managing costs.