|Posted by Charlie Helton on March 16, 2012 at 12:45 AM|
Through my recent marketing of virtual paralegal (“VP”) services, I am astonished to find a lot of my colleagues still working in-house at law firms have absolutely no idea what a virtual paralegal is, let alone what one can offer. It is surprising that more paralegals and law firms aren’t utilizing the virtual paralegal in their day to day business considering the eruption of electronic discovery, digital document production, cloud case management and e-filing. In fact, in my opinion, there really is no reason to not be utilizing a hard working experienced virtual paralegal. VP’s have so much to offer law firms and their in-house support staff the possibilities are endless. From my days as one such in-house paralegal for a large insurance defense department, I was literally drowning in records and document production. Not only did I utilize records services to retrieve records for me, but if we were able to obtain signed authorizations from the Plaintiff, I would spend hours churning letters with Affidavits to various medical providers, employers, insurance companies, and even credit agencies. The amount of time alone spent on this task, including the need to follow up almost daily, is huge. I always thought that task alone could be a full time job. So, case in point, why aren’t more law firms outsourcing tedious, time consuming, yet very important tasks such as in-house record retrieval, summary and management to outside VP’s? This alone would free up valuable time for the in-house paralegal to spend actually putting together a better analysis of a file, including preparing key documents, performing more legal research, spending more time assisting attorneys with the actual drafting of legal documents and witness preparation.
Another largely overlooked task is the deposition summary. Many in-house paralegals find deposition summaries to be rather boring and will put those off until the last minute or save for such time that work slowed down and they need billable hours for that month. Usually at that point, a trial is on the next month’s docket and at least 10-15 depositions have piled up that need to be summarized quickly. Now the in-house paralegal must put off the rest of the overflowing work load to concentrate on getting those pesky depositions summarized which only lead to more work piling up. Again, this is one more task that could easily be delegated to an outside source such as a virtual paralegal.
These are just a couple of ways law firms could benefit from a VP. So I encourage all my fellow colleagues slaving away at their law firms, probably working overtime and still not making a dent in overflowing paper piled in boxes around their desks, please outsource to a VP for help. Not only will a VP ease your workload helping create better efficiency and possible prevent that impending burn out that is right around the corner, but it is a win-win situation for your firm. Your firm will only pay for the hours spent on the assigned project without any money on overhead and overtime. And since we all know how the work load fluctuates with the varying phases of the litigation process, only outsource to the VP when you need it. Once workload slows down, the VP will just be a stand by for when work picks up again.