Outsourcing – Handle With Care

In his column, Fire Wire, John Tredennick, writes the most  extensive and  articulate article on the subject of outsourcing I’ve read.

He says, among other things, that "…. All these (outsourced) services can be a boon to a firm of any size looking to perform more efficiently. But just because you can outsource a task doesn’t necessarily mean you should. The decision whether to outsource calls both strategy and ethics into play."

Outsourcing is just another way to delegate work, and appropriate delegation is another aspect of leverage. And leverage is what makes law firms more profitable.

If you want to be a lawyer who does nothing but legal work, then work for a law firm that will permit you to stay on the assembly line – in the library or the courthouse – but have little or nothing to do with other aspects of running a successful law practice.  If, however, you want to grow a practice, serve more people, or increase your personal wealth, you will need to understand and use the principles of delegation and leverage. In truth, almost every lawyer does this now — having a secretary to type and to file and to do other office tasks is an elementary form of this concept.

Managing the legal process and overseeing the quality of the work product of others is the reality of the legal profession. And this is outsourcing. What John is talking about in his article, in my opinion, is merely a matter of degree … how much should be outsourced to others. In all such circumstances, whether the "outsource" is someone in your office or someone in India or someone located in between, YOU, the lawyer, are still responsible for setting the strategy of the matter,  the quality of the resulting work product, and the management of  the entire process, . As Harry Truman said, "The buck stops here."

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