Outsourcing Legal Research and Writing Services - Sponsored Content

Outsourcing Legal Research and Writing Services - Sponsored Content

What if instead of having to work the entire weekend, you could finally take the weekend off? What if you were able to avoid missing family obligations or you were able to finally take that long-awaited but never-have-time-to-plan-vacation? Would that be valuable to you?

One way to accomplish these things is outsourcing your legal research and writing needs to an experienced lawyer. Outsourcing has been a tool used by other industries for many years. Generally, businesses will outsource a necessary function that is no longer cost-effective for the business to handle in-house. Lawyers and law firms are no different.

A primary reason to outsource your legal research and writing needs—one that is especially important to solo and small firm lawyers—is time. There are many tasks that lawyers in any practice have to complete over time: court appearances, trials, meetings, mediations, depositions, etc. For most lawyers, legal research and writing is also a necessary function, but outsourcing such projects saves lawyers the time to complete any one or more of those other necessary tasks mentioned above.

What could you do with an extra hour or two per day, or an extra few hours per week? Could you use that time to market your practice? To grow your client base and generate even more revenue? If the answer is yes, then outsourcing your legal research and writing projects is the solution. Furthermore, this idea is very similar to that advance in the “Four Hour Work Week” by Tim Ferris, which reinforces the 80/20 principle that essentially says that 80% of your results are generated by 20% of your activities. Thus, your time can be more productively spent by focusing on discrete activities that yield greater benefits and results while outsourcing others, such as your legal research and writing needs.

Another major benefit of outsourcing legal research and writing projects is that it saves costs. For instance, hiring a full-time or part-time associate, or even legal assistant or paralegal, can cost significantly more over time by adding to your fixed costs and overhead (i.e., salary and benefits) versus merely outsourcing your projects on an as-needed basis. Thus by outsourcing your legal research and writing needs, you have the flexibility to arrange outsourced projects to fit the needs and finances of your practice.

Outsourced legal research and writing projects can include providing legal research on various topics, as well as drafting letters, legal opinions, legal memoranda, pleadings, motions, and briefs (trial and appellate), among others.

How does outsourcing work? For instance, instead of having to lose sleep in order to meet an impending court deadline or having to decline representation and/or refer out paying work due to a heavy workload, you could retain the case and just outsource as much of or as little of the work as you need to another licensed and experienced attorney for an hourly rate or flat fee. Once the work is completed, as the supervising attorney you will review and sign off on the project, brief, etc., depending upon your particular arrangement. The work is done, you retained the case and retained the fees less the cost for the legal research and writing lawyer’s cost. This cost would pale in comparison to the cost of hiring even a part-time associate or paralegal, especially if your bottom line can’t handle another employee yet. In fact, depending on the needs of your practice, you could utilize a legal research and writing lawyer as often as necessary: as an emergency assist when you are in a time crunch or on a more regular basis.

Now for the fine print: First, under the North Carolina Rules of professional responsibility, lawyers may outsource legal research and writing projects or other work provided the lawyer obtains the client’s informed consent. (See 2007 Formal Ethics Opinion 12). In addition, the lawyer must adequately supervise (review and approve) the outsourced work. (See Ethics Opinion). If the legal research and writing lawyer is an experienced attorney, this process may be very minimal. As for professional liability, although not required, it is likely a plus if the legal research and writing attorney has their own malpractice insurance. This is an added advantage for those lawyers and law firms considering outsourcing their legal research and writing projects.

Even national experts have recognized the value of outsourcing your legal research and writing needs. “Lawyers outsource legal research and writing projects for a variety of reasons. One primary reason is time: unfortunately, lawyers are not always in control of their own schedules. Deadlines—whether set by statute, court rule or judicial fiat—are ever-present…. Outsourcing enables you to weather particularly busy periods without having to hire an employee or face time pressures that lead to lawyer stress and burnout.” – Lisa Solomon, Esq. Effectively Staffing Your Law Firm (Jennifer J. Rose, ed.; American Bar Association 2009).

In addition, outsourcing has been identified as an emerging trend in the 21st century law firm, as there is growing advice suggesting that lawyers and law firms are beginning to outsource as a means of reducing costs and staying competitive. Outsourcing can help you stay ahead of the curve, improve your ability to serve your clients, increase your bottom line, allow you to be more present in your family life and even improve your personal health.

If you have any questions about outsourcing your legal research and writing needs, please free to contact Brian K. Leonard of B.K. Leonard Law at (919) 987-1050, send us an email at: brn_leonard@yahoo.com, or visit us online at www.bkleonardlaw.com.


Jared Pierce hung his own shingle right out of law school and has spent every minute since then discovering the joys and difficulties of chasing success. Anyone who has ever met Jared will tell you h

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