The most important way of outsourcing legal services is the way in which it is most easy for the client. Similar to how there are different types of retainers available, there are also different ways to outsource.
Over the years I have worked with many corporate clients, each needing their own style of outsourcing. And none of them are set in stone.
Some clients start slowly. They ask us to do 1 piece of legal work for them for a fixed price. It might be a commercial contract review or some debt recovery. It is usually pretty low key, and they are trying us out. And why not, us lawyers are only as good as the work that we do. Once that client is happy that we know what we are doing, and that we are good at it, they instruct us to do a bit more. Perhaps a review and upgrade of all their commercial contracts or to implement a credit management and debt recovery process. They might ask us to overhaul their employment documents and HR policies. Or maybe they are moving office and ask us to handle the property transaction. Whatever it is, they are still trying us out for size.
Once clients like that get to know us, they are happy to put all their legal requirements into our hands. They are usually aware of their annual legal spend (although it is not an issue if they are not – we are pretty flexible), and value the opportunity to account for it on a monthly basis to facilitate cashflow. Working together we can determine how much they need to budget and what that budget needs to include. It is always a 2-way process.
Other clients like to throw themselves in at the deep end. They know they like us, and they want to work with us – they are just not quite sure where and how to start. So, we go to them. We spend as long as it takes with them to establish where their company is at “legally”, what they need, and how we can deliver it. As a lawyer there is rarely anything as satisfying as immersing yourself in your client’s business and being able to be their outsourced in-house legal team.
Spending that time with our clients, we can really get to know them and their business. We can shape their retainer around their current needs and their future plans. They feel supported and we feel like part of the team.
Those clients are at opposite ends of the spectrum and there are many shapes and sizes of clients in between, all of whom we bespoke our outsourced legal services for. Nothing gives me greater pleasure than being referred to as a client’s legal department, because I know that we have been there to offer the exact legal service they needed at the exact time it was required.
If your company is considering, or thinks it could benefit from, an outsourced in-house legal team, we would love to show you how it works.