New Orleans, Louisiana— I’ve written previously about my insistence that lawyers should outsource their international work. I’ve also modified my thinking a bit, at least as far as nomenclature of the idea, opting instead to call it subcontracting. At ClioCon this morning, Clio’s CEO, Jack Newton, offered a brief synopsis of his company’s 2017 Legal Trends Report. A frightening set of statistics jumped off the screen as he went through his slide deck, and they really bring into focus my insistence about subcontracting.
Imagine a lawyer puts in an eight-hour day (just imagine it’s only eight, would ye?). Of those eight hours, only 2.3 are spent on actual legal work. The remainder is tied up in building business (critical, no doubt), non-billable learning (read: research the client won’t pay for) or administrative tasks. And of the 2.3, only 1.6 actually results in dollars going into the firm’s operating account. Twenty percent.
So how do we, Jack asked, turn those other six hours or so into dollars? Any which way you can– especially if technology can streamline what we do.
That got me thinking more about the argument for subcontracting out work that isn’t profitable for a firm. It reminded me of the Big Firm Partner who was incredulous that his firm would dare to look outside for help. On anything. Well, if Jack’s statistics are to be believed, Mr. Incredulous now has simple math to guide him. If you’re only getting paid for twenty percent of your work, you’ve got to rethink things, man. Really.
Law firms are under tremendous budgetary pressure, and only those who take advantage of every possible efficiency will survive the tsunami that’s been battering our little guild for going on a decade.