View Full Version : Outsourcing a lawyer: How if the firm makes money based on what you bill?
05-28-2008, 08:17 PM
I'm stuck on this point - mind you I'm only in the first chapter or so of the book . . . .
I'm a lawyer . . . GET ME OUTTA HERE!!! . . . and I'm clear I don't have to put in "face time" . . .
HOWEVER, the firm only makes money if I bill and I only can bill if I do work (and be ethical!) . . .
How can that be outsourced or how can I reduce my work time without reducing my billing so that the firm doesn't "lose money" until I can quit?
THANKS! no lawyer wisecracks, please . . . it's bad enough being one.
05-28-2008, 08:49 PM
It's going to be tougher implementing a 4HWW in a billable time sense, especially as a lawyer where much of what you do involves privileged information and can not be as easily outsourced. I guess that is the main challenge?
That being said, anything you can possibly ethically and legally outsource, do it. Bill fairly for the time, and your clients will be happy you were able to react so quickly.
You may also consider using your legal background to make a muse. Some (overdone) information-based examples would include will packages (ha!), standard agreement templates, etc. Surely you can think of a niche more relevant to your specific expertise.
Your only option is to move to a firm that doesn't use an hourly system and bills by the project instead. They are rare but they exist. You might just have to start your own firm to get it to work!
05-31-2008, 08:31 PM
Reconsider "being a lawyer" and start thinking of it as "doing certain skilled tasks" which, in themselves, have sub-divisions to them. Who does your time sheets? Outsource that. What about your email contacts? Simply eliminate them (a la Tim). Do you have to work FOR a big firm? Many lawyers I know work for themselves as private practicioners, thus defining their own working hours. Since lawyers get paid well, many of them are therefore free to work "normally" for a few months and then simply NOT work for a few (though they wouldn't call that hiatus a "mini retirement" as Tim does, nevertheless they do, indeed, take mini retirements in those breaks).
I don't mean to diminish your perception of the difficulty of cutting the in-presence strings. I've worked as a shipping clerk and a publicist -- both essentially the same thing, by the way -- and in those positions you have to "be in house" to respond immediately. If the New York Times calls today, they need you to respond today, in fact within the next hour; or else your product doesn't get the free publicity in the NYT. To dissociate myself from this system I had to go about thinking clearly about my priorities. How important was it to me be be able to say to myself, "I AM a publicist"? Not important at all, if I wanted to disconnect and become an absent presence ... but very important if I bought all that "here's the RIGHT and ONLY way to build a career" bull dookie that my superiors imposed on me through guilt-ification and intimidation.
09-07-2008, 07:42 PM
I think being a solo practitioner might be the best way to somewhat follow the main tenets of the 4HWW. I graduated from law school and realized that being a solo would the only way for me to take a couple of mini-retirements a year. However, I'm finding that it is way too much responsibility for me, and with about $140k in debt I'm seriously thinking about becoming a high school teacher (which is something I wanted to do) so that I can take two mini-retirements during the summers and travel locally during the school year.
Back to your question, I'm not so sure about outsourcing because of ABA and the ethical considerations you raised, however, as another poster mentioned, you might be able to work a project or two at a time. That would be possible by being a solo. You may want to consult the following book and author's blog if you are interested in the solo idea.
09-07-2008, 09:30 PM
and with about $140k in debt I'm seriously thinking about becoming a high school teacher
Take the blue pill dude.
09-07-2008, 09:47 PM
Take the blue pill dude.
The non-profit organization I worked at two years ago paid attorneys $42k a year. I'd rather teach 190 days a year and make $50-60k with a law degree, rather than work year round and make the same amount or less. I didn't qualify for loan repayment with $42k anyway, and being a solo practitioner is very hard work and won't realistically make me more than $65-75k at this time. The chance of a $160k starting salary is gone for me, not that I would have wanted to work more than 70 hours a week.
09-08-2008, 11:04 AM
Billable hours = no scale. You work an hour, you get paid an hour. You want more pay, you work another hour.
The trick will be to use the skills and knowledge you have to create scalable industry. Maybe a series of e-videos (pay per download, of course) on various legal things that people wish they knew how to do? Or maybe leave the law stuff out of the picture and employ something else you know well for an e-product of some kind?
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