We recognize that for a lot of small firms, just deciding to use a project attorney is a hurdle that must be overcome. Because of that, we don’t want the cost of finding that project attorney to be another hurdle. So here’s some insight into how we set our rate and some thoughts on how you might factor the cost of our service into your firm’s budget.
When my husband and partner, Will, started his firm, he was doing everything himself. All of it–the mailing, the phones, the photocopying–everything but the bookkeeping was his job. (The bookkeeping was, unfortunately, my job.) We quickly realized that this was no way to run a business, but even with the realization, the solution took some time in coming.
It can be a good idea to start-up lean –instead of making costly hires and renting a fancy office, to just push through and do it all yourself until you get the amount of work you need to take the leap and hire some help. But a word of caution here: if you are doing it all yourself, you are almost certainly not running an efficient business and are perhaps losing out on new work because you are too busy executing the work you have. It can be a dangerous, control-freakish precedent to set.
There is another way. You can start your firm lean and keep it lean by outsourcing and using contract labor right away, working your firm AS a business right from the start (as opposed to working IN your business.)
This works best if you have a trusted source for qualified, experienced help. When it comes to accountants, book-keepers, and receptionists there are some conventional ways to find them. But when we determined that we wanted project attorneys that could execute substantial legal work while Will was out marketing and networking–a part of the job that is absolutely crucial to his firm’s success–the solution was a bit harder to find.
We knew that there were great project attorneys out there–some of them were our friends–moms who had left Big Law because the billable hour requirements were incompatible with family life, or experienced attorneys who wanted to work for themselves, but had no desire to find and court clients, preferring instead to work with other lawyers and support their practices. But how would we find others? How would we find not just new law graduates, but experienced project attorneys with varying skills sets and specialties?
We tried asking around for referrals from other attorneys. This worked occasionally, but I always factored in the “babysitter problem”: Would you give the number of your best sitter away? As the parent of two kiddos, no chance. So it’s safe to say that most firms probably keep the best for themselves. Even if they did have someone to recommend, it wasn’t a sure thing–they might not be available, perhaps not qualified to work on your specific issue.
Our next attempt was to place an add online. You know the spot. And you likely know what we got when we posted: hundreds of emails, very few qualified candidates. The time it took to sort through that deluge was valuable time that could have been spent doing the work ourselves or billing for another client. (Let’s just say you spent 3 hours sorting through, reviewing and following up with candidates and your hourly rate is $300. Yup. That’s $900 of your time.)
The only other solution was to take out a very costly ad with our local Bar Association. Although we trusted the service and thought it would yield better results, the cost was too great, between $500 and $1000, and obviously not meant to help find contract labor but rather for those searching for permanent employees. We scratched our head at why there wasn’t a solution, a place where this connection between small firms and project attorneys might happen. Wasn’t connection what the internet was doing for everyone? You can find a mate online, connect with long lost friends, get a logo made for $5. What about lawyers?
With Aggreagate Law, we set out to solve these problems. We didn’t like the inefficiencies–asking around or placing an ad was costly and time-consuming, yet still might not yeild results. We wanted a sure thing and we wanted it to happen fast. A place where you could go to find a project attorney that is specific to the task at hand, and where the connection would happen quickly, at times within an hour of posting a job!
So, for just $99, here is what you get: A connection with a qualified, vetted and experienced attorney who is a specialist in the field you need. And in most cases, the connection happens within hours–not days or weeks. The rate for our service is a fixed cost that can be factored into the client’s overall project cost. (You can bill out the project attorney at a higher rate than you pay them for the work, and in doing so, make sure you factor in the cost of finding them.) Make no mistake, there will be some cost to finding the right help for your firm. Whether it’s a book-keeper or accountant or a project attorney. The question is, What are you willing to pay in terms of time and money? If you ask around for referrals, take out an ad and have to sort through resume after poorly written resume the costs add up and don’t always end with success. With Aggregate Law, the match is efficient and specialized. Give us a try–see for yourself how much time and money Aggregate Law can save your business.
Contact me at email@example.com with any questions or concerns. Happy posting!