COVID-19 has accelerated the typical boom-bust cycle, imposing austerity on corporate law department budgets and compelling in-house counsel to do far more with far less. It’s familiar territory for those who lived and worked through the Recession (or if you’re showing your age, the Dot Com Bubble of the early 2000s), and budgets will rebound once again.
In the meantime, law departments will need to stretch their workforce to support the anticipated adjustments to the short-term and long-term strategic plans of their organizations.
Fortunately, temporary legal staff can provide a stopgap until the economy and law department budgets rally. Keep these considerations in mind to maximize your current financial resources with your current workforce and temporary attorneys.
Reassess Your Departmental Workloads
The last few months have required a near-complete reorientation and prioritization of the workload of in-house attorneys. The impact on M&A activity has run the gamut, from accelerated deal closings to outright cancellation. Meanwhile, the urgency of environmental law cases has dropped as the EPA suspended enforcement during COVID-19. And inevitably, bankruptcy filings, restructuring, insurance litigation, contract renegotiation, and other areas will be on the rise.
Without exception, your in-house staff is going to need to pivot. By taking stock of the comprehensive expertise of your team, you can stretch their caseload capacity and your budgets through streamlined collaboration. Yet even then, your in-house attorneys have a limited bandwidth – and they are likely reaching their threshold.
Estimates are that the remote workforce across industries is logging three more hours per day from home than in the office. Put too much on their plate and you’ll see spikes in employee turnover. Though the talent pool is abundant, the thousands of dollars you’ll spend on recruiting a replacement are better used elsewhere.
Pinpoint Where Temporary Staff Can Help Most
Any instance in which greater departmental collaboration can’t bridge the gap will likely need outsourced counsel.
For example, if you don’t currently have someone on staff with deep practice area expertise in bankruptcy filing or insurance litigation, it’s far more cost-effective to bring on a temporary resource. Those with substantive experience in these thorny practice areas will navigate the requirements and challenges faster and with fewer missteps than a generalist. When the urgent need ends, you can scale down your workforce with less complication – especially if you are sourcing veteran candidates (as we do) who only want part-time or temporary work arrangements anyway.
This allows your organization to tap into a wealth of knowledge at a fraction of the cost for hiring someone with comparable talents. And rather than allowing the recruitment process to distract you from more pressing matters, working with a partner like Assigned Counsel will ensure that you receive candidates who not only satisfy your urgent needs but seamlessly fit your culture and excel at remote work.
Ready to make the most of your tightened corporate law department budget? Find out how much you can save by supplementing your law firm partnerships with temporary attorneys.