Updates and advice for attorneys and law departments.

3 Ways Temporary Attorneys Can Help Balance Law Department Challenges

Evolutions in markets and economies place high demand on companies to scale, flex, and adapt, across an array of business units and departments simultaneously. Even the in-house law department – or in some cases, especially this team – is expected to be ‘elastic,’ stretching and contracting as conditions change.

When facing variable workloads, the traditional approach is to turn to two potential solutions: using outside firms for elements of the work or hiring additional attorneys. These options, however, create their own challenges, adding substantial extra costs and often reducing future flexibility.

Enter temporary attorneys. Working with a legal staffing firm such as Assigned Counsel allows your organization to be ‘elastic,’ so it can grow when needs arise or contract when demand falls off. Having access to a roster of qualified temporary attorneys – ready when needed but off the clock when not – is an option that satisfies this new business reality. Here are three ways engaging temporary attorneys can be an integral part of your balanced staffing solution: 

1. Temporary Attorneys Provide Balance, Relief, and Resources

The temporary attorney option has been available for more than 30 years but is often overlooked by legal department leaders, who may be unfamiliar with the engagement process or unsure of how to work them into the existing workflow structure. The benefit, however, is clear. Temporary attorneys:

  • are qualified to address specific legal issues the organization may be encountering;
  • arrive fully vetted for the capacity and skills the issues require; and
  • are available for virtually every practice area, across industrial or civil sectors.
Your temporary attorney can fill almost any role or perform almost any legal function your department needs – to provide support and additional resources for existing teams, to fill in for lawyers seeking a well-earned break, or for any other reason that responds to the circumstances you are experiencing today or are forecasting for tomorrow. 
2. Temporary Attorneys Help You Leverage Budget Dollars to Achieve Desired Outcomes

If you find that you’re sending more work to outside counsel because the capacity of your team is stretched thin, how long can your budget sustain that cost? Consider this: bill rates for Assigned Counsel temporary attorneys are substantially lower than outside counsel rates (typically half to a third!). Keeping selected work in house maximizes your budget dollars.

On the other hand, bringing more activity in-house only works with adequate staff support. Hiring another full-time attorney comes with a host of expenses not limited to salary and bonuses — recruiting, training, benefits, and facilities, to name a few. When you engage a temporary attorney through Assigned Counsel, those costs are eliminated. We take on the business of searching for candidates, reviewing resumes, conducting initial interviews, and onboarding. Since temporary attorneys are Assigned Counsel employees, you have no responsibility for employment taxes or benefits.

With temporary attorneys on board, you can also more deliberately evaluate what work should remain in-house and what should be sent to an outside law firm, finding the right balance of budget and talent.

3. Engaging Temporary Attorneys Offers You Relief from Administrative Burdens

Assigned Counsel provides the administrative support needed to ensure you get precisely the lawyering credentials and qualifications you seek. You let us know what legal skills and capacities you’re looking for and we do the rest:

  • We recruit from across the country, identifying the best talent to match a client’s needs.
  • We vet candidates extensively, with multiple interviews to ensure a match of abilities and skills to the demands of the project as well as company culture.
  • We complete all necessary onboarding, so attorneys arrive in your office prepared for work and up to the task.
Clarifying your temporary attorney need

If you answer yes to any of the following questions, your department could benefit from the engagement of temporary attorneys:

  • Is your department or an individual practice area experiencing potentially unmanageable growth?
  • Is your current team overworked (or overwhelmed) by workloads, family obligations, or both? 
  • Does your enterprise see the potential for growth but lack the talent on hand to pursue those new opportunities?
  • Could your current outside counsel arrangement be more cost-effective?

Assigned Counsel can meet your organization’s need for ‘legal labor elasticity’ with highly skilled attorneys. Our legal talent is ready to drop into your department to pick up the slack caused by overwhelming workloads, emerging compliance requirements, or any other concern that threatens to erode your office’s capacity to get work done well.

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