In February, MyCase exhibited at the Louisiana State Bar Association’s Solo and Small Firm conference. While there, I took the opportunity to interview a few of the speakers, including Andrew Legrand, a New Orleans attorney who provides legal services to small businesses. Andrew discussed how lawyers can use outsourcing in their solo law practices to allow them to better serve clients.
In the interview below, with transcript, he offers lots of useful examples on how he uses outsourcing in his practice and also shares tips on which tasks to considering outsourcing and where to find the right people for the job.
Niki Black: Hi. This is Nicole Black. I am at- in New Orleans at the Louisiana Solo and Small Firm Conference. I’m here with Andrew Legrand. He is a New Orleans attorney and he provides general counsel services to small business owners. Thanks for being with us today.
Andrew Legrand: Thanks Niki. I appreciate it.
Niki Black: My pleasure. I wanted to talk to you a little bit about outsourcing. So you run a solo firm yourself. Tell me a little bit about outsourcing and whether you use it and what types of outsourcing you’d recommend lawyers consider.
Andrew Legrand: You know, I say I’m a solo because I am the only lawyer at the firm but sometimes I think I’m a small firm because I do use a bunch of different virtual systems for different tasks. So, some of the most obvious examples are it started when I was trying to brand myself and create marketing materials that looked good.
And so I knew I needed to find someone- a graphic designer- to help me take, for example, a one-page sheet I wrote on the 5 mistakes that business owners make and make it pretty. But I also think as automation or outsourcing as things along the nature of hiring an answering service, right? Of hiring someone to just pick up the phone.
So, I like to think of outsourcing as the idea that when you need help with a particular topic, you can go and find a person who’s really good at that one thing. So, a decade or two ago, the idea was that you hire one person, an assistant, a secretary, and that person would kind of do everything for you.
Now, the paradigm has changed to where rather than hiring one person to do everything for you, you can hire people who are really good at one particular thing and get kind of the best in class, if you will, for that particular service.
Niki Black: Now, that makes a lot of sense. I think another difficulty lawyers will encounter though is, how do you find the best person for the job and are there any that you might recommend off hand?
Andrew Legrand: Yeah, so there’s a few different things. We talk about answering the phone, Ruby Receptionist is really good at that. There’s a company in Atlanta called CBSI that gets a lot of good reviews from lawyers on the “Solo says” list-serve for the ABA. So, that’s an example of somebody, they just do that one thing, but they do it really well, right?
If you need to find somebody to help you with a logo, there’s sights designed specifically for that. 99Designs is an example of a site where you can go and post a job request; it’s called speck work. But the idea is you post something and people come back with just logo designs. Fiverr is another good example. Fiverr is a crazy website, because, I don’t know if you’ve heard of Fiverr, but it’s a website where people will do things for just $5. And they’ll do all sorts of things. There’s lawyers that do contracts on there starting at $5. There’s all these upcharges. Fiverr’s a good example of what’s out there and what’s available. It’s got thousands, maybe tens of thousands, of freelancers who are out there who are willing to do something for $5.
A kind of big one, I think, is Upwork, and Upwork I think is the broadest kind of hiring platform and a good example of something I did recently on Upwork is I have clients, small business clients, that have HR issues and need their handbook reviewed. So, I went on upwork and posted a job position for someone who could help me review these handbooks. I wound up finding an attorney, who’s in Tampa who does employment law who was willing to just do these handbooks for me.
So, on Upwork, I posted the job review, had this attorney apply, they put their hourly rate up there, it was reasonable, and I engaged this attorney through Upwork to provide this service for my clients. Upwork is great because it keeps track of the time. It also manages the taxes, so the freelancer puts their time in and they know their hourly rate so Upwork charges me on a credit card, I pay Upwork and then Upwork issues that freelancer $10.99.
So, it actually takes some of that HR function away from me where I’m just paying with my credit card to Upwork and Upwork is managing that. So, Upwork is kind of a, it’s not as specific to one industry or one type of worker but if you can go on there and post a really good job description, I think it’s important, post a really good description of someone to do and have an idea of how much time and money you want to spend on this, you can find someone to do pretty much anything for you.
Niki Black: Really interesting. Those are some great ideas. Thanks so much for sharing. This is Niki Black. Thanks for watching and hope to see you next time.