10. Associates are costly. According to a recent article in CNNMoneyentitled, You make $70K but cost your boss $88K, by Jose Pagliery, (http://money.cnn.com/2013/02/28/smallbusiness/salary-benefits/index.html), if you hire an employee with a base salary of $70,000/year you are incurring the following extra costs:
- Social Security tax: $4,340
- Medicare tax: $1,015
- State unemployment insurance: $478
- Health care insurance benefits: $10,119
- 401(k) benefits: $1,750
A $70,000 employee becomes an $87,702 employee.
This does not even include other hidden costs or perks your employee(s) have come to rely on such as copies, supplies, business cards for your employees, coffee, silverware, and napkins, to name a few.
9. A Legal Research and Writing (LRW) Attorney Saves You Money. An LRW Attorney costs between $50 – $120/hour. Some charge by the hour and some a flat fee. If you need to file a brief that will take approximately 10 hours, an LRW attorney charging $80/hr would cost $800. If an associate making $70,000/ yr creates the brief – assuming they can complete it in 10 hours – it will cost you $1,216.
Here is how you reach that number. An associate making $70,000/yr + costs in #10 = 87,702/year, $1790/week, or $358/day. An employee who works 10 hrs a day is probably performing closer to 6.5 – 7 hours of actual work per day.
10 hour day
– .5 lunch
– 1.0 bathroom and coffee breaks
– .5 conversations with co-workers
– .5 collecting work materials
– .5 warm up time in the morning
6.5 hour day
An associate would need a day and half to complete a 10 hour brief. After adding your time spent explaining the job, the total comes to two days. That brief now cost you $716, plus half a day of your time to explain the job and suggest revisions. If your time is worth $125/hour, it costs you $500 to explain and revise the brief. You have now invested $1,216 into one brief. An LRW attorney’s fee usually includes explanation and revision time by offering a free consultation and handing you a brief ready to file. Meanwhile, you are free to work on other matters.
8. An LRW Attorney Increases Your Bottom Line. RPC Rule 1.5 Fees, requires that lawyer fees are reasonable. The rule does not prohibit you from make a profit on an LRW Attorney’s services, as long as it is reasonable. Some of the factors used to determine whether a fee is reasonable include the degree of difficulty of the case, the complexity of the issue, and the novelty of the issue. You may charge for your time spent contacting the LRW attorney and setting up the project. Since she is experienced in legal research and writing, you can charge the appropriate hourly fee of an experienced attorney, thus increasing your profit.
7. An LRW Attorney is a Variable Cost – You Only Pay For Work Done. A $70,000/year associate is a fixed cost of $1790/week no matter how much or how little work is done. An LRW attorney is a variable cost directly correlated to your profit. If you have a slow week, you pay nothing. If you need 10 hours of work, you only pay for 10 hours. If you have a flat fee arrangement, you only pay the agreed upon price, however long it takes. Budgeting is simple when you can accurately predict your expenses.
6. An LRW Attorney’s Practice is Limited to Legal Research and Writing. When you start your solo practice, ideally, you limit yourself to a niche area of law in which you can excel. That way, when a potential client is searching for an attorney whom they perceive to be the most experienced or the most knowledgeable in a particular area, they choose you. The same is true of an LRW attorney. Her practice is limited to legal research and writing, including experimenting with keyword searches and search phrases. She reads the state and federal Supreme Court cases you always mean to read, analyzes them and keeps them in her arsenal for you. As part of her practice she knows where to find obscure cases or materials, and is patient enough retrieve them. Every lawyer is capable of doing their own research and writing, just as every real estate lawyer is capable of handling a corporate merger, or every criminal defense lawyer is capable of defending a DUI. But, why not just hire someone whose practice is limited to that specific area and is familiar with the most current nuisances?
5. An LRW Attorney Means More Referrals. An LRW attorney usually belongs to several list serves where members ask for referrals. Since she does not take lay clients, she is not competing against you, but constantly working for you. If you have an ongoing business relationship with an LRW attorney, she will scout potential clients, to ensure more work for herself. This is a wonderfully symbiotic relationship.
4. An LRW Attorney Can Help Expand Your Practice. Solo and small firm practitioners often shy away from cases they perceive to be too complex, and at the same time, take cases that are outside the scope of their target clientele. Hiring an LRW Attorney alleviates these concerns. First, because you did not incur a $1,790 a week fixed cost by hiring an associate, you can strategically select clients. You simply take cases that are going to be a good fit for you and your firm. Second, you can accept a complex case with multiple issues because you have a professional researcher at your fingertips. When you take cases based on your passions and interests, instead of your concern for paying the bills, both you and your client are satisfied. This leads to repeat business. With the assistance of an LRW Attorney, you may also expand into new areas of law that you never had time to explore.
3. An LRW Attorney Helps You Get Back to Life. You live in one of the most beautiful regions in the country. In any given week there are a plethora of activities in which to participate. There are concerts, festivals, and movies, not to mention hiking, biking, kayaking and swimming. When you free yourself from those late nights with Lexis or Westlaw, you can enjoy your life. You can buy that new car you have been eyeing and go for a drive in the country, or get tickets to the next Mariners or Sounders game.
2. LRW Attorneys Avoid Time Pressures and Welcome Deadlines. When a new client calls and you are already busy, you may have to shift your schedule in a hurry or, heaven forbid, turn down work. LRW attorneys are usually available on short notice and produce work on tight turnaround schedules. When you build a relationship with an LRW attorney, she gets a sense of your style and how you present ideas. If you have worked with her before, it will only take a few minutes to explain the task. It will save you time and years of your life.
1. An LRW Attorney Can Increase Client Satisfaction. The golden rule for any business person is to under promise and over deliver. When you partner with an LRW attorney, you can over deliver every time. You will save money, finish on or ahead of your deadline, and alleviate stress. By passing these savings on to your client, you will build your reputation. No client spreads the word faster than one who has saved money on a quality service. Next time you are dealing with a difficult client, think about whether your problems could be solved, and your client satisfied, by calling an LRW attorney. Did you select that client or did you need to pay the bills?