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December 2017

The New Shift to Project Work And Its Many Unique Benefits

There’s no lack of transformations occurring within the legal profession. Two such transformations have been the shifts to legal outsourcing and document reviews via temp firms. This has continued to redefine previously long-established notions and norms about the provision of legal services and the lawyers providing those services.

These transformations have now become established within the profession. But how does project work fit into this shifting paradigm for firms and lawyers? Let’s take a look.

Growing popularity of legal outsourcing and document reviews

To understand the new shift to project work, it’s important to first understand the reasons for the popularity of legal process outsourcing and document reviews.

Clients increasingly seek more affordable legal services. Yet, the traditional legal services model wasn’t structured for implementing swift adjustments in the cost of services. Therefore, long-established ways of doing business in the legal profession needed a drastic change.

As a result, more legal outsourcing and document review companies began providing services for firms. And firms sought out those alternatives as ways to lower costs for clients by completing work more affordably, allowing lawyers to save work time in the process.

Over the years, legal outsourcing and document reviews have become very successful. Project work offers even more success.

Firms shifting to project work

Project work is the fitting extension to document review and legal outsourcing services. Project work is a personalized service model that equally incorporates the traditional aspects of lawyering in a modern, technologically advanced way.

While project work provides some of the same benefits as legal outsourcing and document reviews (affordable services and saving time), it also offers unique benefits.

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Maintain control over the hiring process

Turning to outside help can be a valuable business strategy. That’s why so many firms have already used document reviews and legal outsourcing. However, outside help usually means relinquishing control over the work that gets done, which is an unappealing factor to some firms.

Project work is uniquely advantageous in that it provides the ability to utilize outside help, but in a way that allows firms to retain control over their work.

For example, consider hiring processes. Firms utilizing document review and legal outsourcing companies don’t actually hire the individual lawyers doing the work. But, with project work, firms can hire the lawyers of their choice, and they can easily do so whenever they want.

It matters which lawyers work for your firm. So, if you actually want to choose and know the lawyers working for your firm, consider project work.

Maintain control over the work completion process

In addition to having control over the hiring process, project work also gives firms control over the work completion process – something not part of the document review and legal outsourcing models.

A project work service built upon modern technology, but which focuses on personalized teamwork, is a winning combination. Though firms want to reduce costs, it would be nice if firms could still know what’s happening with their work while it is being completed, just like what happens with work at the firm.

As a result of personally hiring the lawyers working on your projects, you will actually know which lawyers are working on which tasks. This gives you the ability to easily check in with those lawyers at any time.

The same cannot be said with document reviews and legal outsourcing, which have little, if any, interaction between the firms and the lawyers doing the work for those firms.

Additionally, the unique structure of project work allows firms to participate in and/or supervise the work completion process to any extent at any given time. That being said, project work provides on-demand collaboration that’s perfect for busy lawyers.

Lawyers shifting to project work

The transformations happening within the profession aren’t just with firms. Lawyers are increasingly seeking changes in terms of attorney positions. Much of the discussions around the benefits of document reviews and legal outsourcing focus on firms. But what about the benefits for the lawyers actually doing that work?

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Work/life balance

Work/life balance is a term widely discussed among lawyers, as the legal profession is not known for providing much of a work/life balance. However, work/life balance has become a more prominent phenomenon, especially among the many millennial lawyers who make up the entry-level lawyer workforce.

Some firms have responded to this increased focus on work/life balance by beginning to change the lawyer positions for which they hire. For example, staff attorney positions are becoming increasingly popular at firms.

Staff attorney positions involve more traditional work hours. However, project work provides a different kind of work/life balance that’s even more flexible.

Work/life balance is unique to each person. For that reason, a traditional position, even with standard work hours, can’t provide truly flexible work/life balance that can be customized according to a person’s career objectives. Flexible work/life balance allows lawyers to customize their schedules any way they want.

Project lawyers can work as much or as little as they’d like to, based on their desired work/life balance. Document reviews certainly don’t provide that kind of flexibility. While document review work is mainly temporary, it’s usually full-time (or overtime) and requires working on-site Monday through Friday.

That’s not much different than traditional employment. However, as previously described, project work is very different than traditional employment and provides many unique benefits for lawyers.

Flexible hiring process

The flexibility of project work isn’t just limited to the work itself. Project work also provides unprecedented flexibility for the hiring process. Lawyers seeking work usually want to it ASAP.

So, having the ability to obtain work perhaps within just one day provides unprecedented flexibility for lawyers seeking work. With the growing trend among lawyers for more flexible work arrangements that provide better work/life balance, the new shift to project work is a fitting solution.

Final thought

The new shift to project work among firms and lawyers is a fitting extension from document reviews and legal outsourcing. It also provides unique advantages that mutually benefit firms and lawyers.

So, put project work to work for your firm and your career, and experience all of the advantages that project work can provide.

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