The fourth-quarter is right around the corner and contract attorneys might be a great bet for getting to the finish line.
From last-minute projects to planning for the new year, fourth-quarter can one of the busiest time of year. Like clockwork, law firms across the U.S. begin a flurry of year-end activities as attorneys are wrapping up projects. Administrative staff are billing and collecting to improve the bottom line. Partners are evaluating associates and planning for the new year. During this hectic time, the business must continue to run smoothly. Contract attorneys or contract legal staff can help your firm finish the year strong and lay the foundation for a successful year to come.
Race to the Finish
During the fourth quarter, many law firms kick into high gear. Attorneys push hard to finish projects and tie up loose ends. Finishing complicated matters on a tight deadline can be a struggle without extra resources. Consider hiring experienced professionals for a few days or a few weeks. Document review specialists, project attorneys, and legal support staff can step in quickly and help your team get more projects finished and billed.
Associate evaluations are a Q4 law firm tradition. Consider using the evaluation process to identify weaknesses or gaps in the firm’s current practice areas. A specialized contract attorney can strengthen a practice group. A temporary project team can create a whole new area of expertise for the firm. Got a rainmaker or a high producer? It’s a smart business strategy to cut the time they spend on low revenue activities so they can focus on more profitable matters.
Setting Budgets and Fee Structures
Establishing the firm’s fee structure for the following year is a critical activity. Simply raising hourly rates is no longer the standard practice. Profit margins for law firms are shrinking as more clients demand alternative fee structures. Factor contract or project attorneys into the budget to gain flexibility in the firm’s billing options.
Try Before You Buy
Many new hires do not work out. Some don’t have the skill level required, and others don’t fit the firm’s culture. Bring on temp-to-hire contract attorneys during Q4 and see if they are a good match before making a permanent offer. By the new year, both the candidate and the firm should know if it is a good fit.
Calm the Holiday Madness
Deadlines, client obligations, holiday events, family activities. Workplace stress levels can soar during the holidays. Keep the firm running smoothly and reduce the stress load by evaluating where help is needed. Contract attorneys can ease the burden on permanent employees and reduce burnout.