We understand that things are tough for everyone in the legal industry at the moment, from sole practitioners right through to large international firms. In this article, we will look at the various ways that that law firms can save money and how these work in practice.
There are a number of steps that you can take to benefit the environment as well as the firm’s bank account. For example, using laptops will use less energy than a desktop with a fully loaded tower. You should also look at how much you are printing and try to scan/email documents wherever possible. Double sided printing will also save on your paper costs. Although there are elements of practice that will always need to be hard-copy (such as Oaths/court documents), moving towards a paperless office wherever possible will make significant savings.
According to Legal Week, Norton Rose made savings of £5 million over 2011 by delegating some functions to a third party support provider and introducing a flexible working scheme. A number of local authorities, including Birmingham City Council and Bournemouth City Council, have also turned to IT outsourcing in a bid to generate savings.
In addition, the suppliers that the work is sent to often become truly expert at managing the functions, since this is their only business. A lot of administrative or office management work can be outsourced, including secretarial, paralegal, IT & HR tasks. In particular, secretarial and document processing are typically the third biggest cost after solicitor salaries and rent, so outsourcing in this area can make significant savings.
The main benefit of virtual workers is that you only pay them for the exact amount of time that you need them for, so they don’t incur other costs like benefits, sick time, holiday pay or training.
If you do decide to outsource, make sure you choose a supplier that is aware of the Law Society’s latest practice note on compliance and outsourcing agreements and who has made provisions for this in their contract with you.
At The Procurement Group, we have a team of specialists who work with law firms to help them to reduce their overheads and ultimately increase their profits. We have also helped many firms with multiple offices to streamline their processes for purchasing goods and services so that they are consistent throughout the organisation.
As your practice has grown, you may be concerned that purchasing controls are no longer as tight as they could be, with different members of staff seeking services from different suppliers at varying costs. If this is the case, it is unlikely that you are getting the best deals.
Our specialists review all of your outgoings and ascertain the status of your existing contracts. In the legal industry, the areas that firms tend to be the most keen to save money include conference calls, data entry, telephones, office cleaning, photocopiers, printer cartridges and stationery, and we will look at all of these and more.
A report will then be prepared which will make suggestions as to how you can save costs and these recommendations will usually bring results within four weeks. If we suggest a different supplier, we will fill in all of the account application forms and get the account pre-cleared if possible.
At The Procurement Group, we understand that the quality of service is equally important when choosing suppliers, so we will match or improve all service levels that you inform us of, or that we can determine from the paperwork. If you are happy with certain suppliers, we will negotiate with them to see whether any cost savings can be agreed.
Our approach to business procurement is simple – we provide streamlined systems that put you back in the driving seat when it comes to your firm’s purchases and reduce the purchase-related administration for your employees. This will allow them to spend more time on the important things, like billable hours and bringing in new business.
In addition to negotiating with suppliers, you will also benefit from our clients’ combined purchasing power but without having the costs of being affiliated with a buying group. If we don’t save you money – we will not charge a penny!