The Traverse Legal web site has a decidedly interesting series of posts (including a blogcast) about its adoption of a Virtual Law Clerk / Paralegal Program at this high-tech firm. They are purportedly utilizing four virtual law clerks and one virtual paralegal for an additional 60-100 hours of service capacity per week. Keeping with their "lowest competent billing rate" approach, Traverse Legal is seeing the positive results of task based and budgeted legal services.
In the words of one prominent local attorney who, upon being introduced to the model, exclaimed after reviewing the budgeted work-product generated by the program: "You are billing the client so much less, and getting so much more from your team. I think you are on to something here!"
Highlights from the Traverse Legal web site ...
- Better Return For Every Legal Dollar Spent: Our virtual paralegal and law clerk program provides more value at a reduced cost to the client. On our flat fee cases (which comprise approximately 35% of our matters), it allows us to deliver solutions to clients within budget.
- Task Based Projects & Budgets: Every assignment to a virtual employee is narrowly defined, documented and budgeted.
- Overflow Capacity: These virtual workers provide much needed overflow capacity for Traverse Legal, without creating overhead or 'make work' incentives.
- Alternative Billing: By pushing easier tasks down to lower billing workers, we are in a position to deliver much more bang for the legal buck. Making sure the lowest billing option is utilized consistent with the experience and expertise necessary to handle each specific task, creates tremendous efficiencies.
Will contract-based task-centric support staff (which by the way is a key part of the overseas outsourcing model) make law affordable for more Americans and deliver more value to even the wealthiest American litigants? Stayed tuned ...