How can I trust this to work? Pichardo Immigration Associates has been using the service as their back-end office for over 5 years and it has allowed them to save about 60% on labor costs. It has also allowed Pichardo Immigration Associates to hire one additional admin/paralegal and Associate attorney. Like all new hires, there is an adjustment period, as you integrate the paralegal into your office.
What makes this service different from all the other services? I have tried other services where the model never really helped me grow my business. That’s the real difference with our service because it is designed to serve solo attorneys and small firms, like mine, who are trying to grow their business by being more productive and better able to focus on the mission critical tasks of running a successful law practice. Also, our service is comprehensive. It is not just filling out a form or answering a phone call, it is all of that along with client customer service satisfaction, calendar management, and translation.
What exactly can these paralegals do? Everything your paralegal can do with the exception of meeting in-person with your client.
How would I supervise them? Your supervision can happen virtually via Email, Phone, Video Chat, Regular Chat. You choose. Part of what I would do once you sign up is to help you establish those parameters.
What kind of training do they receive? In addition to training on US immigration law, our staff also receive training in customer service, law office technology, rules of confidentiality, and general law office administrative procedures.
What do the ethics rules say about this? It is perfectly ethical to outsource you just have to make sure that you supervise the work of your legal support worker. You should include language in your retainer or representation agreement disclosing to your clients that part of their matter may be handled by outsourced staff that are directly supervised by you. On our website you can find links to Ethics opinions from the ABA and different states that have addressed the issue.
What about taxes? You would treat this as any other independent contractor service you use. Which means that you should be able to write it off in full as a business expense but not pay for any payroll, workers compensation, or other taxes you would have to pay if you hired your own US- based employee.
But I don’t want to replace my admin or paralegal, why would I be interested in this? Because the purpose is not to replace all of your staff. You will still need competent staff on the ground to meet in person with clients. This service will allow them to be more productive and efficient, and the ability to handle greater responsibility. All of this should allow you as the attorney to focus on managing and growing the business, not to mention providing better quality representation.
Can you give me an example of how you use the service? Sure, I have found that my staff in DR can answer the phones, manage my calendar, and communicate with clients about their cases. They also handle an entire case from beginning to end so that I don’t spend any time doing data entry, organizing documents for filing, or following up with clients until the very end when I review the filing and sit down with clients to have them sign.