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Law firm management can be defined as managing the law firm so as to strengthen the client relation, drive maximum profit, minimize cost, maximizing firm resources, recruiting and maintaining top talents, create a single source of data for its business.
Legal Outsourced Activities
LEGAL SUPPORT WORKS THAT ARE OUTSOURCED
Coding & Indexing
Coding can be defined as capturing key terms and pieces of data from various documents and building a searchable document database that can be imparted to any litigation support software.
· It analysis data important to law firms
· Index them logically
· Arrange them in a code
By referring the code one can easily search for the required data.
Prepare document for all legal proceedings,
3. Deposition notices
5. Arbitration letters
6. Settlement letters
1. Client mailing
2. Collecting data
Preparation of Motions
Summons and Notices
SECRETARIAL WORKS THAT ARE OUTSOURCED
UNDERSTANDING HOW LAW OFFICES DO BUISNESS
Although every lawyer has his or her own unique way of doing things, most law offices share a surprising number of similar characteristics in terms of how they do business .Understanding some of them will help you to get more effective legal representation .
Law offices range in size from sole practitioners to firms with literally hundreds or even thousands of lawyers .While all of them charge for their time in one form or another, there are some practical distinctions to keep in mind that can roughly be broken down by the following categories.
Once a lawyer has passed the bar exam, it does not take much more to start his or her own practice other than renting office space and hanging up as single .Thus, it is not surprising that law offices of sole practitioners are probably the biggest single category of practicing lawyers .
Small Law Firms
A law office with two or ten lawyers can be characterized as a small law firm .The benefits of working with a small law office can include one or more of the factors mentioned above for a sole practitioner .Additional benefits may include
· More expertise in a given specialty.
· A small law firm can handle a broader range of legal matters
· Better coverage
· Pooling of knowledge and experience
Midsize Law Firms
A mid size law office would be a firm of perhaps ten to fifty lawyers. Potential benefits of hiring a mid size firm includes,
· Being the best of both worlds, mid size firms may have many characteristics of small law offices yet at the same time have the legal resources to do battle with the big firms. The balancing process can be difficult one, but many mid size firms are successful in preserving it
· Full service capabilities
Large Law Offices
A large law firm of fifty or more lawyers is still going to be able to do the same legal work of any of the small law offices .Typically, though they have grown so big because of their ability to devote the legal resources and expertise that are necessary to handle large and complex legal problems.
How, How Much, Do Lawyers Charge?
· Legal services aren't cheap
· When you're shopping for legal services, always ask potential attorneys to fully explain their fees and billing practices.
· Don't hesitate to ask detailed questions and don't be embarrassed. A lawyer's willingness to discuss fees is an important indicator of how he or she treats clients
Typical Fee Arrangements
Standard payment arrangements an attorney may suggest include:
· Hourly rates
· Flat fees
· Contingent fees
Hourly rates are the most common arrangement. Here, the attorney gets paid an agreed-upon hourly rate for the hours he or she works on a client's case or matter until it's resolved.
It depends on each attorney's experience, operating expenses and the location of his or her practice. Cheaper is not necessarily better when it comes to your legal protection. A more expensive lawyer with a lot of experience may be able to handle a complex problem more quickly. Also, an experienced attorney will be able to better estimate how many lawyer hours a particular matter will take to resolve.
A retainer fee is typically, but not always, an advance payment on the hourly rate for a specific case. The lawyer puts the retainer in a special trust account and deducts from that account the cost of services as they accrue. During the course of legal representation, clients should review periodic billing statements reflecting amounts deducted from the retainer. Most retainers are non-refundable unless labeled "unreasonable" by a court. If you decide to drop a case that your lawyer has worked on before the retainer has been exhausted, you may forfeit the remainder.
"Contingent" means that the attorney takes no fee from the client, but gets a percentage typically one-third of the settlement or money judgment. Contingent fee arrangements are typical for plaintiff's counsel in automobile and accident litigation, medical malpractice and other personal injury cases, as well as in debt collection cases.
Courts set limits on the contingency fees a lawyer can receive from personal injury suits. Of course, lawyers and clients are free to negotiate contingency fees less than the standard one-third. Contingent fee arrangements in certain kinds of cases such as divorce, criminal cases or child custody cases are prohibited.
How much can you expect to pay?
Rates for legal fees vary based on location, experience of the lawyer, and the nature of the matter. Believe it or not, rates may vary anywhere from $50 an hour to a $2,000 an hour or more.
In rural areas and small towns, lawyers tend to charge less, and fees in the range of $100 to $200 an hour for an experienced attorney are probably the norm. In major metropolitan areas, the norm is probably closer to $200 to $400 an hour. Lawyers with expertise in specialized areas may charge much more. Here are some national averages to help you get a general idea
In addition, you can expect to be charged at an hourly rate for paralegals and other support staff. A good paralegal's time, for example, may be billed out at $50 to a $100 an hour or perhaps more. It would not be unusual for a legal secretary's time on things like document production to be billed out at perhaps $25 to $50 an hour.
What about expenses and court costs?
Little things add up. Carefully discuss with your lawyer anticipated miscellaneous costs so that you can estimate those costs up front and avoid any unpleasant surprises. Be prepared to scrutinize court costs, filing fees, secretarial time and delivery charges.
How can you keep track of legal fees?
· Get a fee agreement in writing. If an attorney is unwilling to put a fee agreement in writing, cross that attorney off your list. Some states require written fee agreements for most cases.
· Ask your attorney to include in the fee agreement a provision for periodic, itemized billing. An itemized bill should list and describe all charges so that you can review them and compare them to your fee agreement.
· You might want to arrange for a ceiling or limit on fees. You might also require your lawyer to get your approval before proceeding beyond a certain amount in legal costs. If you've hired an attorney to recover a $10,000 debt, you probably don't want to pay $8,000 in legal fees to resolve the matter
What about free or low-cost legal services?
Depending upon your financial situation, you may be entitled to free legal services. If you are "indigent" within the meaning of any applicable state or federal guideline, you may be eligible for representation by a public defender in a federal or state criminal case. Low-income people may also qualify for free representation in landlord-tenant and divorce cases.
Some organizations offer their members prepaid legal plans. Often plans include a low or no-cost consultation or low-cost services in uncontested divorces or simple wills matters. Check your liability insurance policy. Your policy may include coverage for attorney fees or require your insurance company to provide an attorney to defend you in a lawsuit.
· Many unions provide free legal services to their members in union-related matters. If your case or claim is work-related, talk to your union representative.
· Certain rights or advocacy groups might want to get involved in your case. For example, if you are challenging an unlawful attack on your civil liberties or right to free speech, an organization such as the American Civil Liberties Union may be interested in helping you.
What should you do if you are charged with a crime but can't afford a lawyer?
If you are indigent and if you are charged with a serious offense, you may be entitled to have an attorney appointed to represent you for free. The federal government and the states provide for the appointment of public defenders for indigent criminal defendants.
Public defenders are paid by the government and are required to represent clients as vigorously and competently as private attorneys. Public defenders often are specialists with many years of experience in the defense of criminal cases. Please don't underestimate their expertise.
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