Beyond Doc Review
The advantages of a freelance law practice
The use of freelance attorneys is the leading law firm staffing strategy change since the recession.
Legal staffing is changing.
Just as in every other industry, law firms are increasingly hiring freelance (or contract) attorneys to lower their expenses and compete in a changing market. According to a 2018 Altman Weil survey, half of all firms have changed their staffing strategies since the recession—and the use of freelance or part-time attorneys is the leading one.
Gone are the days when contract attorney work was synonymous with document review (not that there’s anything wrong with that). Today’s freelance attorneys are an integral part of legal teams developing cases, attending depositions, and making court appearances. Many are engaged in highly specialized areas of the law, building their brand as indispensable contractors who can provide their expertise to a wide range of firms and clients.
What are the top reasons lawyers prefer to give up law firm life and a predictable paycheck to freelance?
Flexible hours. A growing number of attorneys are working remotely, allowing more flexible work hours and creating a better work/life balance. You can be a lawyer and have a life (and ward off an untimely heart attack).
A diversified career portfolio. The legal industry has seen its share of layoffs and closures over the past decade. Freelance work is a great way to hedge your bets against the shuttering or downsizing at a single law firm or in house department. Working with a diversified base of law practices will also help to build your network and access to opportunities if you do wish to return to a traditional job or open up your own practice in the future. If you’re venturing into a solo practice, freelance work can help to provide you with steady income and grow your referral network as you develop your own direct client base.
Online options ease sourcing and payment. Unlike solo attorneys who have to bill (and hunt down) clients for fees, enterprise freelance platforms have automated payment that make getting paid easy. The freelancer is usually required to complete invoices online and they’re paid automatically once approved by the hiring lawyer. And you can use these platforms (disclaimer: Hire An Esquire is one of them) to find freelance work and keep your project queue full.
No rainmaking requirements. Unless you’re specifically hired by a firm to do business development, most freelance attorneys aren’t tasked with growing a firm’s book of business; rather, they fill the void for upswings in work or temporary and/or sporadic needs for a niche skill sets. This is a win-win for both firms and in-house counsel, and freelancers: law practices reduce overhead by scaling talent costs to demand, and freelancers are freed from the grueling law firm life of trying to balance billable hours and business development.
Ready to start your freelance practice? Learn more about the Hire An Esquire platform, or sign up today (for free!) to see the projects we have available.