Welcome to Hire an Esquire
Mahogany and marble; salaries and billable rates as towering as the high-rent skyscrapers that housed prestigious firms. This vision of a legal career makes great television, movies, and a potential trophy that law schools wave at prospective and current law students (to justify the large tuition that funds the business of law school). There are increasingly fewer pieces of this prized “big firm job” pie. Many attorneys who managed to grab a piece find that it was mostly all hype. It doesn’t taste half as good as it looked behind the glass window.
Almost 6,000 attorneys were laid off from 2008 through late 2010 from big firms alone according to the LawShucks lawyer layoff tracker. While there’s no official happiness index for lawyers, we know a few of the 6,000 that were released from skyscrapers around the country and, anecdotally, we can report that 100% of those we’ve talked to are happier on the outside of BigLaw life.
Big firms will always have a place in the legal landscape, but we think they’re overrated and a good fit for many attorneys. This model as a primary employment vehicle for attorneys is not only outdated and unsustainable, but responsible for many of the woes in the legal world from students justifying the six figures of law school debt that the average law school student graduates with according to Forbes Magazine to the high instances of lifestyle discontentment and substance abuse amongst lawyers. We thought, like Frank Costanza before creating Festivus, “There has to be a better way.”
Our goal is to deconstruct certain notions of what an attorney is and what finding the right attorney means. We’re interested in developing a different type of Esquire; we’re building a world where you make your own hours, choose your own clients and have flexibility, freedom, and a chance to exercise your entrepreneurial muscles.
This is the world of freelance law. What is the basic concept of a freelance attorney? An attorney who picks up hourly freelance legal work from other law firms and legal departments unlike a solo who works directly with clients. (Although many solos freelance on the side to supplement their income!)
Entrepreneurship has never been a strength of many in the legal industry. The reasonable lawyer may exclaim “Crazy! Absurd! Too Risky!” at the concept of the freelance attorney, but could you say the same about spending your days searching for jobs? Or spending hours writing applications where you are one of the hundreds or thousands of lawyers applying on legal recruitment websites?
We think that if you managed to make it through law school, pass the bar, and represent clients —you’ve got this. Hire an Esquire wants to make that easier rough our web service that connects you with freelance legal work, and ultimately through this blog. In addition to insight from a variety of guest bloggers who are successfully and happily supporting themselves as freelance lawyers, we’re also looking for your comments, suggestions and insight to help one another build a support system and the identity of the freelance attorney.
Sign up now: Join the freelance law movement!