The Brief No. 10: The Brief: Contract Attorney Rates, Tech Competence, & Why Incremental Innovation Works

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October 17, 2018


How much does a contract attorney cost?
This is a common question we get at Hire an Esquire. The answer is sometimes straightforward but usually involves various factors to determine a competitive market rate.

Read our insights from many years of experience (and platform data) on what impacts the cost of a contract attorney, as well as current market rates for major practice areas.

Congrats to @ehahm for winning #TriviaTuesday on Twitter this week! This week's theme was legal innovation, so he won a copy of Legal Upheaval: A Guide to Creativity, Collaboration, and Innovation in Law, written by Michele DeStefano. You could be next week's winner!

Join us for #TriviaTuesday on October 23rd. We tweet three trivia clues every Tuesday at 2:30 pm ET. The first person to @ us with the correct answer wins.

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Small changes = big results: In this thoughtful essay in Evolve the Law, Ivy B. Grey makes the case for incremental (over disruptive) innovation in the legal industry. Survivorship bias leads us to fixate on big, bold innovations—but these more often lead to failure than big rewards. Opportunities for incremental innovation—especially in document creation, staffing, and legal service delivery—can dramatically impact a firm’s key offerings and client concerns. These small, reactive improvements, she writes, can be realistically implemented and have real bottom-line impact.

Running a practice ≠ practicing law: Congrats to Billie Tarascio, who won the Reisman Award for Legal Innovation at last week’s 2018 Clio Conference for her new venture Modern Law Practice. She’s developed a plug and play system for small firms and solos to scale their businesses, complete with Standard Operating Procedures and processes for every critical aspect of running a firm. Her interview with the Above the Law discusses why running a practice is different than practicing law and listen in to why developing pro-employee policies at her family law firm was critical to hitting revenue goals.

Tech competence = ethics compliance: Vermont became the 32nd state to adopt an ethical duty of technology competence for lawyers, amending its Rule 1.1 to say

To maintain the requisite knowledge and skill, a lawyer should keep abreast of changes in the law and its practice, including the benefits and risks associated with relevant technology.

Find out if your state has a similar ethical requirement on Bob Ambrogi’s LawSites blog, which is tracking amendments to competence requirements for lawyers.


During the first week of October every year, people and organizations across the country raise awareness of mental illness. In this week’s Legal Speak episode, columnist Patrick Krill talks with lawyer Lynn Garson, who bravely shares her story about managing bouts of depression and how she’s built a successful career along the way. He also speaks with LeeAnn Black, COO at Latham & Watkins, who explains why her firm was one of several that recently signed a pledge developed by the American Bar Association working group to target substance-use disorders and mental-health issues among lawyers.

Listen to One Big Law Attorney’s Journey with Depression, One Firm’s Response to the Profession’s Problem

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