Do you have a trial in one case and a brief due in another? Perhaps an attorney in your office is out on leave and you’re left to pick up their workload in addition to your own. Maybe you can relate to either or both scenarios, or maybe you just simply know how it feels to have too much work and not knowing how it will all get done. If any of this sounds familiar, utilizing a freelance attorney can be a lifesaver for your practice and your sanity.
A freelance attorney is simply an experienced attorney who works with other attorneys on certain projects for a one-time or on-going basis. Think of them as an on-call associate that you use whenever you’re in a pinch. Here are five ways a freelance attorney can be beneficial to your practice.
#1 Increased Profit
If you have ever turned down new clients or cases because you couldn’t handle the work you already have, you’re letting money walk right out the door and missing out on potential profits. Using a freelance attorney can give you the added hands to work on your current cases so you can take on additional clients or work on other billable projects. In addition, you have the option of adding a reasonable surcharge when billing your clients for work performed by freelance attorneys. You earn a profit and your client’s overall legal fees may be reduced. It’s a win-win for all parties involved.
#2 Reduced Risk of Malpractice
A major cause for malpractice claims is missing deadlines and ineffective communication with the client. This is often due to the attorney being swamped with other obligations and not paying attention to detail. An attorney can better service their clients and regain control of their caseload by using a freelance attorney to take some of the workload off of them.
#3 Bounce Ideas
One of the benefits of working at a large law firm is that there is an abundance of counsel next door and down the hall to talk case strategy with. Solo practitioners, especially, do not have such a luxury. Since a freelance attorney is experienced in the practice of law, they can help point out things in a case you may have missed or introduce an alternative method to solving a problem.
#4 Flexible Schedule
Everyone only has twenty-four hours to do everything that they need to get done. Instead of trying to figure out how you will squeeze in a twenty-fifth hour, use a freelance attorney to help free up your time when multiple tasks are due at the same time. Furthermore, when a conflict arises and you need to be two places at once, such as court appearances, a freelance attorney can step in and cover for you.
#5 Do the Work You Enjoy
Many attorneys love to go to court and present their case in front of a judge or jury, but hate writing motions and doing legal research. A freelance attorney can come in and take care of the aspects of the case you don’t like to do, enabling you to perform the work you really enjoy doing.
Hiring a freelance attorney is a great low-cost, low-commitment solution to handling the ebbs and flows of your practice. When there is a high volume of work, they can help you navigate through it. When business is slow, you don’t have to use them at all. Next time you’re in bind, give a freelance attorney a call.
Shelley L. Whitehead is the Founder and CEO of LegalBee. LegalBee is a network or "hive" of freelance attorneys that provides temporary legal services for overworked attorneys.