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Attitudes towards freelance lawyers have been changing over the years. Such changes were an almost predictable outcome of the 2008 crash that left many professionals without a job. Suddenly, attorneys who had previously been labeled "substandard losers who couldn't get a job" are now an industry regular.
That "loser" terminology are the words of Donna Seyle, founder of Law Practice Strategy. She writes that some of the perks that come with freelance lawyering are enough to make at least some lawyers consider this "loser" route.
Freelance Lawyers vs. Legal Process Outsourcing
Freelance lawyers are turning out to be a reasonable alternative for clients who want excellent quality at a lower cost. In an effort to reduce price tags, many firms have utilized legal process outsourcing (LPO), contracting work outside of the firm for work that is critical but boring. Those lawyers, unfortunately, do not play an active role in strategizing or in client interactions.
A freelance lawyer, on the other hand, has much greater maneuverability than an outsourced firm, meaning that he or she can actually be in the room to give advice, and take part in actual lawyering: discussing strategy and attending depositions. In a word, a freelance lawyer enjoys almost the same relationship with a firm as does of counsel -- minus the ongoing relationship.
Technology Is Your Friend
Another advantage to freelance lawyering: working from home. With telecommuting being virtually acceptable everywhere, freelance lawyers can even work across jurisdictions because the ultimate go-ahead is given by the attorney who hired you. In a word, you get to pick up work in another state despite not being licensed in that state.
Hey, I Could Get Used to This
According to a piece by the Illinois Bar Journal late last year, more and more firms are hiring freelance lawyers -- or allowing lawyers who previously came into the office to stay at home because of family. And the relationships have been so far so good. The advantages are easy to see. Less overhead, less crowding. On the other hand, some older firms do not like the idea of remote working. But as it is, that is pretty much the only major concern.