How to Find Potential Freelance Lawyers

The single best way for a solo or small firm practitioner to find local freelance lawyers is by referral from another attorney you know and trust. If you do know a good freelance lawyer who is not right for an assignment due to lack of licensing, specialization, or time, it might be wise to ask her for a reference. Freelance lawyering is still a relatively small community, so the likelihood that one good freelance lawyer can refer you to another is high.

You might also check the back of your local bar journal, as freelance lawyers (particularly those with specialized practices) often advertise here. They may also call themselves “legal writers” or “contract attorneys,” in which case you will need to figure out whether they are offering the service you are seeking. There is a wide variety of terminology used to describe freelance lawyers. Legal writers may not be licensed attorneys, and contract attorneys may expect to come work in your office. If the advertisement is not clear as to what kind of business relationship the service provider is seeking, simply call and ask before investing too much into the screening process.

Craigslist is another potential place to find freelance lawyers, as some regularly advertise in the legal services section. Again, be aware that the terminology employed varies. Further, the average quality of the freelance lawyers you find advertising on Craigslist will not likely be on par with those who come by way of referral or who advertise in bar publications. Depending on the region, advertising on Craigslist may be free, so you may be looking at a lot of lawyers who are in between jobs, without a legitimate freelance law practice.

A better option is to place your own advertisement, and you can do so anonymously on Craigslist. Additionally, some state bars have online job-posting boards that you can use, although it is less likely you will be able to remain anonymous. Either way, you can wade through responses at your convenience. If the ad was anonymous, only those respondents you choose to reply to will know your identity or contact information.

The quality of the responses will vary widely, so be prepared to immediately delete a good portion of them. It is possible you will hear from a high-quality, ambitious freelance lawyer who is early on in her practice and seeking to build business. Request potential freelance lawyers provide a resume and link to their website, so that you can do a bit of the screening before you decide to engage respondents. Give as much detail as you want to. Your ad may be as simple as:

General practitioner seeks freelance lawyer with employment

law experience to help with civil suits. Must be

California-licensed with 5 years experience.

Email resume, writing sample, and hourly rate.

For those using internet advertisements to solicit freelance lawyers, you would be well advised to find a freelance lawyer with an established practice. Sometimes candidates you find via the internet will be traditional lawyers who are between jobs. While this may be sufficient for a discrete project, you cannot expect that they will know the ethical and logistical ins and outs of freelance lawyering, or that they will be ready and willing to tackle the next project that comes along. Your first few projects with a freelance lawyer require more supervision than do later projects, and it is not efficient to put that investment into someone who will not be around for long.

This post is adapted from The Freelance Lawyering Manual: What Every Lawyer Needs to Know About the New Temporary Attorney Market.

Solo and small firm attorneys should contact me by email or phone at 608-620-3529 to schedule a free consultation.

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