Finding Freelance Attorney Right

September 19, 2012 Leave a comment Go to comments

Many hiring attorneys bring on freelance lawyers to increase their efficiency.  Hiring the wrong freelance lawyer, however, can have the opposite effect.  By carefully screening for a freelance lawyer who matches the dynamic and style of the law firm, hiring attorneys can better find the freelance lawyer that is right for them.

As part of the screening process, it is imperative to request writing samples from potential freelance lawyers.  Review these materials and consider whether they are of the quality that you would be willing to adopt as your own.  Focus on what matters for the types of projects you wish to outsource. Eloquence, for instance, will be more important for appellate briefs than discovery documents. If you are a stickler for grammar, you will want to find a freelance lawyer who has the same penchant so that you do not find yourself editing their work for comma placement.

After screening and hiring a freelance attorney, you should continue to gauge her overall characteristics.  The first assignment you give a new freelance lawyer should not be a mission-critical matter. You would not hire an associate and ask her to chair a major felony trial on her first day at work. Give a test assignment or two, something smaller that is useful to have done, but will not leave you with a significant disadvantage if it does not get done properly or on time. These assignments will allow you to gauge the freelance lawyer’s proficiency, reliability, and work style. If you are satisfied with her performance and product, then you can gradually increase the size and importance of the assignments you give her.

By taking the time necessary to screen, hire, and test freelance lawyers to ensure that they are the right fit for their firm, hiring attorneys will be in the best position to reap the benefits inherent in bringing on a freelance lawyer.

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

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