How To Become a Freelance Lawyer

The legal industry is evolving, and so is the paradigm of what it means to be a successful lawyer. For many attorneys, looking beyond the traditional law firm model makes sense at this moment. This is sparking a new rise in the prevalence of freelance attorneys.

How to Become a Freelance Lawyer and Start Making Money – The Best Lawyer Job in 2021

What does a freelance lawyer do?

Freelance lawyers leverage their professional experience and network to complete additional work. Other lawyers may hire them to complete overflow legal work to assist with issues with staffing or caseloads. Freelance lawyers often specialize in a particular niche. This allows law firms to hire them to provide their expertise for specific cases, projects or transactions.

Freelance lawyers often complete appearance work. Appearance work involves the freelance lawyer attending hearings on behalf of other lawyers. However, its important for freelance lawyers to have the necessary licenses in the jurisdiction they attend hearings in.

Lawyers and attorneys may also hire freelance lawyers to complete written substantive work. They may research cases, review document and draft new documents. Freelance lawyers may write:

What is a freelance lawyer?

A freelance lawyer is a lawyer hired by another lawyer or attorney or a law firm to complete legal projects. They work independently to perform a variety of legal services for multiple clients on a contract basis. Freelance lawyers are able to choose their own schedules and determine their availability and the projects they complete. However, theyre also responsible for managing their own finances and income.

Freelance workers may work full time or part time to earn supplemental income. How much work a freelance lawyer completes may vary depending on where they live, their current life circumstances and the stage of their career. For example, some freelance lawyers also work as professors. Also, some freelance lawyers previously worked full time but have since retired and complete freelance work as they desire.

Working as a freelance lawyer provides lawyers with autonomy and flexibility. They can complete work anywhere they have proper licenses and do not have to work in traditional office settings. Freelance lawyers often have specialties they focus on, allowing them to work as experts in areas they enjoy.

Skills

Here are some skills for freelance lawyers to develop:

How to become a freelance lawyer

Here are some steps to follow for how to become a freelance lawyer:

1. Complete the education requirements

Becoming a lawyer requires you to earn a bachelors degree and attend law school. When completing your undergraduate program, consider choosing a major like pre-law, political science, philosophy, criminal justice, economics or English. Take advantage of opportunities to enroll in courses related to the area of law you want to practice. For example, enroll in business courses if you hope to practice corporate or business law.

To attend law school, you must take the Law School Admission Test, or the LSAT. Admissions officers with review your undergraduate performance, qualifications and LSAT scores to determine your admission to law school programs. The LSAT includes five sections of multiple-choice questions and a written portion, and each section focuses on a specific topic. Many people hoping to attend law school prepare for the exam and take it during junior year to allow adequate time to apply for schools.

Attending law school usually takes three years, and you earn a Juris Doctorate upon graduation. Many degree programs begin with two years of general education stories. Your last year in law school often allows you to enroll in courses related to your desired area of focus.

2. Earn your law license

Determine the requirements for you to receive your license to practice law in your state. Most states require lawyers to pass the bar exam to practice law. Exams may vary for each state, but bar exams usually require two days to complete. Bar examiners may review your exam scores, academic performance, character and other qualifications to determine your eligibility for a license.

3. Work as a lawyer

Gain experience working as a lawyer. You may gain a variety of experience to help prepare you to work as a freelance lawyer. After a few years as a lawyer, consider developing your specialty. This may help you hone your expertise to market to potential clients.

4. Get a malpractice insurance policy

When you decide to begin your career as a freelance lawyer, its important for you to get malpractice insurance policy. This helps mitigate any potential risk involved with your work. Its also important for you to verify the company youre working for has malpractice insurance.

Be sure to get a malpractice insurance policy that properly covers your work. Consider talking to an insurance provider about your plans to ensure you purchase the right coverage. Explore available resources from professional legal organizations to better understand your options and needs.

5. Create a freelance profile

Create an online profile focused on your experience as a lawyer to promote yourself to potential clients. Its important for your profile to be concise and personable. Highlight why clients should choose you.

Here are some things that are important for you to include in your profile:

6. Set your rate

Working as a freelance lawyer allows you to determine how much you earn. Decide how you would like to receive payment. You may charge clients an hourly rate or a flat per-project rate.

Each of these rates offers benefits. Charging a flat rate ensures provides transparency and creates a mutual understanding of how exactly much a project will cost. However, charging an hourly rate helps ensure you receive adequate payment for the number of hours you work. If you charge an hourly rate, consider providing your clients an estimate of how long a project will take you to complete.

Its important for you to set fair rates to compensate you properly for your work. Consider factors like:

7. Look for clients

Determine where you want to advertise yourself to potential clients or other attorneys and lawyers to hire and find you. Consider using special platforms dedicated to advertising freelance lawyers to vetted clients looking to hire a lawyer. These platforms often allow you to mark your specialty and jurisdiction to filter results, and they often handle taxes, fees and payment for you. However, some of these platforms may charge fees for you to use them.

As a freelance lawyer, its important for you to market yourself. Leverage your network, and reach out to people youve previously worked for or with about your services. Use the freelance profile you created, and consider developing a website to advertise your services. However, its important for you to check and follow your states specific guidelines for advertising legal services.

8. Create contracts or agreements

Once you find clients, discuss and agree on the work you will do. Its important for you to discuss and resolve any potential conflicts of interest and to detail your contract or agreement in writing. Be sure to include items like:

9. Find ways to collaborate with other lawyers

Its important for you to have the necessary tools and technology to complete your job. Ensure you have a good laptop or computer, basic software and smartphone and access to a printer, scanner and high-speed internet. Explore ways to collaborate with your clients and other lawyers, such as special tools, through meetings or with case management software.

10. Build relationships

Continue to foster your relationships with clients and colleagues. Its important for you to maintain relationships with people you enjoyed working with. This may encourage them to hire you more, allowing you to dedicate more of your time to working and earning money rather than looking for more work.

Here are some ways to help you develop strong, beneficial relationships:

FAQ

How can I become a freelancer legally?

If you’re ready to start freelancing, these tips can help you get a head start.
  1. Set up a website. Establishing an online presence for yourself is essential. …
  2. Order business cards. …
  3. Get a DBA or sole proprietorship. …
  4. Protect your future. …
  5. Focus on productivity. …
  6. Promote and network. …
  7. Know what’s out there.

How do solo lawyers make money?

Here are eight ways to start doing that.
  1. Stop wasting time with the wrong clients. …
  2. Spend time getting better clients. …
  3. Work smarter, not longer. …
  4. Spend less money. …
  5. Improve your client intake process. …
  6. Accept credit card payments to get paid faster. …
  7. Hire staff or use cost-effective services. …
  8. Use technology to streamline your day.

What is the lowest amount a lawyer can make?

Lawyers made a median salary of $126,930 in 2020. The best-paid 25 percent made $189,520 that year, while the lowest-paid 25 percent made $84,450.

Do Lawyers work alone?

A handful of lawyers work independently in solo practices but most practicing lawyers work as part of a larger team of lawyers. Over three-quarters of the one million-plus licensed attorneys in the nation work in private practice.

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