Imagine having more productive hours, and spending less time on tasks like writing motions, doing legal research, conducting discovery, writing demand letters, etc.. These, and many other tasks, can easily be outsourced to vetted lawyers, thereby creating space for more money, and time freedom. The outcome can be transformational to both your business and personal life.
Whether you work in the legal department of a large corporation, work in a large law firm, own a small law firm or are a solo attorney, there is one thing all have in common: the need for growth. The saying that it takes a village to raise a child rings just as true when it comes to growing your business, but finding the right “village”, or team, isn't as easy as it sounds, and the mere thought of hiring someone new can be overwhelming.
It's common knowledge that doing everything by yourself is a direct path to stagnation, frustration, anxiety, poor health and eventually failure. If you're ready for further success, more money and more time freedom, legal outsourcing is your answer.
If you want more money, more time freedom and more fulfillment, you must learn to delegate and outsource. That's why we've created the Law Beez Triad of Success
Acquiring the right talent is key to growth. You absolutely cannot grow if you're juggling all the different hats you're wearing. Outsourcing your legal work to vetted freelance lawyers is the solution to this.
A key component of success is knowing your resources and using them. Our platform gives you access to vetted freelance lawyers so you can outsource your legal work.
When you have the right tools and the right talent in place, you gain more time which opens space to gain more clients and do the things in life that make you happy. This all leads to more money, more time and more fulfillment.
Over the last decade, outsourcing has grown rapidly within the legal industry, and the pandemic has skyrocketed that growth exponentially.
According to the 2017 Altman Weil Survey titled “Law Firms in Transition”, half of the firms surveyed said they have significantly changed their staffing strategy since the recession. The use of contract lawyers is the top staffing tactic that firms are pursuing and the most effective lawyer staffing technique…
The most recent Altman Weil survey—“2019 Law Firms in Transition” —provides some interesting context. One important piece of context being, the continued increase in the use of hybrid staffing models: Contract lawyers, paraprofessionals, staff attorneys and the like continue to rise in popularity (roughly half of the Altman Weil respondents use these categories) and provide a source of profits that are clearly being tapped by BigLaw.
Delegating work to a freelance attorney allows time for business development so that you can bring in more cases, which means more money and more available resources so that you can gain the time freedom we're all looking for.
Most law firms have seasons when they're business is bustling and seasons when business isn't so busy. Engaging with freelance attorneys solves for those slower seasons of business that would otherwise drain your firm's funds by having to continue to pay a full time associate. Not only that, but those bustling times of the year when no one can seem to catch up are the best times to outsource the overflow of legal work so that you and your associates can get some sleep at night, and so that you can ensure you stay on track with your timelines and that no deadlines are missed.
Mental health touches every part of our lives. Being overworked, overwhelmed and burned out overflows into one's home life and affects day to day living and health. Guess what? You don't have to be overworked, there is a way to streamline your workflow and it's by hiring freelance lawyers to take on some of your workload.
Imagine having the time and focus to be a more happy and creative person. Not only is being overworked and stretched thin bad for your personal life, but it is also bad for business. The ability to make complex decisions is stifled under stress which leads to a decrease in creativity and productivity. Delegating and outsourcing legal work to freelance lawyers helps streamline workflow and leads to a successful law firm and personal life.
One of the most significant benefits of hiring a freelance attorney is the overall cost reduction. Did you know that the average cost of a freelance attorney is about one-third the cost of hiring an associate?
Not to mention the cost of your time spent finding a new employee, interviewing candidates and training them. And then there are costs related to having a w-2 employee, like employment taxes, 401k benefits, insurance benefits, and other payroll related fees. If you want to reduce your overhead, outsourcing is your solution.
In case you didn't know, when you hire a freelance attorney, you can increase your profit margin by billing your clients at your normal hourly rate while paying the freelance attorney for his or her time. The key here is to bill your client at a reasonable market rate.
Let's start with Model Rule 1.5(a) that states when costs associated with legal services of a contract lawyer are billed to the client as fees for legal services, the amount that may be charged for such services shall be reasonable.
For example, if your normal billable hour is $350, and you pay your freelance attorney $100 per hour, you can still bill your normal hourly rate, thereby increasing your profit margin. Not only that, but you freed up your time to retain new clients and grow your business even more. By the way, don't forget that you must oversee and supervise any work you outsource to a freelance attorney.
Now that you have an idea of how to increase your profit margin, let's talk about the ethics of outsourcing to freelance attorneys.
Before we get into the nitty gritty of ethics and contract attorneys, it's important that you check with your jurisdiction specific rules and be aware of their nuances.
In its Formal Opinion 00-420, the ABA Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility addressed the concern of whether contract lawyer's services must be billed to the client at the rate paid to the contract lawyer or at prevailing market rates. As we all know, attorneys may bill the services of contract lawyers to their clients at the prevailing market rate as long as the rates satisfy Model Rule 1.5(a)'s reasonableness requirement.
Surcharge to Client for Use of a Contract Lawyer.
A surcharge to the costs may be added by the billing lawyer if the total charge represents a reasonable fee for services provided to the client. When legal services of a contract lawyer are billed to the client as an expense or cost, in the absence of any understanding to the contrary with the client, the client may be charged only the cost directly associated with the services, including expenses incurred by the billing lawyer to obtain and provide the benefit of the contract lawyer's services.
(a) A lawyer shall not make an agreement for, charge, or collect an unreasonable fee or an unreasonable amount for expenses. The factors to be considered in determining the reasonableness of a fee include the following:
(b) The scope of the representation and the basis or rate of the fee and expenses for which the client will be responsible shall be communicated to the client, preferably in writing, before or within a reasonable time after commencing the representation, except when the lawyer will charge a regularly represented client on the same basis or rate. Any changes in the basis or rate of the fee or expenses shall also be communicated to the client.
The ABA Formal Opinion 88-356 emphasizes that all other rules of professional conduct must be followed when utilizing the services of contract attorneys. In particular, the ABA emphasizes compliance with many of the following ethics rules that are likely to be involved in the utilization of freelance attorneys.
Rule 1.7 prohibits a lawyer from representing a client if the representation of that client will be directly adverse to another client or may be materially limited by the lawyer's responsibilities to another client or to a third person or by the lawyer's own interests, unless the lawyer reasonably believes that there will be no adverse effect (as described in the Rule), and the client consents after consultation…
Since contract attorneys may have a more varied base of clients and conflicts will be more difficult to manage than employees in your firm. Be sure to do a thorough conflict check and ensure that your contract attorney does so before taking on new projects while working at your firm. Law Beez has this covered by requiring that a conflict check be completed before hiring a freelance attorney.
Supervising lawyers with the firm also have an obligation to make reasonable efforts to ensure that the temporary lawyer conforms to the rules of professional conduct, including those governing the confidentiality of information relating to representation of a client. Rule 5.1(b) and (c);...
Ensure that all client confidentiality concerns are addressed in alignment with this rule, especially if the contract attorney is using different systems, means of communication and/or related protocols than your law firm attorneys which have been structured for compliance with your duty of confidentiality.
The Committee is of the opinion that where the temporary lawyer is performing independent work for a client without the close supervision of a lawyer associated with the law firm, the client must be advised of the fact that the temporary lawyer will work on the client's matter and the consent of the client must be obtained….
The ABA Formal Opinion 88-356 along with Model Rule 5.4 was written as the basis for the majority of jurisdictions rules and opinions regarding contract/freelance attorneys. The opinion basically states that a relationship whereby a contract attorney is hired on an hourly or fixed fee basis, with a percentage of those fees being paid to a recruiting or placement agency is not in violation of the Model Rule 5.4, due primarily to the nature of services provided by the placement agency.
To sum that up, paying a company like Law Beez a fee for their service based on the amount paid to the contract attorney is not in violation of the fee sharing rules. Marking up a contract attorney's to a law firm's client is also not in violation of the rules.
Law firms wishing to hire temporary lawyers frequently use lawyer placement or other employment agencies. Questions have been raised whether a law firm which engages a temporary lawyer through such an agency may pay the agency a fee, which is a percentage of the compensation paid by the law firm to the temporary lawyer without violating the provisions of Model Rule 5.4.
This Committee is of the opinion that an arrangement whereby a law firm pays to a temporary lawyer compensation, in a fixed dollar amount or at an hourly rate, and pays a placement agency a fee based upon a percentage of the lawyer's compensation, does not involve the sharing of legal fees by a lawyer with a nonlawyer in violation of Rule 5.4.