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Malpractice insurer gives bad advice about working with freelance lawyers

I recently came across a risk management guide to working with freelance lawyers (a/k/a contact attorneys), published by Lawyers Mutual Liability Insurance Company of North Carolina. While I would generally expect a guide published by a malpractice insurer to give solid—even conservative—risk management advice, I found just the opposite in this guide. The guide touts […]

How to Work With Freelance Lawyers, Part 3: Special Considerations at the Beginning and End of an Engagement

Over the past two months, we’ve discussed how to decide what to delegate to a freelance lawyer and the importance of clear communication to a successful engagement with a freelance lawyer. Two additional best practices can help you maximize the benefits—to both yourself and your clients—of working with a freelance lawyer. Share Relevant Information Keep […]

How to Work With Freelance Lawyers, Part 2: Communication is Key to Effective Delegation

Last month, we discussed how to decide what to delegate to a freelance lawyer. Once you’ve made that decision and found a freelance lawyer to work with, it’s time to actually delegate the work. Communication is the key to a successful engagement, and to building a productive ongoing working relationship with a freelance lawyer. Clearly […]

How to Work With Freelance Lawyers, Part 1: Deciding What to Delegate

You’re up to your eyeballs in work, spending late nights and weekends at the office. You know that working with a freelance lawyer can help you avoid burning out and increase your firm’s profitability, but you don’t know how to get started. As the King of Hearts said in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland: “Begin at the […]

Findlaw gives bad advice about hiring freelance lawyers

Yesterday, Findlaw published Hiring a Remote Freelance Lawyer: is it Right for Your Practice?, by Jonathan Tung. Much of the advice in this trainwreck of a poorly-written post is wrong. The most significant piece of bad advice in the post is the implication that paying a freelance lawyer constitutes fee-splitting: However, not all is lost. It is ethical […]

Is ER for Lawyers engaging in the unauthorized practice of law?

Freelance lawyers come in different flavors. Some, like me, are generalists, helping lawyers nationwide in a variety of practice areas. Some help lawyers in different practice areas, but work with lawyers only in states where they themselves are admitted to practice law. Some, like Illinois lawyer Kathryn Thompson, who recently launched ER for Lawyers, work […]

California Lawyers Need Not Reveal Freelance Lawyers’ Involvement to Court, Opposing Counsel

In a new ethics opinion, the Orange County Bar Association’s Professionalism & Ethics Committee has opined that, under most circumstances, a California lawyer is not obligated to reveal that a freelance lawyer participated in drafting documents submitted to the court. In the opinion, the Committee expands the use of the term “ghostwriting” from its common […]

Freelance Lawyers as Techno-Sherpas, Leading the Way in Collaboration

Sherpas guide Himalayan climbers to mountain peaks and carry their equipment. As a freelance lawyer, I help my clients reach new levels of success in their practices by shouldering part of their workload on an as-needed basis. Because all of my work involves collaborating with other lawyers, and because technology has always been the key […]

Iowa Ethics Committee Issues Outsourcing Opinion

In late August, the Iowa State Bar Association’s Committee on Ethics and Practice Guidelines issued Ethics Opinion 13-03, entitled The Use of Contracted Lawyers. Not surprisingly, the Committee’s conclusions concerning the issues of competency, consent, control, compensation and conflicts in the context of the relationship between the hiring attorney (which the Committee calls the “retained […]

Citigroup Judge: Pay Contract Lawyers What They’re Worth

In an opinion issued last Thursday in In re Citigroup Inc. Securities Litigation, Judge Sidney Stein of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York found that the reasonable blended hourly rate for the contract attorneys hired by class counsel—most of whom performed document review and other relatively low-skilled tasks like summarizing […]