FAQ for Freelance Lawyers
What are the benefits of becoming an NCN freelance lawyer?
NCN handles marketing and administrative tasks (including credit card and ACH payment processing) on your behalf. Other network benefits include access to Freelance Freedom (a comprehensive collection of ethics opinions from across the country that are relevant to freelance lawyers and the attorneys who hire them) and a sample services agreement that you can use with any hiring firm (whether or not the hiring firm found you through NCN ). NCN will be offering additional benefits in the future.
What qualifications are necessary to become an NCN freelance lawyer?
To become an NCN freelance lawyer, you must have at least seven years of experience in practice and/or teaching legal writing at a law school. Our evaluation process includes reviewing a writing sample; confirming your bar registration status and clean disciplinary history; and interviewing three references.
Can I engage in other professional pursuits while I'm an NCN freelance lawyer?
Yes. You may engage in any professional pursuit you wish. This includes (but is not limited to) continuing (or starting) to work for law firms that did not find you through NCN; engaging in direct representation of clients; and teaching legal research and writing.
How do I apply to become an NCN freelance lawyer?
You can start the process by submitting a freelancer interest form. Once you’ve submitted that form, you’ll get access to the online application.
Is there a fee to apply to become an NCN freelance lawyer?
How much does it cost to be an NCN freelance lawyer?
In exchange for the marketing and administrative services and other benefits described above, you will pay a percentage fee to NCN based on your collections from NCN-generated business. You’ll pay this fee to NCN only when you collect your fee, not before.
Do I have to bid for engagements against other NCN freelance lawyers?
No. When NCN receives a match request from a hiring firm, we match the firm with the NCN member who we determine is the best fit for the engagement. We then send an Engagement Match Notification to that member (if the hiring firm has asked to be matched with a particular member, we’ll make that match).
We’ll match the hiring firm with a different NCN member in two circumstances: (1) If you’re the matched NCN member, but are unable to accept the Engagement Match notification for any reason; or (2) if, after you discuss the engagement with hiring firm, either you or the firm decide not to enter into a services agreement.
Does NCN set the fee for each engagement, or do I?
You do. You can choose whether to bill on an hourly or flat-fee basis, and how much to charge. The only restriction is that you cannot agree to accept a fee that is contingent on the outcome of a project (e.g., the court granting a summary judgment motion you drafted) or on the outcome of the matter. This restriction helps all parties avoid the ethical prohibition against fee-splitting.
How do I get paid for engagements that result from NCN matches?
You’re required to invoice matched firms exclusively via the NCN billing platform. Use of this platform allows NCN to automatically collect its fee for the marketing and administrative services and other benefits discussed above. The NCN billing platform can process payments made by credit card and electronic check (ACH). You may not agree to accept payment by paper check; in cash; by wire transfer; or by credit card or electronic check processed outside the NCN billing platform.
To protect the confidentiality of all information in the “services provided” section of your invoice, NCN does not have access to the data contained in that section.
What happens if a matched firm wants to hire me as a W-2 employee?
As discussed more fully in our terms of service, if a matched firm decides to hire you as a W-2 employee, the firm will pay NCN a success fee of 25% of your annual base salary.