Written by Desiree Nordstrom.
Last week I sat in a meeting with a room full of lawyers. The attorney next to me was exhausted. She vented that the past few days she had been working feverishly on an Opposition to a Motion for Summary Judgment. She continued that she just doesn’t have the man power at her firm to keep herself from having to work late into the night on this project; but in the same breath, she mentioned the firm can’t afford to hire another associate. Queue the introduction of Overflow Legal Network.
Overflow Legal Network is a network of qualified freelance attorneys who are ready to complete work for law firms. Our contracts attorneys are available on short notice and can produce work on tight turnaround schedules. OLN attorneys are vetted and experienced. With over sixty practice areas represented, it is likely we have someone who can assist any firm or solo practitioner during busy times.
Don’t Lose Sleep
There are many reasons that law firms can benefit from hiring a freelance attorney. One being sleep! If you are a partner or law firm owner and you are not getting an adequate night’s sleep, then it is time to rethink your approach to completing your case load demands. Contract attorneys can be used for general overflow of work, replace a worker who is on leave or vacation, or add specific expertise when the expertise is not necessary on a regular basis.
Lower Hourly Rates
It is no secret that contract attorneys charge a lower hourly rate than attorneys in a firm. The rates of contract attorneys are approximately one-third the rate of comparable attorneys in law firms making it less expensive for a firm to contract work out than to hire an additional employee, especially since the employee will have to be paid during times when he is not fully utilized to his potential. Much of the project driven nature of legal work can lend itself to the use of contract attorneys, saving firms valuable money in the long run.
No Costs of Benefits
Fluctuating volumes of client work can erode a firm’s profitability through the payment of salary and benefits to full-time employees. When firms contract the overflow work out, they save the expense of providing a new hire with benefits including health care insurance, 401(k) benefits, social security payments, Medicare tax payments and state unemployment insurance payments. Not to mention vacation days that often are paid by the law firm. These costs for employees often exceeding 40 percent of his or her salary. Hiring a contract attorney saves law firms expensive benefits costs.
Add a Surcharge to the Rate
On top of the fact that contract attorneys charge less on an hourly basis, law firms are ethically allowed to add a surcharge to the hourly rate of a contract attorney as long as the overall rate charged to the client is reasonable. Read an OLN blog post on that topic here.
Reduce Overhead Costs
Further, overhead costs are reduced when hiring a contract attorney. They do not need to be supplied with a computer and a roof over their head. Freelancers complete work remotely from their own location.
Build Long Term Relationships
We have law firms that build relationships with specific freelancers and keep coming back for additional projects. Unlike temp agencies with high turnover, our attorneys freelance for a purpose.
Float the Financial Burden
Often, law firms must front the financial burden on projects with significant labor requirements. Using a freelance attorney through OLN allows firms to float the cost of labor, because the billing cycle is delayed. This not only allows the law firm extra time to collect fees from clients, but also it helps the firm’s cash flow.
An Advantage for Solo and Small Firms
For small firms or a solo practitioners, developing a relationship with a freelance attorney is beneficial when cases come along in which knowledge of the practice area is limited. Many freelancers have expert knowledge in specific practice areas. Of course, attorneys are capable of doing their own research into an unfamiliar area of practice, but it makes sense to hire a contract attorney whose area of expertise will assist them. Tapping into that knowledge can give a small firm or solo an advantage.
Broaden Your Case Load Capability
Hiring a contract attorney is also very beneficial for attorneys found in small towns where they often must have a broad knowledge of many practice areas. They take the business that walks in the door. It is invaluable for a freelance attorney to be used in this scenario. Rather than the small town attorney taking time to research to get up to speed in the practice area, he can hire a contract attorney at a much lower rate to complete the work.
Law firms that use contract attorneys have successfully navigated the economic turbulence allowing them to increase their bottom line. In the end, using a contract attorney will build a firms business, save clients’ money, finish work ahead of schedule and lessen stress on all involved, which in turn, builds the firm’s reputation and clientele.
Contact Overflow Legal Network now to hire a contract attorney perfect for your needs.