MFAN Members Lead Freelance Work Discussion at MWL Professional Parents Meeting

On September 19, 2013, MFAN members Karin Ciano and Emerald Gratz led a freelance work discussion at the Minnesota Women Lawyers (MWL) Professional Parents affinity group meeting. The hour-long meeting was attended both in-person and via telephone conference by a dozen MWL members. Emerald and Karin shared their personal background stories, describing the paths that led them to become freelance attorneys. In roundtable discussion style, Professional Parents group members asked questions about freelance work, including how to establish and operate a freelance practice in the current Twin Cities legal market. Overall, the meeting was a great success and everyone enjoyed a lively, honest, and open conversation about how to practice law while maintaining a good work-life balance. MFAN thanks MWL Professional Parents group co-chairs Alona Rindal and Melissa Manderschied for the invitation and great conversation! Effective September 10, 2014, Emerald has accepted a position with the Minnesota Office of Administrative Hearings and is no longer working as a freelance attorney. You can reach her at emerald_gratz@hotmail.com. MFAN Bio | Email | LinkedIn | Google Plus | MFAN...

Improving Your Bottom Line: Why Every Attorney Needs a Freelancer

If you’re a practicing attorney visiting this site, you may already realize that hiring an associate is not your only option for handling heavy workload. You may also know about the expenses you avoid by using a freelancer instead of hiring an employee. But are there other ways that a freelancer can actually increase your profitability? In short, yes. Having someone else perform work for your clients allows you to bill for their time, as well as your own. In fact, you may even mark up time spent by a freelancer in the bill to your client, a topic that will be explained soon in conjunction with our ethics series. But the potential to improve your business by having a go-to freelancer extends beyond simply increasing the fees that you bill. What could you be doing with your time if you made regular use of a freelance attorney for the tasks that you would love to delegate, but that don’t warrant hiring an employee? With the flexibility that a freelance attorney can offer to your practice, you will have the time to work on your business, rather than in your business. You can use your time to develop new marketing strategies, new areas of practice, or more efficient ways of performing work for your clients. According to the E-Myth school of thought, this strategic work is the way to build a business that meets your needs, without draining you in the process. The bottom line? Grow your practice by expanding your capacity, even if you can’t hire an employee. Get to know a freelancer. Spend your extra hours designing a business that runs smoothly and efficiently, even without you. Then, take a day off, just because you can. Effective June 1st 2016, Lynn Walters is no longer accepting assignments as a freelance attorney. Lynn’s new company, Blackstock Walters, LLC,...

Ethics Series Part 2: Informing Clients When Hiring Freelance Attorneys

As part of MFAN’s continuing discussion on potential ethical issues involved in the hiring of freelance attorneys, we next turn to the question of when must a law firm inform the client that a freelance attorney is assisting on its legal matters. At first glance, this seems like an easy question. After all, law firms routinely assign work to multiple associates within their firms and do not notify clients of these assignments in advance. But disclosing confidential information to outside counsel implicates an issue of confidentiality, which may require consent of the client. Attorneys are required to keep their clients informed of how their cases are being managed. Specifically, Rule 1.4(a)(2) of the Minnesota Rules of Professional Conduct (MRPC) requires that “a lawyer shall reasonably consult with the client about the means by which the client’s objectives are to be accomplished.” But according to Eric Cooperstein, keeping the client informed about the hiring of a freelance attorney “is more about confidentiality than it is about the more general guidelines of Rule 1.4.” Mr. Cooperstein is a former Senior Assistant Director of the Minnesota Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility, whose current law practice is devoted to advising attorneys on ethical issues. “This is really an issue of confidentiality,” stated Cooperstein in a recent interview about potential ethical issues implicated in the hiring of freelance attorneys. Attorneys are permitted to share confidential information with others if the client “gives informed consent.” MRPC 1.6(b)(1). In addition, a lawyer is allowed to disclose confidential information if the lawyer “reasonably believes the disclosure is impliedly authorized in order to carry out the representation.” MRPC 1.6(b)(3). In our interview with the ethics maven himself, Mr. Cooperstein stated that the law is not clear whether hiring a freelance attorney is more like sharing information with an associate within the firm or whether it is more like...

Pin It on Pinterest