Why Law Firms Need Freelance Attorneys

In a recent post, the Wall Street Journal Law Blog discussed findings from the 2014 Law Firms in Transition survey, an annual report compiled by a national legal consulting firm. Highlighting the average $160,000 starting salary for new associates at large law firms, the WSJ Law Blog poked fun at law firm leaders for their delayed response to a changing market where clients and competition are demanding more cost-effective legal representation. Despite the WSJ Law Blog’s conclusion that new associates at large law firms are “too expensive and often misaligned with client value perceptions,” the blog post poses an important question for all law firms, large and small: what is the best way to deliver cost effective yet high quality legal services in a changing and competitive marketplace? One of the primary pieces of advice proffered by the 2014 survey suggests that law firms of every size need to “align staffing with profitability.” Specifically, the survey admonishes law firms to stop assuming that a new associate is needed whenever work volume is pressing, and instead consider conserving expenses by using “different kinds of lawyers.” And what type of “different” lawyer might fit the bill? Answer, a freelance attorney. Freelance attorneys are independent contractors who can be hired by law firms on a contract project basis to work on a specific case, transaction, or project when extra but temporary help is needed. Experienced freelance attorneys require a minimal investment of time and training by the law firm, but produce high quality output and add value to the end result of any case or transaction. Plus, the cost of using a freelance attorney is economical because the freelance attorney will be the least expensive attorney billing on the file. The end result is an efficient win-win for both the law firm and the client that doesn’t adversely impact the quality of...

MFAN Hosts Conversation with Minnesota Lawyers Mutual

On May 14, 2014, representatives from Minnesota Lawyers Mutual accepted an invitation from MFAN to sit down and discuss the contours of malpractice insurance coverage for freelance attorneys. Members in attendance at the regular bi-monthly MFAN meeting had the unique opportunity to engage in a dialogue with Timothy Gephart and Jayne Harris of Minnesota Lawyers Mutual to ask questions, pose concerns, and solicit opinions regarding malpractice insurance coverage for legal work done on a freelance basis. Not only was the information received extremely helpful, but the lively conversation also expanded the working knowledge of Minnesota Lawyers Mutual regarding freelance work being done in the local legal market. MFAN thanks Minnesota Lawyers Mutual for taking the time to provide interesting information, listen to concerns, and support the future expansion of freelance law practices in Minnesota! 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...

MFAN Members Present CLE for MoreLaw Minneapolis

On May 7, 2014, MFAN members Karin Ciano, Emerald Gratz, and Lynn Walters presented a CLE for MoreLaw Minneapolis entitled “Working Productively (and Ethically) with Freelance Attorneys.” The lunch hour CLE addressed how freelance attorneys can help solo and small firm attorneys who need help managing their workloads but are not ready or interested in hiring permanent help. Karin, Emerald, and Lynn presented information on what type of work can be done by a freelance attorney, when to call for help from a freelance attorney, and how to set up a working relationship with a freelance attorney. Overall, the CLE was a success and attendees were engaged by an informative and interesting dialogue. MFAN thanks Kimberly Hanlon and MoreLaw Minneapolis 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...

MFAN Member Participates on Panel at MWL Solo/Small Firm Group Meeting

On May 2, 2014, MFAN member Emerald Gratz participated as part of a panel presentation on practice management for the Minnesota Women Lawyers Solo/Small Firm affinity group monthly meeting. Other panelists included a virtual assistant, a representative from MoreLaw Minneapolis, two career service representatives from local law schools to discuss hiring law clerks, and two MWL Solo/Small Firm affinity group members. The panel was organized to provide information on assistance options for MWL members who are solo practitioners or small firm attorneys. As a panel member, Emerald provided basic information on the work of freelance attorneys, and answered several questions about freelance work. The 90-minute panel presentation was well-received by members of the MWL Solo/Small Firm affinity group, including a wide variety of questions to panelists as well as a willingness to share personal experiences. MFAN thanks MWL Solo/Small Firm affinity group leader Mary Szondy for the invitation to join the panel! 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...

MFAN Members Present CLE for HCBA New Lawyers Section

On March 28, 2014, MFAN members Emerald Gratz and Karin Ciano presented a CLE for the Hennepin County Bar Association New Lawyers Section entitled “Starting and Building a Freelance Practice.” The hour-long CLE presentation was attended by more than 40 HCBA members. Emerald and Karin shared information and examples from their freelance practices, covering the topics of written agreements, malpractice insurance, technology, marketing, and financial perspective. Overall, the CLE was a great success and attendees were engaged by a lively and informative discussion. MFAN thanks the co-chairs of the HCBA New Lawyers Section, Karl Johnson and Stuart Nostdahl, for the invitation and great discussion! 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...

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