Freelance Forms on Practicelaw

This spring, resolve to make more efficient use of your time: Download freelance attorney forms from practicelaw. Spring is a time of transition and change. We make plans to get outdoors, get away, play (or watch, or coach) sports, and spend time with family. It’s also a great time to tweak your practice and make it more efficient, especially if you experience a summer slowdown, so that you can spend more time on the things you love. One option to try? Prepare for your next workload crunch by assembling forms that will help you be ready to outsource projects when the time is right. The Minnesota Freelance Attorney Network has created several documents to get you ready, now available online at the MSBA’s website. Many of us are familiar with bookkeepers, administrative staff and paralegals who operate on a freelance basis, but you may be surprised to learn how many Minnesota attorneys work as independent freelancers. We’re part of the move toward alternative models of practice. Freelancers work on projects for other lawyers; we’re like associates, but for the short term. We’re local, entrepreneurial, and usually experienced. We’re admitted to the same bar and are members of the same professional groups and organizations. Some of us (like me) have our own sole practices; others choose to focus exclusively on working for other lawyers. All of us aim to help you meet deadlines, serve your clients, and get your work done. If you’ve never worked with a freelance attorney before, MFAN is here to help. Our website offers some guidance on getting started, and the forms on practicelaw.org will give you more detail on three important aspects of working with a freelance lawyer: identifying projects, telling your client, and making sure you have a clear working agreement. The first step is identifying projects. The checklist, Working With a Freelance Attorney,...

The MFAN e-newsletter – now available quarterly in your inbox!

To celebrate our third year supporting and raising awareness of independent freelance attorneys, the Minnesota Freelance Attorney Network has begun a quarterly e-newsletter.  Our goals remain the same:  to let you know who we are and what we do,  to explain how we fit into the “new normal” for legal services, and to make it easy for those who would like to join us or work with us to learn what they need to know to take the next step. We’ll deliver the same great content you’ve come to love in our blog, plus an expanded range of articles on substantive legal developments and practice management tips from the growing community of Minnesota’s independent freelance attorneys.  In your inbox, four times a year.  It doesn’t get more convenient than this, folks. Want to know more?  Visit our website and sign up for our email list – first issue coming to your inbox in January 2016.  Make this the year you resolve to find more time for yourself in your practice by connecting with fellow professionals who can help you with your workload. May your 2016 be busy and prosperous.  Thank you for your support and happy new year! Karin has been a litigator at Debevoise & Plimpton; a law clerk to three Minnesota federal judges; a legal writing teacher at NYU Law, William Mitchell College of Law, and the University of Minnesota Law School; and a sole practitioner and freelancer in Minnesota… MFAN Bio | Email | Web | LinkedIn | Google Plus | MFAN...

Delegating on a Deadline: Opposing Motions to Dismiss

One of my last posts considered a defendant making a motion to dismiss; now let’s consider the plaintiff who is facing one. Even after the U.S. Supreme Court’s decisions in Bell Atlantic v. Twombly and Ashcroft v. Iqbal, the Rule 8 pleading standard favors plaintiffs. There are no “magic words” for pleading a claim. What’s required now is more facts, and the best time to get them is in pre-suit investigation. Gather your client’s records and obtain authorization to get third parties’ records. Request publicly-available information. Visit everyone’s websites. If a physical location or physical evidence is important, find it and learn about it. Locate surveillance tapes and mobile-phone videos. If there are gaps in your client’s knowledge, speak to others. Compile your findings into a well-organized file that will help you build a chronological narrative of the facts. As you draft the complaint, keep Rule 12(b)(6) in mind. The court will take your allegations as true, so include facts establishing each element of every claim. Research recent cases that have survived 12(b)(6) motions, or where dismissals have been reversed on appeal, and focus on cases with comparable facts and legal theories. Wherever courts find similar allegations state a claim (or don’t), compare those allegations to yours. Where a court describes allegations as “conclusory,” be sure you don’t rely exclusively on similar allegations. Keep your research in a file—it will save time if a motion is made. When the motion is made, look to the federal court’s local rules and preferences for your time to respond (Local Rule 7.1 in the District of Minnesota). Time will be short. Your investigation and research files will help you respond quickly, whether you’re writing the brief yourself or delegating it to an associate or freelance attorney. Karin has been a litigator at Debevoise & Plimpton; a law clerk to three Minnesota federal...

Freelance Attorneys Learn to Blog Better with Cari Twitchell

Do you like our blog?  Well, it’s about to get even better—thanks to Cari Twitchell, a writer, editor and law-trained content-marketing strategist. Cari joined us for lunch to share her tips and tricks, based on years of writing content.  Her presentation covered blogging basics:  getting started, choosing a strategy, finding topics that will get noticed, making use of keywords, imagery, and mobile-responsive design, and connecting with social media.  If you blog, or are thinking about it, I heartily recommend connecting with Cari and learning more about her technique. A few highlights, useful to both freelance lawyers and the lawyers who hire them: Posts should be as long as needed to make the point (at least 250-300 words), but not longer—a blog reader’s attention span maxes out at about 7 minutes (about 1600 words). Choose topics wisely.  Find out what your audience is searching for, especially the words they use to find it (the magic “keywords”)—then sprinkle those words throughout your post so search engines will recognize your post may have the answer. Include hyperlinks (Cari recommends 2 to 4 links per post, starting in the first paragraph) and mobile-responsive contact information (for example, a bio with a phone number that allows a viewer to place a call by simply touching the screen). Be easy on the reader’s eyes.  Bullet points, numbered lists, and white space are all good.  Bold and italics don’t show up well on the screen.  Visual images are always a plus, but of course, use only with permission and attribution. Share posts on social media as long as they’re relevant.  We still get asked about some of our earliest posts—what is a freelance attorney , how we get paid, and what the ethics rules say about hiring us.  If people still want to know, it’s okay to share. I’ve been blogging for more than a year,...

Book Review: The Freelancer’s Bible

When I first started my freelance law practice, a friend told me about the Freelancers Union. Founded by Sara Horowitz (now a MacArthur Fellow), the nonprofit Freelancers Union provides information, contract forms, and an online community for freelancers throughout the United States. They even provided health insurance to freelancers in New York before the Affordable Care Act, and now are making insurance available nationwide. Horowitz’s book, The Freelancer’s Bible, is meant to be the go-to resource for freelancers in any field, not just law. And it delivers. Seriously, folks, this is the best book on freelancing I’ve read, and if you’re going to do this kind of work, I heartily recommend it. Horowitz breaks the start-up process into seven steps—from understanding why you want to freelance, to targeting your market and setting rates. She discusses office options (from working at home to coworking to renting space); client relations (finding them, establishing a working relationship, setting boundaries, troubleshooting); networking (from events to social media to email marketing); and business decisions about finances, transportation, time management, insurance. Horowitz even offers diagnostic tools to help you optimize your freelance gigs (doing your preferred tasks at the time of day you’re most productive). The book is full of great tips, including building a “freelance portfolio”—that is, a stable of diverse clients necessary to ensure a productive and (relatively) even workflow over time—and also a “love bank” of relationships with other freelancers who can help you take on projects even when you’re busy. I have found both to be incredibly helpful. Three years in to my freelance practice, I find Horowitz anticipates the issues I’m facing, and has great answers I can use right away. So whether you’re new to the game or experienced, consider adding The Freelancer’s Bible to your reading list. At a sturdy 486 pages (including index), it’s a comprehensive resource,...

« Older Entries

Pin It on Pinterest