For the Love of Emergency

What I do as a Freelance Attorney and Why As a freelancer, my job is to put out fires. No, I don’t run into burning buildings and save lives; but I do step into a crisis and resolve it, quickly. Most of my projects arise from complex cases at a watershed: probable cause challenges in criminal cases, summary judgment motions in civil, appeals in both. The two most common reasons why other attorneys bring me in are because 1) the case requires exhaustive research and thorough briefing, or 2) the deadline is imminent. Or sometimes both, as was the case with one of my very first freelance projects: writing a respondent’s brief on appeal. The other side had raised a baker’s dozen of issues, challenging everything from the standard of proof the trial court imposed, to the constitutionality of the statute itself. The no-further-extensions deadline was 10 days away when the respondent’s attorney realized she couldn’t get the brief done in time. She called me. I reviewed the record, researched the issues, and wrote the brief. The attorney met her deadline. When the court’s opinion came out—in our favor—it quoted passages from my brief verbatim. Occasionally, I get asked to research novel or unsettled areas of law in less urgent matters: whether an insurance company can bring a malpractice claim against an attorney it provided its insured, despite the lack of a direct attorney-client relationship; whether Facebook can be required to remove an offending page; whether criminal statutes prohibiting gambling—penned decades before the Internet was a gleam in DARPA’s budget—also encompass online poker. In one case, I was brought in to force a resolution in a shareholder derivative suit that had been languidly unfurling for three years. I targeted procedural deficiencies; a week after I filed the motions, the case settled. I admit, I am an adrenaline junkie and...

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