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What’s Next for MFAN?

The Minnesota Freelance Attorney Network was founded at a St. Paul café in the spring of 2013 by five lawyers. Some of us were new lawyers, some quite seasoned. All of us were women. At the time, we were working as freelance attorneys—some exclusively, some in combination with growing sole practices, some in combination with growing families. We had a need that none of the organized bar groups had yet tried to meet. Getting together was a great way for us to compare notes, exchange information on best practices, support each other, and elevate our professional game. Back then, independent freelance lawyers were a new thing. Most of the bar hadn’t yet noticed the freelance revolution, and so we created MFAN as a means of educating the legal community about the benefits of, and the responsibilities that come with, working with independent freelance lawyers. We researched ethics, wrote articles and blog posts, and spoke to many different lawyer groups. We created this website at a time when much of the Minnesota bar had no idea what independent freelance lawyers did or how to find us when they needed us. Three years later, freelancing has gone from a quirky pastime to a widely accepted part of the legal gig economy. Hundreds of lawyers now proudly freelance. The Minnesota State Bar Association has established a “Find a Colleague” directory that helps lawyers find other lawyers who work on freelance projects. And the bar has learned who we are, what we do, and how we can help. MFAN is proud to have been part of that change. Our members have been invited to teach at Minnesota CLE’s Strategic Solutions for Solo & Small Firms Conference, the MSBA Practice Management & Marketing Section, the HCBA Newer Lawyers and Solo & Small Firms sections, the Dakota County Law Library, and MoreLaw Minneapolis. Along the...

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...

Introducing Emily Adams

I am thrilled to have the opportunity to post on MFAN’s blog! The attorneys at MFAN substantially impacted the way I thought about practicing law, and because of them, I am in the process of building a solo law firm—even though solo practice never crossed my mind in law school. Law school, although challenging, was a wonderfully exciting and stretching experience for me. I attended the University of Minnesota Law School, and I loved it. I ended up clerking after law school for the Minnesota Court of Appeals for a fantastic judge who mentored me and had very high standards. I learned immensely; words mattered and had to be chosen carefully; research must be accurate and recent. After my appellate clerkship, I clerked on the Federal District Court for the District of Minnesota for another very intelligent judge. I learned firsthand that quality lawyering mattered, especially with frantic district-court schedules. During the two years I spent clerking, I saw many law school colleagues progress in their careers; many of them moved to different firms or in-house right around the two-years-out mark. I was surprised with how many expressed frustration with their employment. Because I had two small children by the time I finished my clerkship, I was especially keen to the hours worked and the practicality of daycare schedules and sick leave. My husband was in the process of becoming an attorney, also, so I became aware of how two-attorney households managed everything. And I was a little discouraged. I had eight months between the time I finished my federal clerkship (and had my second baby) and the day I would be leaving Minnesota for Utah. My husband was finishing law school, and we decided to move to Utah to be closer to family. Given the short time period I would be in Minnesota and the fact that I...

Introducing Esmond Kim

In September 2014, after seven years of practice, I started my own law firm, E.Y.K. LAW, L.L.C., where I practice consumer bankruptcy (Chapter 7 and Chapter 13), probate, and estate planning.  I could not be more excited to work for myself because I want to do outstanding legal work for my clients.  I am also interested in working as a freelance attorney, because I want to help other busy attorneys achieve high standards for their legal work and for their practices. In 2007, I graduated from Suffolk University Law School in Boston, Massachusetts.  Boston was a great city to live in for law school, but my family was living in the Twin Cities in 2007, so I moved to St. Paul.  I passed the 2007 July bar, and I was thrilled to become a licensed Minnesota attorney. For my first year of practice I worked as a contract attorney with the General Litigation group at Faegre and Benson, assisting associates and partners on litigation projects for large toxic tort and environmental cases.  I managed electronically stored information, drafted discovery, helped prepare witnesses for depositions, and performed legal research.  When my contract position ended, I took a position as a staff attorney at Thomson Reuters (formerly West Publishing) that allowed me to further develop my research skills. I had always wanted to work as a law firm associate, but those positions were hard to come by in the Great Recession.  So I took and passed the February 2011 Wisconsin bar, and was offered an associate position at a successful general practice and business law firm in western Wisconsin: Kostner, Koslo & Brovold, L.L.C.   Some days, I handled family law and divorces.  Other days I planned estates and guided clients through probate.  The firm also worked on business matters for a large, locally based furniture company and other local banks and businesses.  While...

Enjoy This Spring — With Freelance Help

We have all made it through another winter.  We have been feeling some balmy spring breezes. And we are all craving some time outside. So, what are good uses of our spring time? And what can you delegate to a freelancer to help make that happen?     Five spring time ideas: Go to the Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden in Minneapolis.  You will see spectacular spring wildflowers early in the season before the trees leaf out.  Like trillium, pasque flower, and jack-in-the-pulpit.  And then a changing array of other beautiful flowers and plants, as other things come into season.  You will want to go more than once. Go to the Como Park Conservatory for the spring flower show.  You will be able to see the spring favorites like tulips, hyacinth, and lilies before they are in bloom in our own yards.  Just the thing to keep us going on blustery April days.  Through April 26.  After the spring show, you can plan to see the summer flower show with hollyhock, zinnias, roses and geraniums. Buy tickets for a Saints game in the new stadium.  The opening game will be on May 10 and tickets are on sale now. There will be some blustery and rainy days.  Think about going to the Minnesota History Museum to see the “We are Hmong Minnesota” exhibit.  It’s been 40 years since the first Hmong people came here.  The exhibit shows their traditions, challenges and contributions. Survey your yard without snow in it.  Decide what to plant and where to plant it.  Haul out the grill and all your grilling equipment.  So you’re ready to plant.  And ready for some good grilling. Five things you can spin off to free up more time:  Some legal research.  A freelancer can do some research you may need for trial or appellate briefs.  Or just for assessing...

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