For the Love of Emergency

NadiaWoodWhat 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 being a freelancer is my fix: I love the intensity the short deadlines require, I thrive when challenged to quickly consume and digest a lot of information, I write best under pressure. I also love what I do because of the constant intellectual challenge of learning something new. I never know what tomorrow will bring. Perhaps a phone call from an attorney like you, looking for a little extra help in a crisis.

Effective July 27, 2015, Nadia Wood has accepted a position as a Research and Writing Attorney with the Capital Habeas Unit of the Federal Public Defender’s Office for the Southern District of Ohio.

One Responseto “For the Love of Emergency”

  1. Mary Rumsey says:

    Nadia is an outstanding legal thinker, researcher, and writer! We are lucky to have her teaching legal writing at the University of Minnesota.


  1. A Resource for Lawyers in Crisis | - [...] seeking help. LCL is part of the solution. And because freelance attorneys often get a call in moment of…

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