Tales from the Trenches: A Brief Interview with MFAN Co-founder Emerald Gratz

Bon VoyageOne of MFAN’s founders, Emerald Gratz, recently took a job with the Minnesota Office of Administrative Hearings. We will miss her, and wanted to share her parting thoughts on freelancing with our readers. The interview has been modified for clarity.


MFAN: Congratulations! We’re glad you’ve connected with a great gig, but are sad you’re leaving the freelance community. Any regrets about freelancing?

Emerald: Absolutely no regrets about freelancing! In building a freelance practice over three years, I learned several valuable lessons. First, I learned how to run my own business and everything that goes along with it: marketing, technology, necessary paperwork (billing, taxes, contracts) etc. Second, I practiced law in the private sector, something new to me. Third and most notably, I met and connected with (both professionally and personally) tons of new people in the legal community.

MFAN: What was your favorite part of freelancing?

Emerald: Connecting with new people. Being an enthusiastic extrovert, freelancing gave me a great reason to constantly pour energy into meeting and building relationships with new people in the legal community, both attorneys who might need freelance help as well as attorneys who could spread the good word about freelancing itself. Prior to freelancing, my network consisted primarily of public sector and government attorneys I knew because of my work at the AG’s Office and federal court. But freelancing allowed me to more than double my network and fill it with private sector connections.

MFAN: Okay, what was your least favorite part?

Emerald: Running my own business was challenging, especially the marketing part.

MFAN: What surprised you the most about freelancing?

Emerald: Over the course of three years, I never ceased being amazed by the variety of freelancing opportunities out there. It just took time, effort, and a calculated plan of attack!

MFAN: How did freelancing affect your job search?

Emerald: Freelancing provided me with something interesting to talk about when interviewing for my new position. It did take some explaining at first, but ultimately potential employers were impressed by my freelance work.

MFAN: What advice would you give to attorneys considering whether to start (or add) a freelance practice?

Emerald: Like anything else in the legal profession and life generally, building a successful freelance practice takes motivation, energy, time, and patience. But I believe the freelance legal community will continue to grow due to changes in the marketplace and demands for flexible work schedules.

Thank you Emerald for all your contributions to MFAN—we wish you all the best!

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…

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One Responseto “Tales from the Trenches: A Brief Interview with MFAN Co-founder Emerald Gratz”

  1. Emerald Gratz says:

    Thank you for everything!

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