Using a Freelance Attorney to Cover Parental Leave

WorkLifeBalancePlanning for the addition of a baby or small child to a household is time filled with both joy and anxiety. The question of how to maintain and temporarily transition work or professional obligations weighs heavily on the mind of many people, especially attorneys. Attorneys at big firms, small firms, solo practices, and in-house legal departments all face the same struggle of finding coverage for their cases, transactions, and projects while they are out on parental leave. Sometimes colleagues can temporarily shoulder the burden of overseeing and working on extra cases. But what if that is not an option? Another solution is to contract with a freelance attorney to cover parental leave.

Whether an attorney going out on parental leave needs litigation projects completed, transactional work done, court appearances covered, or just another attorney to monitor mail and handle any emergencies, there is a freelance attorney out there who can help. Most freelance attorneys focus on a niche practice area and offer their expertise to other attorneys needing help with a related case, transaction, or project, on a short-term or long-term basis. An attorney seeking help to cover a parental leave period can look for a freelance attorney with experience in his or her practice area. Once a freelance attorney is found, a written freelance work agreement can be put into place to cover all necessary parameters of the working relationship. Many options for billing arrangements exist, including an hourly rate where the freelance attorney is only paid if help is needed. And the peace of mind that comes with knowing that an experienced freelance attorney is willing to step in and cover tasks is free!

Although it may seem daunting, finding assistance for the duration of the parental leave is more easily attained than some attorneys think. Being proactive and organized can lead to a great working relationship with an experienced freelance attorney. The attorney going out on parental leave can then focus on family time at home while maintaining their sanity and professional career.

Effective September 10, 2014, Emerald has accepted a position with the Minnesota Office of Administrative Hearings and is no longer working as a freelance attorney. You can reach her at

MFAN Bio | Email | LinkedIn | Google Plus | MFAN Posts


One Responseto “Using a Freelance Attorney to Cover Parental Leave”

  1. Karin Ciano says:

    Thanks Emerald! Parental leave is too often treated as a lose-lose-lose situation: the new parent is stressed, the co-workers are resentful, and as a result employers wrongly become convinced that work-life balance isn’t possible. That’s b.s. Freelancers may be overlooked as an option because attorneys think it’ll take too long to find someone they can trust, who can come up to speed on the work. But dealing directly with experienced freelance attorneys is much faster than many people think – we’re responsive, accountable, and flexible. You’re dealing directly with the person who will be doing the work, not someone in the middle of the chain.
    Legal employers take note: for a relatively modest sum, you can keep all of your employees happy by hiring a freelance attorney. This goes double if you’re a small office and/or have two or more people taking leave at the same time.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This