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 way, we’ve met and mentored many new lawyers and lawyers in transition. And we’ve created a blog with a heck of a lot of good information on freelancing (if we do say so ourselves).

Some of us are still building the freelance practices we started, completing top-shelf legal projects at reasonable prices for discerning lawyers and their clients. Outstanding freelance lawyers are one reason Minnesota is such a great community for solo and small firm practitioners: it is easier than ever to find affordable, professional legal help when you need it, and you don’t have to look further than our own community.

And some of us have moved on. Our members have moved from intermittent gigs to busy practices on their own, in-house, in small law firms or in government offices. Some have moved from Minnesota, bringing their talents to new jurisdictions. Some of us are now running entrepreneurial small businesses that deliver legal services. The bottom line for you, the reader, is that we’re all so busy running our own practices and publishing in other places that none of us have the time we once had to meet regularly or update this website. That’s not a bad thing. But what’s next for MFAN?

Freelance lawyering is here to stay, and so is the MFAN website. Enjoy its content and use it to learn about how to work with a freelance attorney (or become one). Instead of looking for updates here, look for posts by our freelance attorneys on other blogs and for articles in publications. Join our email list, and occasionally you may hear about a get-together. And if you’d like to learn more about freelance lawyering in Minnesota, please feel free to contact one of our founding members, Karin Ciano at karin@karincianolaw.com.

Thank you for your support of MFAN and for your continued support of freelance attorneys in Minnesota!

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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