Four Considerations When Hiring a Court Appearance Attorney

by Jana
Nov 09, 2021

It was inevitable that the efficiencies of the “gig economy” model would eventually be applied to the legal industry. It just makes sense.

Although the legal industry can be slow to change, many progressive firms have begun utilizing appearance attorney vendors because it saves a significant amount of time. In turn, this can enable firms to expand faster than if they tried to do everything themselves. These appearance attorney platforms provide on-demand services (much like Uber can deliver rides on an on-call basis) for all kinds of legal services, particularly hiring court appearance attorneys.

Even if you appreciate the efficiency gains of outsourcing through a hiring platform in theory, it can be difficult to take that leap. Keep the following considerations in mind if you are on the fence about using an appearance counsel vendor platform or hiring freelance lawyers on your own:

1. The time needed to identify and recruit prospects

Maybe you know a colleague or have a friend from law school who is looking for a little extra work. You know them well enough to trust them and are willing to put your faith in them to do a good job. However, these situations are typically few and far between, and you probably don’t want to send a potential client to a competitor who has the resources to better handle their legal matter. That means it will fall on you to identify and recruit appearance counsel and contract attorneys. This process could eat up valuable time, effectively eliminating any benefit you are looking to gain through outsourcing some of your firm’s legal work.

2. Vetting an attorney’s experience and qualifications

Although the American Bar Association’s Model Rules of Professional Conduct state that a lawyer doesn’t necessarily need to have special training or prior experience to provide legal counsel in a certain area of the law, it’s clearly better if the court appearance attorney you’re hiring has familiarity with the field involved. You probably wouldn’t want an attorney who practices only family law making a court appearance on behalf of a debt collection hearing. Niche areas of legal representation, such as those involving the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), require special expertise, which a vendor platform can locate expediently.

Ensuring proper licensing, experience, and competency to handle a sensitive legal matter shouldn’t have to be an exercise in frustration. Using a high-quality attorney vendor platform, you can eliminate any potential friction that could cancel out the value of your time savings.

3. Ensuring your attorney meets all necessary compliance requirements

Perhaps you need a freelance attorney to serve as little more than an overqualified paralegal. However, if you are going beyond document review and need a lawyer to make a court appearance or do some fairly heavy lifting, you will want to ensure that they meet all the compliance requirements to do their job. Doing so could involve a significant amount of time on your part; however, Docketly takes care of that obligation. In fact, our attorneys are experts in their local courts’ protocol and procedure.
Additionally, Docketly’s performance team monitors attorney performance on on-going basis. We also tier attorneys according to their experience, which means that only attorneys with extensive experience will handle your most complicated hearings.

4. Determining an attorney’s proximity and familiarity with a jurisdiction

One of the most popular functions of freelance attorney vendor platforms is the ability to hire others to make court appearances on your firm’s behalf. Few things are more frustrating than sending your attorneys a significant distance to an unfamiliar jurisdiction to make a five-minute appearance. That frustration is compounded when your firm’s attorney has spent their travel time only to show up and find an appearance has been canceled.

The ability to rely on someone who is local can be a great benefit to a growing law firm. However, just because a freelance attorney states that they are willing to go the distance or claims that they are familiar with the jurisdiction in question does not necessarily make it so.

Again, it will fall on you and the people in your firm to do the necessary legwork to determine whether a freelance attorney is all that they claim to be, eliminating the time that you were hoping to save. And if you need appearance counsel three states away, this becomes even more difficult. A nationwide court appearance attorney platform simply has more reach, effectively opening up legal work to you that you may not have previously considered attainable.

These considerations only scratch the surface of what it means to rely on the services of a contract attorney. There is still additional work you may wish to undertake to help ensure the success of your freelance lawyer. The last thing you want is for process management to eat up just as much, if not more, of your time than it would have if you had just handled the legal proceeding or court appearance in-house. When you take everything into account, it may seem at first like there is no real upside to outsourcing the work of your firm on your own.

The good news is that there are reliable platforms out there that can address all the above considerations and more, enabling you to actually save time while scaling up your firm’s legal practice. Although the past few years have made the process of hiring a contract attorney easier than ever, the procedure for doing so is more involved than bringing up a rideshare app and choosing the option closest to your location. Ask yourself: Is the platform you’re using a reputable one? How much work will be required on your end to ensure everything is in order?

Docketly Provides Automated Management of Court Appearance Attorneys

Docketly is a cutting-edge platform that helps growing law firms connect with qualified freelance attorneys. We are appearance attorney specialists, with more than 10,000 attorneys in our nationwide network, a number that continues to grow by the day. Not only do we handle the hiring process for you, but we manage the entire case, from start to finish, offering detailed, timely reporting in a standardized format.

By working with Docketly, you won’t have to worry about vetting potential attorneys or deciding whether they have the proper credentials and qualifications to meet your needs effectively. We handle all those tasks on behalf of your firm, enabling you to do what you do best in the most efficient manner possible. We invite you to schedule a demo to learn more about our services and how our appearance attorney specialists can help best meet the needs of your law firm.

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