How to Determine When You Should Hire a Remote Contract Attorney

by Brandon
Sep 15, 2021
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Regardless of how much time you invest in your firm, there are only so many hours in a week. At some point, you could greatly benefit from having an extra set of hands to help accomplish tasks like routine court appearances, freeing yourself up to focus on the things that are most important to your firm.

The Benefits of Using a Freelance Lawyer Vendor Platform

For many law firms, it’s simply not feasible to hire a full-time staff attorney to help up pick up the slack. However, utilizing the skills of a remote contract attorney for appearance counsel when needed can provide numerous benefits to your legal practice. However, hiring just any freelance attorney is not advisable or even as simple as it may first sound. A contract attorney needs to be properly vetted and managed.

Using an appearance counsel vendor platform that pre-qualifies freelance appearance attorneys eliminates the time you’d normally spend checking qualifications.

Let’s take a look at the benefits you’ll get from hiring through a high-quality vendor platform.

Having a resource with specialized knowledge

Let’s say litigation was never your cup of tea. Instead, you’ve opted to devote your legal skill and knowledge to the area of estate planning. However, you suddenly find yourself embroiled in a case involving debt collection. Sure, you could spend your time doing whatever research is necessary to defend your client in court, or you could hire a freelance lawyer through a vendor platform that regularly handles court appearances to effectively defend your client. The assistance of having someone with specialized knowledge on your side can be invaluable.

You can better utilize your time

Document review, perfunctory court appearances, research, and the other minutiae of practicing law can become tedious. A qualified remote contract attorney can help tackle the details, providing you with the valuable time you need to work on the things that are big revenue drivers for your firm. The money you spend hiring an appearance attorney could effectively end up bringing more income into your legal practice.

You can better adjust to a changing workplace model

The COVID-19 pandemic upended traditional workplace models, and the legal industry was no exception. Virtual court appearances soon became the norm, with very public, embarrassing results for some attorneys who may have been less technologically inclined. You could utilize the services of a remote contract attorney who is more comfortable with the technological landscape, helping to ensure that your 15 minutes aren’t wasted on viral infamy like the infamous “I’m not a cat attorney.”

You can help fill employment gaps

The legal market was quick to respond to the economic impact of the pandemic the same way it would to any other economic shock. That is, revoking job offers and engaging in layoffs. Although the ground appears to be stabilizing, attorneys who found themselves suddenly without jobs and those who were never allowed to begin the next stage of their career may be reluctant to commit to a full-time job with a single law firm. This can leave many firms feeling stretched thin as they work to address these shortcomings with a limited talent pool. Temporarily bringing on an appearance attorney from a vendor platform can help your firm fill these gaps until the employment market takes on a more predictable appearance.

Five Signs It’s Time to Hire a Freelance Lawyer

The benefits of hiring a freelance attorney are clear, but when does it make the most sense to utilize their services? You could simply bring on a lawyer when you’re facing a particularly loathsome task, but it is probably better to take a more holistic, strategic approach when working with a remote contract attorney. It would be wise to consider working with an appearance attorney vendor platform if:

1. You find yourself referring clients elsewhere: Small and mid-sized firms offer a level of client service that is often unmatched by some of the larger players in town. That is why it can feel particularly frustrating to refer a valued client elsewhere if they require services that your firm doesn’t provide. Bringing on a contract attorney through a vendor like Docketly can help keep your services in-house, enabling you to continue to grow and develop the attorney-client relationship, without the headaches normally involved in hiring freelance attorneys. In addition, an appearance counsel vendor like Docketly can help you expand your business geographically to reach remote areas in your state—or even out of state. (For out-of-state work, you need only one or two attorneys of record who are licensed in the state you are interested in so that the appearance attorneys can take care of the rest.) In other words, taking this step is the key to expansion because no area is out of reach.

2. Your opponent has more resources than you: Facing an army of lawyers from a large firm can be intimidating to even the most seasoned legal practitioner. Outside of the courtroom context, you could find yourself facing a legal transaction that may be too complex for your limited resources. Hiring a freelance attorney or two to help assist with the bigger cases can help level the playing field and further burnish your firm’s reputation.

3. You are trying to grow your practice: If you are just starting your legal practice, you may find work coming in intermittently until the floodgates suddenly burst open. If you’ve had some time to build your practice, you may find yourself inundated with more work than you can reasonably handle. Using contract attorneys can help you deal with the overflow, leaving you more time to network and market your law firm, helping you to better grow your legal practice.

4. You are looking to offer an alternative fee structure: Billable hours can be a boon to lawyers and a bane to their clients. Even if your firm offers flat fees for certain services, bringing on a contract lawyer can provide even more flexibility when it comes to fee structures. You could charge your client at an associate’s rate, a flat rate, or any rate at all that you agree upon. Just be sure to comply with the American Bar Association’s guidance on outsourcing legal work.

5. You wish to vet potential staff: Many firms operate on thin margins. Hiring a full-time attorney only to discover that they are in over their heads can be devastating to a law firm. If you are thinking about adding staff, using a vendor like Docketly that pre-qualifies their contract attorneys can provide you with assurance that your hires will have the right skills and temperament for the job. If things don’t work out, you only lose the modest cost of hiring a remote appearance attorney.

We Make It Easy to Hire Remote Contract Attorneys

At Docketly, we match qualified attorneys with law firms who need extra assistance, making it simple for you to hire a freelance lawyer. We have more than 10,000 appearance counsel attorneys in our nationwide network, a number that grows every day.

Using our appearance counsel vendor platform, you can rest assured that Docketly has pre-qualified all freelance appearance attorneys to meet the highest standards. Additionally, we’ll take care of managing their work and keeping you up to date on the status of your case in real-time.

Our platform helps to keep overhead costs low while ensuring fast, reliable communication along with evolving compliance innovations. No matter what your legal needs may be, we invite you to schedule a demo today to find out more about how we can help benefit your legal practice.

Appearance Attorneys: Everything You Need to Know

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