The idea of law firms handing off certain tasks to freelance lawyers is nothing new. After all, a guide to contract lawyering was published back in 1995. What is new is the rise of the gig economy and easy access to websites where professional court appearance attorneys can advertise their services. So, is working with a contract attorney the right move for your firm? The answer depends on what it is your firm is looking for and whether working with an appearance attorney will provide your firm and your staff with distinct advantages. There can be some disadvantages to working with a freelance lawyer as well. That is why it’s important to take a look at both the pros and cons of working with a contract attorney.
Pros of Hiring a Professional Court Appearance Attorney
Pro: Qualified Legal Professionals for an Affordable Price
An appearance attorney must, at a minimum, be licensed to practice law in their jurisdiction. You may come across an attorney who has decades of experience but is semi-retired and is just looking to earn a little bit of income on the side. You can often hire a freelance lawyer for much less than what you pay the in-house attorneys at your firm. Of course, you should be wary of attorneys or vendors who list their services at fire-sale prices. You may be taking a major risk on the quality of services. When you work with a trusted vendor, you will get the services of a skilled, quality attorney.
Pro: Generic, Menial Tasks Don’t Have to Stay In-House
Necessary but perfunctory tasks such as filing documents at the courthouse or making a brief appearance before a judge may be fine for new hires, but for seasoned, in-house attorneys at your firm these types of tasks may be met with a sense of dread. Appearance attorneys are perfect for handling these types of generic, menial tasks. Using a freelance attorney in this context frees up valuable time for the attorneys in your firm, enabling them to focus on the things that are most important to growing your business.
Pro: Set Appearances and Forget It
Some vendors who partner with appearance attorneys, such as Docketly, employ a variety of helpful tools to make working with freelance lawyers a breeze. You can upload your appearance calendar on our dashboard and keep track of any changes, all from one convenient place. Has an in-house attorney called in sick or taken an unexpected leave of absence? You can simply slot an appearance attorney in their place and update the calendar accordingly.
Along with calendaring, Docketly also delivers a number of other helpful features. For example, appearance attorneys are required to submit hearing reports in a standardized manner. You don’t have to worry about trying to decipher one lawyer’s chicken scratch or wade through a verbose story to try and find the relevant nuggets of information that your firm needs to know. Features such as these and more make working with contract attorneys a snap, once again giving your firm back time that always seems to be in woefully short supply.
Cons of Hiring a Professional Court Appearance Attorney
Con: Quality Control Can be a Challenge
Perform an Internet search for freelance or contract attorneys and you will receive a plethora of results. These days, anyone with a modicum of technological know-how can put together a website that looks like it was put together by a team of professionals. This can make quality control a bit of a challenge. Is the professional court appearance attorney you’re looking at online as suave and put together as their website? Or are they something of a fly-by-night operation with little experience who may actually do harm to your client or your law firm? That’s why working with a reputable vendor such as Docketly can help put these fears to rest.
At Docketly, our stable of more than 10,000 appearance attorneys are thoroughly vetted. We ensure that all of the lawyers we work with are in good standing with the bar in the states where they are licensed. This is something we review often, and this information is easily found on our attorneys’ individual profiles. We classify attorneys by tier based on their experience and legal background. In fact, we make it impossible for an attorney who is ranked in the first tier to take on more complex legal proceedings that are reserved for attorneys in tier three. When you work with us, we do the quality control for you. We also offer full transparency. Unlike most other vendors, you will always know who will be appearing on behalf of your law firm.
Con: Not the Best Choice for the Lifetime of a Case
If your law firm needs an attorney to handle a legal matter, from the initial client intake to the final disposition, it is best to keep that type of service in-house. A professional court appearance attorney is best thought of as a temporary substitute when your firm’s in-house attorneys are temporarily unavailable or when you need their labor power to be directed elsewhere.
When your firm is in the middle of handling a big case or when you are trying to scale up the services of your law firm, then a freelance attorney is a terrific way to help pick up the slack. You might not want to have an in-house attorney spend half or even a full day traveling to a distant jurisdiction just to file a couple of documents or provide representation at a matter of course hearing. By turning to a professional court appearance attorney, you can help save your firm time, which often translates into saving money.
Docketly Is Your Go-To Source of Contract Attorneys for your Law Firm
There are several benefits to working with Docketly when you are looking to employ the services of an appearance attorney. From ensuring that every attorney has malpractice insurance to improving efficiencies with automation and innovative technological tools, we can help you get the most out of freelance attorneys. To learn more about how we can help benefit your law firm, schedule a demo with us today.