You’ll know when you start to need a full-time associate attorney. You’ll also know what qualifications, experience, and level of writing you need from your associate. But the majority of attorneys are owners/sole practitioners or partners at small firms where having a good, full-time legal assistant or paralegal is more crucial than having an associate. And that’s where freelance attorneys come in. The good ones may cost, in strict terms, more per hour than what a full-time associate may cost. But associates must be paid a fixed salary and benefits whether or not they’re billing enough to earn their keep. With associates right out of school, you are often paying them to learn on the job. A good freelance attorney is only paid when you have an overflow of high-level legal work that you can’t get to. If you can find a freelance attorney in your geographic area, you also have someone to cover your court appearances and depositions when you’re overscheduled or on vacation. Some freelance attorneys will even second chair trials.
There are other benefits to using a freelance attorney. As independent contractors, any payments you make to them are a tax-deductible business expense to you. Contract attorneys pay their own payroll taxes via the self-employment tax. With associates, you’re responsible for their payroll taxes.
Top-notch freelance attorneys are efficient researchers, experienced litigators, and excellent writers who can help you deliver outstanding results to your clients.