The State Bar of California has issued formal ethics opinion No. 2004-165 to address the ethical responsibilities of a member who uses outside contract attorneys to make appearances on behalf of the member’s clients.
In a nutshell:
First, the member must disclose the arrangement to the client when the appearance (or other use of a contract attorney) constitutes a significant development in the case. While a CMC likely never constitutes a significant development in a case, the same cannot be said of a dispositive motion hearing or a post-trial motion hearing. Members must use their judgment in deciding whether the delegation of legal work to a contract attorney constitutes a significant development that would trigger the duty to disclose to the client.
Second, the Member must adequately prepare the contract attorney for the appearance and the contract attorney must be competent to handle the appearance.
Third, if the Member has anticipated the need to hire contract attorneys at the outset of the engagement, the Member should disclose that in the fee agreement with his or her client.
Every major style guide prescribes a single space after a period. If modern typographers get into bar fights, it’s not because they’re debating the one-space rule. They all pretty much agree on it. I have also seen a fair number of federal court opinions containing one space after sentences — perhaps as a result of the 25-year old law clerks who drafted the opinions. But I also suspect that more than a few elderly judges are aware of the one-space rule. Although my personal preference is to adhere to the one-space rule, it’s hardly an issue that will cause a party to lose a motion. What the client wants, the client gets!
When you hire a freelance aka contract attorney, you can pick and choose who you want for each project. Your selection might be based on that attorney’s experience with a particular type of case or issue, or a prior good working relationship. There are no awkward exit interviews if things don’t pan out. When the project ends, so do your mutual obligations.
Your practice has grown and you now have more work than you can comfortably handle on your own. Do you sacrifice your weekends, hobbies, or family time? Or is there another way to continue delivering excellent legal services while maintaining your lifestyle? By hiring a freelance attorney, you can focus on the things you want, while confidently representing your clients.
Your clients are accustomed to a high standard of service and work product. By delegating tasks to a professional freelance attorney, your clients can continue the receive the same high quality service, while you can focus on the more pressing aspects of their cases.
With freelance attorneys, there are no insurance premiums, Bar dues, Blackberry bills, or payroll taxes to pay. You also don’t need to answer questions about the partnership track, sick days or vacation time!
You can make a profit by hiring a freelance attorney! Think about it. You can bill out the freelance attorney to your clients at a rate higher than you pay the freelancer, while doing very little work yourself on the project.