A contract attorney is licensed to practice law, but instead of working for a firm as a full-time employee, they work on an hourly, project, or temporary basis. They have earned their law degrees, passed the required bar exams, and can perform virtually any function of a full- time associate or in-house counsel. By enlisting a contract attorney through a placement agency, law firms can avoid risk and realize immediate efficiencies and cost reductions. The agency will handle all administrative matters and cover employment-related costs including insurance, taxes, benefits, and payroll. Furthermore, firms can bill the work done by a contract attorney at a partner’s rate, an associate’s rate, or any rate that has been agreed to. Firms of all sizes and specialties have taken advantage of the significant savings and profit potential of utilizing contract attorneys. Here are five common scenarios:
Some corporate, real estate and finance transactions can overwhelm even the largest of firms with the sheer volume of documents and research. Contract attorneys can provide a potential solution. A firm can contract junior attorneys to review thousands of documents or seasoned attorneys to handle motions, depositions, trials, and appeals. Once the project ends, and the work is completed, the firm incurs no additional labor costs.
HIRING A CONTRACT ATTORNEY
Contract attorneys can be found through traditional recruiting channels, word of mouth, networking, or through placement agencies. Most agencies maintain a list of qualified candidates in specific practice areas and can help in securing appropriately-skilled, proven attorneys in specific practice areas or areas of expertise. The agency handles the screening process, verifies the attorney’s academic degrees and legal credentials, including admission to the bar, current good standing, past employment, and references. Payroll, employer-related taxes, benefits and other HR matters are also handled by the agency since the contract attorney is their employee, not the law firms.