LAWCLERK Offers an Online Marketplace for Contract Legal Work
June 28, 2018
Today's TechnoLawyer Buyer's Guide report covers an online marketplace for finding contract lawyers without running afoul of ethics rules.
LAWCLERK Offers an Online Marketplace for Contract Legal Work
You have more work than you can handle but you're hesitant to assume the expense of a fulltime lawyer. Meanwhile, tens of thousands of law professors, biglaw refugees, and other lawyers are available for contract work. You just need a way to find and outsource your work to these freelancers within the constraints of your state's ethics rules.
LAWCLERK in One Sentence
Launched recently, LAWCLERK is an online marketplace for freelance legal talent that incorporates ethics rules compliance into its outsourcing process.
The Killer Feature
When you first sign up to use LAWCLERK, the company securely verifies your identity and law license. Those seeking freelance work go through a similar verification process.
Your agreement for each project specifies that the freelancer will work as a paraprofessional under your supervision. For example, one of the provisions states, "I will not ask or otherwise cause the lawclerk to sign or file any documents with any court or administrative body." These and other terms eliminate ethics concerns about the unauthorized practice of law and self-dealing. Also, the terms assign ownership of all contract work to your firm, and LAWCLERK takes care of the freelancer's tax reporting.
"Many smart, talented lawyers are underemployed or choosing alternative legal careers where they aren't using their full work product capacity," says co-founder Greg Garman. "This creates a tremendous opportunity for solo practitioners or firms to tap into this underutilized legal talent by hiring these lawyers as freelancers."
By creating a marketplace for freelance legal talent, LAWCLERK enables law firms to scale during busy periods without the risk of hiring a full-time lawyer.
Other Notable Features
You post new projects from the Dashboard, including a description, the price you're offering (flat fee), applicable areas of law, skill level, your deadline, and how long you'll accept applications. There's no charge to post or any monthly fees. After working with a freelancer you like, you can send additional projects directly to this person instead of making your projects available to all applicants.
As applicants apply, you can review their profiles, which contain their resume, sample work product, and ratings from previous projects. Ratings indicate whether the freelancer met, exceeded, or fell short of expectations. You can ask applicants questions and reject those who don't meet your requirements.
While you can communicate with freelancers via email and telephone, LAWCLERK offers a portal for secure messaging and document sharing. Also, freelancers can log their time here. Even though you pay freelancers a flat fee, this time tracking can help you decide what to charge your client. Ethics rules enable you to mark up a fee but not a cost.
What Else Should You Know?
How are lawyers using LAWCLERK? All sorts of ways according to co-founder Kristin Tyler. Examples include solos who want to grow their practice without risk, lawyers who need expertise on a niche issue, ediscovery document review, and law firms pursuing alternative business models.
The Bach Law Firm uses LAWCLERK for litigation work. "After using LAWCLERK for the first time, our firm stopped using any other contract attorneys," says managing partner Jason Bach. "LAWCLERK provides us unparalleled talent at rates that are friendly to the bottom line."
Take a Closer Look at LAWCLERK
Meet Neil J. Squillante
Neil J. Squillante is the founder and publisher of TechnoLawyer, an award-winning network of free email newsletters for lawyers and law office administrators. Many consider TechnoLawyer newsletters the only ones they need. A Fastcase 50 award winner, Neil has a long track record of inventing successful advertising and publishing technologies and related best practices. Previously, Neil practiced commercial litigation at Am Law 100 firm Willkie Farr & Gallagher. He received his J.D. from UCLA School of Law and his B.A. from Duke University. At UCLA, Neil served as a Managing Editor of UCLA Law Review.
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