8 Questions About Hiring A Contract Lawyer

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Guest writer, Corrine A. Tampas, of What’s Your Authority got such a good response, that I have begged her to write another piece on the most common questions asked when hiring a contract lawyer. Corrine was gracious enough to agree:

1. What is the nature of your law practice?

At present, I conduct legal (and taxation) research and writing for other attorneys (and tax professionals). I do not take pro se clients. I do not represent corporations or businesses in transactional matters unless they have an attorney of record with whom they would like me to work.

2. What services do you offer?

Just about anything on the civil side, including tax matters. This includes opinion letters, litigation documents, requests for private letter rulings, and tax appeals. Sometimes an attorney-client wants me to conduct research without drafting a document. It is all based on what is needed.

3. How did you decide that there is a need for this kind of law practice?

I have known too many frazzled solos and small firm practitioners that were simply overworked. Their practices had grown too large for them to do all the research that needed to be done on certain cases, yet had not grown large enough to bring on new hires. This gives a growing firm room to breathe before making a commitment to expand. Read the rest of this entry »

How To Find A Great Contract Attorney

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CC photo credit: swambo

Legal researcher, legal writer and attorney-at-law, Rebecca Phalen revealed how hiring a contract attorney can make your life easier. Today, she takes us to the next step:

So how do I find a contract attorney?

The best way is word of mouth. Put the request on an e-mail list that you trust. Tweet about it. Use Google. Because you will supervise the contract attorney, you are not limited to attorneys in your state. As you receive responses, have high expectations. Know what you are looking for and what level of experience will satisfy you.

Here are the first questions I would ask:

  • Do you maintain a conflict database?
  • Can you provide proof of professional liability insurance?
  • Are you licensed in good standing?
  • Can you submit a resume?
  • Do you have access to your own research resources? (if necessary for the project)
  • Can you provide references?
  • Provide a writing sample?
  • Do you keep detailed time entries? (for projects billed hourly)

If the prospective contract attorney cannot answer “yes” to all of those questions, then don’t move forward.

But if the contract attorney satisfies you on those questions, and you like what you hear from the references and see on their website, then ask about their experience, their availability, and their rate. You do not have to meet the contract attorney in person; you can have a great working relationship by telephone and e-mail.

These suggestions should help you find a contract attorney who can help you grow your practice, while offering a little stress relief.

Check out Rebecca’s site and definitely read her blog.

Why Hire A Contract Attorney?

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My Work Desk

CC photo credit: DeaPeaJay

Today’s post comes from legal researcher, legal writer and attorney-at-law, Rebecca Phalen.

Why hiring a contract attorney brings value:

Attorneys hire contract attorneys for various reasons. Maybe the attorney doesn’t have ready access to the legal research materials needed, maybe the case calls for more hands on deck in one particular month. Whatever the reason, the contract attorney you hire should bring value to you and your client.

What is that value?

  • Stress relief. You delegate a project and get more time.
  • Fresh ideas. The contract attorney will listen to what you need. A good one will also raise relevant issues and advise you if you are going down the wrong path. You now have access to an attorney who can discuss any aspect of the case with you.
  • Workload expansion without payroll expansion. You can delegate small or large projects. You do not have to commit to providing a set number of hours.
  • Research resources. You can find contract attorneys that pay for their own research subscription. So if you don’t subscribe to Westlaw or Lexis, you can hire an attorney that does.
  • Experience, without the training time. You are not limited to new lawyers when looking for a contract attorney. There are attorneys with years of experience who have chosen to work only as contract attorneys.
  • Better client service. You can focus on what you like to do or what is most critical for your client, while the contract attorney completes the tasks that are still necessary for your client.

Rebecca is a terrific blogger and you should definitely check out her blog.