If you’re looking for a change in your law career that provides more freedom and flexibility, becoming a freelance lawyer could be it.
Life at a law firm isn’t for everyone. The working hours are long, the caseloads are stressful, and the working environments may not meet your ideals. Becoming a freelance lawyer allows you to choose which client projects to work on and who are your colleagues.
There’s no doubt that being a freelance lawyer has benefits. If this is the direction you want your legal career to take, keep reading to learn a few simple steps to get started.
Step 01: Decide Your Legal Services
The first thing freelance lawyers should do is decide what legal services they are going to provide their clients. At a law firm, associates and fellow lawyers must choose a single area to focus their practice. For a freelance lawyer, there’s a bit more flexibility.
When shifting your legal career toward freelance, it’s best to do some research before taking the plunge. If you decide to provide legal services in an area that is uncommon in your region, you can expect to go out of business pretty quickly.
Choosing the right area that has a steady demand will keep you in business longer as well as provide you with stimulating cases on the job.
Step 02: Register Your Services
Depending on your personal goals, you have complete control over the destiny of your legal profession. Once you have an idea of what you want to practice, the next step is to begin the legal steps to register your service.
Will you be a sole proprietorship? A limited liability company? Or, a corporation?
Understanding the differences between the three can help determine how you wish to operate your freelance legal services.
Step 03: Administrative Tasks
With your legal services registered, you’ll need other important elements to organize and maintain your administrative responsibilities. You may need a separate bank account for billing and tax-related purposes.
If you plan on working completely on your own and without the support of any legal assistants, consider using lawyer accounting software. Not only do these program help automate repetitive administrative tasks, they can also be used for the following:
- Document management
- Time tracking
See a complete review of the best accounting software for lawyers.
Step 04: Network
Once you have laid the foundation for your freelance legal services, you can share your new service with your network.
Traditional lawyers working at a law firm tend to target individuals and other businesses for work. The clients you’ll often find as a freelance lawyer will typically come from other lawyers and law firms.
If you have a large list of contacts, this is the best place to start searching for business.
Alternatively, you can set up accounts on social networking websites to begin expanding your personal network. If you don’t have one already, LinkedIn is one of the leading social networking websites for all professionals. Other sites to network with lawyers and in-house job opportunities can be found here:
If you want to join a social networking website rising in popularity check out Foxwordy. At Foxwordy, you can reach out and connect with other lawyers and contribute toward various projects in the legal industry.
Finally, if you haven’t done so already, you should join your local bar association and participate in as many local events as possible.
Step 05: Get a Website
Freelance lawyers with a website can offer a competitive advantage in the marketplace. Lawyer websites are a great way to showcase your services and allow for prospective clients to discover what you do.
Your website can feature some of your past legal projects and highlight your area of expertise.
If you decide to get a website, it is also important to understand how to use it in a way to benefit your business. If you’re on a tight budget, performing these local SEO methods can help more people find your services.
Step 06: Start a Blog
Are you an expert in a particular area of law and want to share your knowledge with others? Starting a blog is a great way for freelance lawyers to make more connections with prospective clients.
If you’re unsure about the benefits of blogging about law, here are a few:
- Free service promotion
- Improves your website’s SEO
- Make connections with prospective clients
- Build a credible reputation online
It will take a bit of time and commitment for a blog to become a successful marketing tool. However, with these tips for lawyers who blog, you can get ahead of your competition.
Step 07: Be Patient
Becoming a successful freelance lawyer is not going to occur overnight If you decide to take this path in your legal career remember that it is going to require strategic planning, time, dedication, and most importantly patience.
Keep in mind that your legal services are much like a business and like all business, there is a chance of failing. The beginning will be some of the toughest moments until the momentum builds and your reputation spreads amongst your community.
Thinking about starting your own law firm instead of being a freelancer? Give this a read.