Paralegal Support 101 – Demystifying Freelance Paralegals and Paralegal Support Services for Attorneys

Whether you’re a solo practitioner or small firm looking to delegate some of your work, a large corporation or governmental agency with unprecedented caseloads and no leeway to hire new employees, or are simply looking to grow your practice or reduce client fees without increasing overhead, there’s a good chance you’ve thought about retaining a freelance paralegal or paralegal support service professional. After all, it seems like that’s all you hear about now – virtual paralegals, virtual law practice, remote collaboration – even though contract paralegals and attorneys have been around for a least two decades. There’s also a good chance that uncertainties have, at some time or another, stopped you from pursuing the idea or even pursuing information that might resolve those uncertainties. More often than not, fear of the unknown stops us in our tracks even when we know we must make a change. Sometimes it’s more comforting … Continue reading

Don’t Wait ‘Till it’s Too Late

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You probably don’t wait until the day before your taxes are due to deliver your records and receipts to your accountant.  (At least, I hope not.) Similarly, when you have thousands of documents to produce, you probably send them to the printer for production sometime before the due date. (But I know there are times when it comes close.) You have legally imposed deadlines; you can’t chance being unable to meet them.  Doing so violates your ethics rules, at best.  Besides, you need time to review the work product before sending it off.  If you do wait until the last minute and your regular service provider isn’t available – accountant, copy services, etc. – maybe you’ll find someone else who can do the work. Usually, though, we find service providers we like and trust, and who understand our practice; we don’t really want to go through the trouble of finding … Continue reading

Getting the Support You Need; it’s Easy!

Have you thought about retaining the services of a freelance paralegal or attorney but stopped short because you’re just not sure how in the world it works? If you have, or are getting to that point, you’re in good company.  When considering freelance legal services, it’s one of the top questions attorneys have.  It’s also a question I, as do other legal freelancers, address regularly when talking about support options for attorneys and law firms. During the past year I have had the opportunity to work regularly with one of the visionaries for legal freelance networking, Melody Kramer – owner of Kramer Law Office, founder of FreelanceLaw, co-founder of the National Association of Freelance Legal Professionals (NAFLP), and freelance attorney – through the NAFLP and together in the freelancer’s quest to educate attorneys and law firms about freelance legal professionals and alternative solutions to receiving support and reducing clients’ legal … Continue reading

Communication – The key to working successfully with a freelance paralegal (or anyone for that matter)

If you think about it, what’s the underlying cause of most disputes?  What’s a leading cause of failed relationships, both business and personal? Ineffective communication.  Period. Case-in-point: How many of us have had an argument or disagreement with a significant other where, when you reconcile your differences, you each realize that the other misunderstood what you were trying to say or did not have the same key information you did to be able to draw the same conclusion? Why can mediation, arbitration, and collaborative law be so effective?  Because they bring in neutral third parties, who are not blinded by emotion, to 1) extract all that has not been communicated before, 2) help minimize emotions, and 3) present the information in a way that the receiving party understands.  Even with individuals who communicate information well, when the receiver is communicating at a different level or from a different perception, misunderstandings … Continue reading

When Working With a Freelance Paralegal Raises Concerns

So you found a freelance paralegal you’re interested in working with.  Hopefully, you followed the suggestions outlined in the post, “Finding a Freelance Paralegal That’s Right for You” and know exactly what you are (and aren’t) looking for in retaining paralegal services.  Communicating this information to the freelance paralegal you’re talking with will help pave the way for successful communication – and a successful partnership.  But what if, in talking with this person, something bothers you and you begin thinking maybe paralegal services aren’t right for you?  What do you do?  Write it off and never again make contact with the person you found? [Hint: Your answer, hopefully, is “no.”  Besides losing a chance to get the support you need, if your initial communications are positive and your response to follow-up is non-response, it could also affect your reputation and business.  How?  Paralegals, especially freelance, are often asked for attorney … Continue reading

Finding a Freelance Paralegal That’s Right For You

If you’ve thought about getting support from a freelance paralegal but are unsure of how to find one who’s right for your practice or department, here are a few things to consider (be prepared for a few surprises). Define positive and negative attributes of a successful freelance paralegal partnership Before setting off to find a freelance paralegal, you have some homework.  Yes, homework.  First, be honest with yourself.  Sit down and really think about what you’re looking for in working with a freelance paralegal.  What is important to you and your practice?  What are your goals in working with a freelance paralegal?  What do you want to get out of the relationship?  What do you need?  What are you looking to achieve with a freelance paralegal?  What would make such a partnership beneficial?  Successful? Also consider what you don’t want.  What would make such a relationship a negative, rather than … Continue reading