What a 10 minute cab ride taught me about confidentiality and security

I’ve found myself in the back of a cab quite regularly this year. The more I take them, the more I dread doing so. Are they going to be honest? Are they going to try and take me the long way? Either way, I’m prepared. I tell them which route to take. It never changes. From house to airport, it’s only a 10 minute ride. Unfortunately, about half of my drivers ignore my directions and try to take a different route to rack up extra fare. Sometimes I have an honest driver. Sometimes, not so honest. Some of these drivers will talk. Others – not so much. Aside from the whole route thing, I realized today that I learn a lot about my drivers’ characters during our 10 minute conversations. Some who initially make me uneasy turn out to be quite nice and very ethical. Others with whom I have … Continue reading

Working with a Freelance Paralegal or Paralegal Support Service versus Employee: What’s Different?

If you’re wondering what to expect when you retain paralegal support services, you may also wonder what will be different.  Again, it depends on your business model. If you already delegate work to other professionals, you won’t notice much difference.  And, if your freelance paralegal will utilize your existing system, be it via remote or cloud access, you’re really not going to notice any difference in your typical work day, other than the fact that you now have more support. But how will retaining and working with a freelance paralegal be different if you’re used to having employees?  If you’re coming from a traditional business model, these are probably the most significant differences that might be noticed: Not physically seeing someone in the office when you’re used to having someone around; Realizing you still have support even when you can’t see that person (i.e., no more hollering out your door … Continue reading

What to Expect When You Retain Paralegal Support Services or a Freelance Paralegal

So you’re interested in retaining a freelance paralegal or paralegal support services but just don’t know what to expect.  Really, it depends on your business model. If you already work remotely, work with remote clients, or outsource various aspects of your practice – such as bookkeeping – to other service professionals, you won’t find much difference (if any) in working with a freelance paralegal.  Paralegal support services will nicely compliment your existing business model.  Even if your current setup isn’t designed for remote case collaboration or securely sharing confidential information, the freelance paralegal you choose will (okay, should) have that system already in place.  It’s a key question to ask every service provider you talk with. If your business model takes the more traditional approach, then retaining a freelance paralegal for paralegal support services can best be analogized with the retention of an accountant or outside counsel: You retain them … Continue reading

Is Going “Virtual” the Future of Law?

This question is posed time and again.  In conversation.  In group discussions.  In articles.  In passing.  In all seriousness.  The increasing interest in virtual practice has given rise to a host of concerns and a quest for answers.  It’s a question that can be (and has been) addressed from many vantage points.  I don’t suggest an answer to this question.  However, I do suggest that consideration of the history and evolution of law practice might shed light on the direction of its future. Traditional law practice How many of you remember what it was like to practice law 25 years ago?  Letters typed on a typewriter, with carbon paper, eloquently worded with the utmost courtesy and professionalism.  Beautifully articulated handwritten notes.  Boxes upon boxes of documents in the war room.  Color-coded files in the file room.  Even then, legal work wasn’t exactly a nine-to-five job. It was actually quite easy … Continue reading

Thanks, But We’re Not Hiring . . . Freelance Legal Professionals

Do you know the difference between an independent contractor and an employee? Maybe. That understanding is sometimes challenged, though, when those classifications are applied to members of the legal field. Admittedly, the concept of freelance legal professionals can be hard to grasp and is sometimes confused with employees. More than once I’ve heard an attorney say, “No, I’m not hiring” or, “Yes, I’m looking to hire” when talking with a freelance paralegal or freelance attorney. Hopefully, this post will help clarify the difference between an employee and a freelance legal professional. Freelance paralegals and freelance attorneys are independent contractors. In other words, they are business owners providing their professional services to solo practitioners, law firms, corporations, and governmental agencies. Freelance paralegals and freelance attorneys are not employees. They aren’t for hire. They’re not looking for employment (well, maybe some are but that’s not what they’re doing when they’re offering professional … Continue reading

You’re a what? Freelance Paralegals Defined

Freelance paralegal? What’s that? Virtual paralegal? What’s that? Have you ever heard these terms and wondered? Have you ever wondered or wished there was a way to get help with your caseload when hiring isn’t an option but you and your staff are struggling to meet demands or deadlines? Have you ever thought, “It would be so nice to be able to delegate just this one thing?” Those two terms above represent the answer to such questions. Freelance paralegal defined A freelance paralegal, sometimes referred to as a virtual paralegal, is a paralegal who works as an independent contractor providing substantive legal support to attorneys, firms, corporations, or governmental agencies on an as-needed basis. Depending on the attorney’s need, a freelance paralegal may provide paralegal support services occasionally – only when the need arises – or regularly – providing daily or weekly support. As independent contractors, freelance paralegals are business … Continue reading