5 Tips for Lawyers Looking to Freelance as a Per Diem Attorney

Freelancing as a lawyer for a per diem attorney services company can be a great way to gain experience and earn additional income. However, it can also be challenging to navigate the landscape of per diem work in a professional, responsible and ethical manner. In this article, we will provide tips for lawyers who are interested in freelancing for a per diem attorney services company.

Understanding the Per Diem Landscape

Freelancing for a per diem attorney services company can be a great way for lawyers to gain experience, build their network, and earn a steady income. However, it is important to understand the landscape before diving in.

1. Familiarizing Yourself with Per Diem Dynamics

Per diem attorneys are hired on a short-term basis to handle specific legal tasks, such as court appearances, depositions, and document review. Freelancers are typically paid a flat fee for each task they complete, rather than a traditional hourly rate. Dynamics can vary depending on the specific company and the legal market the company serves. Some per diem attorney services specialize in a particular geographical location or area of law, while others offer service clients across multiple locations and practice areas. Other factors to consider are whether you will be given a fair chance to compete for assignments, whether you will have the ability to say no to assignments, what the compensation terms are, how long it will take for you to be paid and more. Older legacy companies generally have clerical staff that give the best assignments to their “favorite” freelancers, pressure you to take on assignments under the threat of reduced work, are habitually vague about compensation terms or take 45-60 days to render payment. Newer companies such as Instant Per Diem Attorneys provide freelancers the equal opportunity to review and accept assignments, never pressures freelancers to take on work you don’t want to do, always disclose the compensation terms on the assignments, pay much more then older companies and usually release funds to your bank account within 3-5 business days. It is important for freelancing lawyers to familiarize themselves with the dynamics of the specific company they are working with, as well as the legal market they are serving.

2. Identifying Common Legal Tasks

Freelancing lawyers should also be familiar with the common legal tasks that per diem attorneys are hired to handle. These tasks can include:

  • Court appearances: Per diem attorneys may be hired to represent clients in court for various reasons, such as conferences, hearings, arguments, bench trials, etc.
  • Depositions: Freelancers may be hired to take or defend depositions in civil cases.
  • Document review: Per diems may also be hired to review and analyze legal documents, such as contracts, pleadings, and discovery requests.
  • Legal research: Freelancers also can conduct legal research on behalf of clients or other attorneys.

By understanding the landscape and identifying common legal tasks, freelancing attorneys can position themselves for success in the per diem attorney services industry.

3. Managing Time and Schedules

Efficient Time Allocation

One of the most important aspects of freelancing for a per diem attorney services company is efficient time allocation. Lawyers must be able to manage their time effectively to ensure that they can complete all of their assignments in a timely manner. This requires careful planning and organization. Per diem attorneys handling court appearances should immediately calendar any court appearance and deposition assignments and use a redundancy to avoid any “missed appearances”.

One effective way to manage time is to create a schedule for each day. Per diems should allocate specific time slots for each assignment and prioritize their work accordingly. They should also avoid procrastinating and make sure they stick to their schedule to avoid falling behind.

Balancing Multiple Assignments

Freelance lawyers often work on multiple assignments at once, which can be challenging. To manage multiple assignments, it is important to prioritize work based on deadlines and level of importance. Lawyers should also avoid taking on too much work at once and learn to say no when necessary.

Another effective way to balance multiple assignments is to break each assignment down into smaller tasks. This makes it easier to manage and allows lawyers to focus on one task at a time. They should also avoid multitasking, as this can lead to decreased productivity and increased stress.

Overall, managing time and schedules is essential for freelancing lawyers working for a per diem attorney services company. By allocating time efficiently and balancing multiple assignments, lawyers can ensure that they complete their work on time and maintain a high level of productivity.

4. Delivering Consistent Quality

Freelancing for a per diem attorney services company requires a high level of professionalism and consistency in delivering quality legal services. Here are some tips for maintaining consistent quality:

Maintaining Professional Standards

Maintaining professional standards is essential for delivering consistent quality legal services. Freelance lawyers should ensure that they are up to date with the latest legal developments, rules, and regulations. They should also be familiar with the ethical standards of the legal profession and adhere to them strictly.

To maintain professional standards, freelance lawyers should keep their skills and knowledge current by attending legal seminars, reading legal publications, and participating in legal forums. They should also ensure that they have access to the latest legal research tools and resources.

Adapting to Varied Legal Environments

Freelance lawyers may work in different legal environments, such as different court rooms, different specialities and more. To deliver consistent quality legal services, they must be able to adapt to these varied legal environments.

Adapting to varied legal environments requires freelancers to be flexible, open-minded, and able to hit the ground running. They should also be able to communicate effectively with clients, colleagues, and other stakeholders.

To adapt to varied legal environments, per diems should familiarize themselves with the culture, values, and expectations of the legal organization they are working with. They should also be willing to learn new legal skills and techniques and be able to apply them in different legal contexts.

Delivering consistent quality legal services is essential for freelance lawyers working for per diem attorney services companies. By maintaining professional standards and adapting to varied legal environments, freelance lawyers can ensure that they meet their clients’ expectations and build a successful legal career.

5. Navigating Legal Ethics and Confidentiality

Understanding Ethical Obligations

As a freelance lawyer for a per diem attorney services company, it is essential to understand your ethical obligations. The American Bar Association (ABA) Model Rules of Professional Conduct provide guidelines for lawyers to maintain ethical standards. These rules include maintaining client confidentiality and avoiding conflicts of interest. When working as a per diem, it is crucial to ensure that you do not have any conflicts of interest with the clients you are representing.

Ensuring Client Privacy

Client privacy is an essential aspect of legal ethics. As a freelance lawyer, you must ensure that you maintain client confidentiality at all times. This includes protecting client information from unauthorized access, use, or disclosure. You must ensure that you are only accessing the information necessary to complete the assignment. You should also ensure that any information you receive is kept confidential and not shared with anyone outside of the company.

To ensure client privacy, you should also be aware of the company’s policies and procedures regarding data protection and confidentiality. You should also take steps to secure any client information that you have access to, such as using secure communication channels and storing information in a secure location. Navigating legal ethics and confidentiality is an essential aspect of freelancing for a per diem attorney services company. By understanding your ethical obligations and taking steps to ensure client privacy, you can provide high-quality legal services while maintaining the highest ethical standards. If you are looking to become a freelancer per diem attorney, click to learn more about per diem attorney jobs.