Freelance Lawyers and Some Facts

To any person who is actually not very familiar with the intricacies of law, the term freelance lawyer may bear an uncanny meaning. You must have frequently heard about freelance writers or reporters, but freelance lawyer is a term which is rarely heard.

In this article I have tried to share some information with my reader friends about this topic.

Freelance lawyers are the contemporary description of contract attorneys, temporary attorneys or independent contractors.

With the emergence of legal outsourcing, one new aspect of law profession or to say more precisely, the overlooked part of law profession that has come into limelight and that is freelance lawyers.

According to ethic committee it is ethically proper for any temporary lawyer to work for any employing lawyer or law firm on temporary basis or even getting involved in the legal outsourcing companies.

Ethic committee instructs the employing attorneys that involvement of any freelance(temporary) lawyer requires consent of the client, otherwise it will be considered as a void contract. The duty of the retaining attorney increases with the involvement of the temporary lawyer on contractual basis to disclose this fact to the client.

But according to the opinion 284 of Ethic committee the disclosure of involvement of a freelance lawyer depends upon the following factors:

o Relationship of the retaining attorney with the temporary attorney or the freelance lawyer.
o Nature of legal work to be performed.
o Clients’ reasonable expectation regarding the work.

The employing attorney has the authority to supervise directly the freelance lawyer and it is not necessary for him to disclose the client that how much remuneration is paid to the temporary lawyer. The employing (retaining) lawyer may bill the client for the service on behalf of temporary lawyer according to the mutual understanding with one another. A temporary lawyer can object to any unreasonable billing against the client charged by the retaining attorney.

The motive behind engaging a freelance lawyer is to attain highly supple and lucrative contractual terms in the outsourcing industry as there has been ample scope of employment arrangement between law firms and temporary lawyers.

Drive: Tapping Into Lawyers’ Intrinsic Motivation

Daniel H. Pink’s 2009 book entitled “Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us” (“Drive”) is filled with information that is highly relevant to the legal profession today.

The central thrust of Drive is that motivating professionals like lawyers requires law firms to go beyond the traditional use of sticks and carrots, punishments and rewards. Pink argues that instead of focusing on these external motivators, what law firms need to do is tap into the intrinsic motivational drive of their lawyers. This will result in more engaging and ultimately more satisfying work. Pink argues that this will not only reduce lawyer turnover and burnout, but that it is in fact the secret to high performance.

Pink highlights three key aspects of work that make it more inherently satisfying: (i) autonomy; (ii) mastery; and (iii) purpose. He argues that these components of intrinsic motivation are interdependent and mutually reinforcing – that, like the legs of a tripod, the apparatus of excellence cannot stand without each component in place.

If there is any merit to Pink’s argument, then law firms would be well advised to pay careful attention to each of the three components of intrinsic motivation in their human resource strategies. Here are some ideas on how to do so:

(i) Autonomy: There are five main ways firms can increase their lawyers’ overall sense of autonomy. These include giving lawyers greater leeway over: (i) what to work on (subject autonomy); (ii) when to do their work (time autonomy); (iii) where to do their work (place autonomy); (iv) who to do their work with (team autonomy); and (v) how to do their work (technique autonomy). The idea here is not that firms have to grant their lawyers full autonomy over all aspects of their work. It is simply that law firms have at their disposal five separate channels along which to promote greater lawyer autonomy, and that an increase in autonomy along any one of these five channels will result in a higher level of work satisfaction.

(ii) Mastery: Law firms can promote lawyer mastery by aligning the difficulty of certain tasks with their lawyers’ overall level of skill or development. Pink calls these “Goldilocks tasks” – tasks that are neither too hard nor too difficult. The idea is that in order to develop mastery it is important for lawyers to be engaged; and in order to be engaged they must be presented with challenges that are well suited to their skill level. Tasks that are too challenging result in a sense of being overwhelmed; tasks that are too easy result in boredom; tasks that are neither too hard nor too easy, but “just right” result in engagement. Engagement, in turn, leads to mastery. Law firms that care about developing masterful lawyers should ensure that they are neither overwhelmed nor bored – that overall they are engaged by their work. If firms are able to strike this balance, their lawyers’ work becomes its own reward.

(iii) Purpose: To make their lawyers’ work more satisfying, law firms would also do well to consider increasing the emphasis they place on meaningful, not just profitable, work – that is, work that gives their lawyers a sense that they are making a positive contribution to something greater than themselves. This does not mean rejecting profit as a motive; it simply means making greater room for non-profit driven contributions. This might mean crafting a mission or vision statement that espouses genuine non-profit related values, and ensuring that incoming lawyers share those values. It might also mean placing greater emphasis on pro bono work, and perhaps including it as part of performance reviews. It might even mean hiring professional coaches to work with their lawyers. Whatever the approach, taking steps to instill a greater sense of purpose into the work life of many lawyers will ultimately make them more committed, creative, resourceful, and yes: satisfied.

It is no secret that lawyers are, in general, a notoriously unhappy lot. It is also clear that lawyers are the most important resource of any law firm. Firms that value this resource would be well advised to take seriously the ideas put forth in Drive. In the end, when lawyers are satisfied with their work, everyone stands to win – not just the lawyers themselves, but their colleagues, their firms, and most importantly their clients.

Graduating As a Lawyer

“I know we can’t abolish prejudice through laws, but we can set up guidelines for our actions by legislation.” – Belva Lockwood (American Attorney, 1830-1917)

No profession other than law has multiple variations for a ‘lawyer’. Titles Attorney, Lawyer, Barrister, Solicitor and Esquire are used, in the field of law. However, each title holds a unique responsibility than the others. An attorney or attorney-at-law is a qualified and licensed member of the legal profession, who may act on the client’s behalf and plead or defend a case in the court of law.

A lawyer is a trained professional who provides advice and aid on legal matters, in addition to performing tasks that of an attorney.

A barrister performs trial works in the higher courts and does not deal directly with clients.

A solicitor, speaks with the client, prepares documents and may appear as an advocate in the lower court.

An Esquire is an honorary title, similar to the use of Dr. or Ph.D. Today its’ usage is less frequent and when used it is prefixed by an attorney’s full name.

In the U.S. attorney and lawyer are considered synonyms. While in the U.K. barrister, solicitor and advocate are the popular variants used.

Each country on the globe offers study courses in the field of law. A Law degree allows its’ holder to practice in the court of law. In addition, joining a “bar association” is like a key for entering the kingdom of law. An individual without any legal training can be an attorney-in-fact, but to be a lawyer, bar exam needs to be taken. It provides both license (educational evaluation) and certificate (character and fitness evaluation) to practice law.

In the U.S., formal requirements to become a lawyer requires a 4 year college degree, 3 years of law school and passing a written bar examination. However, requirements may vary by State.

The legal system of Florida includes state judiciary, courts (State and Federal) and the Florida Bar Association. Both Federal and State laws govern the outcome of a legal proceeding. The court system, an individual enters depends on factors like the amount of damage involved, location of the parties involved and whether a court has exclusive jurisdiction over the subject matter.

For an attorney to practice law in this state, he has to be licensed from the Florida bar association. This reflects:

– An attorney has been subjected to ethical rules.
– Is required to take continuing education courses to maintain his license.
– Is required to maintain the confidential of the clients.
– Is professionally accountable to any authority. If found guilty by the bar, they can loose their license to practice.
– Maintains’ a Clients’ Security Fund intended to reimburse clients in case a lawyer misappropriates trust funds.

In, 2008 The Florida Bar Association, The Florida Bar Foundation, Florida Legal Services, The Real Property Probate and Trust Law section joined hands to fight back against the ‘foreclosure’ crisis that made Florida notorious in the nation. The statewide effort is called “Florida Attorney Saving Homes”.

According to a survey, most searched cities for Florida Attorneys are Boca Raton, Clearwater, Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers, Jacksonville, Melbourne, Miami, Orlando, St. Petersburg, Tallahassee, Tamp and West Palm Beach.

It is imperative for an individual seeking a lawyer to have a background check done. An important step in evaluating whether an attorney is legible for handling legal proceedings or not.