Explore how Lisa Fitzgerald became an Ontra legal partner and is able to support her family while continuing her restorative justice work.
The case for freelance corporate attorneys
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In the legal profession, traditional law firms are usually associated with cream-of-the-crop attorneys and a flawless end product for their legal services—and rightfully so. Some of the most talented attorneys commit to a Big Law career and go on to be extremely successful, reaping financial and professional benefits with many even making partner at their firms.
Producing the quality and quantity of work expected by a traditional law firm requires a significant commitment that can force attorneys to sacrifice aspects of their personal lives to allow for more time in the office. But those demands, which often entail an intense workload and stringent hours, aren’t the right fit for those who cannot or do not want to make such sacrifices.
In the past, the accommodation of personal goals outside of work meant that some top-tier corporate law talent would have to pursue alternative outlets to continue practicing corporate law. This would often mean having to work with less sophisticated clients. Ontra provides freelance corporate attorneys the opportunity to achieve the flexible work arrangement they desire, while still practicing law for some of the world’s leading companies.
On the client side, working with independent lawyers offers its own benefits. Aided by cloud-based technology, large companies have access to an ever-increasing pool of highly experienced, specialist attorneys that can deliver a cost-effective, high-quality solution for negotiating and managing their routine legal work.
What are the benefits for freelance corporate attorneys?
The legal industry is evolving and making space for a greater breadth of work arrangements. Freelance legal work opportunities provide corporate attorneys with several important benefits.
For one, freelance legal work enables flexible work hours and geographic independence. Instead of working under the constraints established by an employer, freelance attorneys practice law from their own home base and on their own schedule. Because freelance attorneys are not limited to working in major cities for access to the best clients, they can move closer to family or relocate to areas with a lower cost of living.
Freelance legal work also offers the ability to pursue other passions. With a flexible workload and schedule that works best for them, independent corporate attorneys benefit from the ability to focus on other important aspects of their lives. For these talented professionals, having flexibility with corporate legal work means having enough time to commit to other passions or interests, whether that be spending more time with family, founding a startup, or traveling the world.
How can companies benefit by using freelance corporate attorneys?
Large companies that use freelance corporate attorneys are able to address pain points in their existing legal document processes. This is especially true when it comes to routine legal work. Previously, companies would only have two options for handling their routine legal work—outsourcing it to a traditional law firm or handing it to internal resources. Neither option is ideal.
When a traditional law firm handles the work, it falls to junior, generalist attorneys who are less experienced and don’t possess specialist knowledge by document type. This often results in slower turnaround times and potentially less than ideal quality of outputs, on top of being billed against the firm’s standard hourly rate card. When the company allocates internal resources to handle the work, it takes precious time away from the core aspects of people’s jobs. In some cases, the individuals who are assigned the work may not possess a formal legal education.
Using freelance corporate attorneys as part of a legal technology solution can eliminate these pain points. Ontra offers an ideal solution for negotiating and managing routine legal work by combining a virtual network of highly experienced, specialist attorneys with best-in-class, cloud-based technology. The result is a uniquely efficient and high-quality solution that helps companies save time, free up internal resources, and substantially reduce legal costs.
What’s ahead for corporations and independent lawyers?
The traditional career path for corporate lawyers has remained unchanged for many years, with few options available to attorneys interested in pursuing opportunities outside of the traditional law firm environment. As the gig economy continues to gain traction in the legal industry, both attorneys and corporations can expect to see more corporate lawyers going the freelance route, giving them the freedom to build the practices they want in order to live the lives they want to lead.
Learn how Mario Christodoulou, a lawyer based in London, has partnered with Ontra to support a career shift.
Freelance legal work offers new possibilities for corporate attorneys interested in a more flexible career path.
This guide raises meaningful questions about the risks and rewards of freelance legal work. Employers continue to expand their remote workforces, some offering up to 70% of office employees a virtual option. While the legal industry has yet to fully realize the impact of the shift to remote work, it will surely define the practice moving forward.