Quite a few organizations hire paralegals on a contract basis. Why? The reasons may vary; however, many choose to hire what are called freelance paralegals to help with extra work that in-house staff won’t have to work on. It is an economical way to take care of business without having to hire extra employees.
If you are an experienced legal secretary or in-house paralegal who wants more independence in your career, consider setting yourself up as a freelance paralegal.
Definition of a Freelance Paralegal
A freelance paralegal, often called a contract paralegal, is an independent business owner or employee of a paralegal-owned company who contracts his/her time with law firms or legal departments to perform day-to-day tasks.
Traits of a Freelance Paralegal
- Organized and efficient
- Skilled in time management
- Business minded
- Skilled verbal and written communicator
What a Freelance Paralegal Offers Attorneys
- Monetary savings
- No training responsibilities
- No paid vacations or sick leave
- No need to pay overtime; social security; unemployment; workers’ compensation or general income taxes
- No health or retirement benefit payments
- Greater in-house staff performance
- Less in-house staff overtime and overwork
- Less reliance on temporary staff agencies
A freelance paralegal is often self-employed, which means that the responsibility for health care and tax withholding is up to the paralegal.
A solid financial and business plan must be in place before you begin. Consult with an accountant to decide which business plan is best for you (sole proprietorship, incorporation, LLC, LLP, etc.). It is important to know what licenses, etc., are required by your state, county or municipality.
Many hours of work are spent alone; so, those who enjoy the office environment must be prepared for time spent in isolation.
Develop a marketing plan. Go to U.S. Small Business Administration (http://www.sba.gov/) for great tips. For more practical information about freelance paralegals, check out the following article: http://dorothysecolcla.com/
A law-related knowledge base and paralegal skill set is imperative in any area of law. Credentials are also a necessity. A Paralegal Certificate and national certification or specializations (www.nala.org) will add law-related credibility to your experience!
AIPS 100% Online Paralegal Certificate Program
Applicable and relevant curriculum designed for you!
- Business Law
- Legal Research
- Criminal Law
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- CP (Certified Paralegal) Test Prep Course for NALA CP Exam