One of the hardest things for any business is to get customers. Once you have them, you want to keep them because typically it’s much easier to get repeat business than to bring in someone new. For freelance attorneys, working on a project with a law firm has the potential for a lot of future revenue if you handle it well and impress the hiring attorney. A successful freelance career includes taking these steps:
- Only take jobs you are qualified to do. You may be tempted to take whatever work you can find, but your clients will be able to tell if you know what you are doing. Attorneys won’t appreciate wasting time working with someone who doesn’t have the appropriate skill level. In addition, if your plan is to educate yourself so you can do the project, you won’t be making a lot of money. Time is money so the longer it takes you to complete the project, the less you make.
- Follow instructions. You should be clear on exactly what your work does and doesn’t entail. If you aren’t sure, then ask. If you think something should be done differently, talk to the attorney first to clarify their expectations.
- Communicate clearly and consistently. Ask your clients upfront who to contact at the firm with questions and what is the best way to communicate with them – email, phone, or other method. If you have questions or need information, ask for it promptly. Don’t wait until the last minute.
- Meet deadlines. One of the top reasons that firms look for a freelance attorney is that they don’t have the time to do the work themselves, so meeting deadlines is essential. If an emergency comes up and you can’t complete the work, you must be honest about it and inform the firm immediately – don’t wait. If the work needs to be transitioned to someone else, you need to do what you can to facilitate the transition and give them any work in progress.
- Be professional. You should always be courteous and respectful to everyone you work with or come into contact with no matter their position. Be available when you said you would be available; don’t be late for phone calls or delivering any materials; and provide regular updates.
- Always adhere to the highest ethical standards. As an attorney, you are subject to certain standards regarding your skill, confidentiality and other obligations. Just because you may be working in a freelance role doesn’t mean these ethical obligations go way. If anything, you should strive to adhere to them at an even higher level to impress the hiring attorney.
- Deliver your very best work product. You should aim to exceed expectations. Be thorough, take your time and double check your work. The best way to ensure you will be rehired is to do a good job. It’s your best reference.
Are you considering becoming a freelance attorney? Freelancing provides lawyers with the personal freedom to work when and where they want, on the projects they chose. Learn more about the benefits of freelancing or contact LAWCLERK™ to find out how we can help you build a business as a freelance attorney.