Helping lawyers get more work done is our mission at LAWCLERK. Since our inception in 2018, LAWCLERK has become the leading online marketplace for legal outsourcing.
From day one, we have offered Project based help from freelance attorneys on a flat-fee price per project for busy attorneys to get help to power their firms. In January 2021, we rolled out a subscription-based option starting at 30 hours per month for more in-depth, ongoing hiring needs.
By far the feature busy attorneys have most often asked us for is the ability to work with our talented freelance attorneys on an hourly basis.
Well, the wait is over.
Today we would like to introduce you to our new hourly based working option we call Hourly Associate. Hourly Associate is designed to be a flexible tool to help you and your firm to be better lawyers, get more work done and run a better business.
Why Did We Create Hourly Associate?
If you’re already familiar with LAWCLERK, then you likely know the power of working with our pool of thousands of the most talented freelance lawyers to get Project work done. Project based work is typically best for help with things like a one-off contract, a brief, or a research memo.
Our Remote Associate Subscription Program has helped law firms all across the country find fractional associates, to integrate into their firms on a more permanent basis. Subscriptions are best for firms with a steady, predictable level of overflow work they need to assign to a remote associate every month.
Our newest option – Hourly Associate – fits between a Project and a Subscription. Hourly Associates fill the gap between the discrete nature of a single Project and the more permanent solution of a Subscription associate. Hourly Associates give you a flexible option to power your firm when it’s difficult or impossible to predict the amount of time or even the amount of work you need.
What Kind of Work Is Best Suited for Hourly Associate?
Through Hourly Associate, our freelance lawyers can help busy attorneys with on-going written work irrespective of whether it is litigation or transactional. Hourly Associate is perfect when you need help that is more than a single project. Work via the Hourly Associate program should be ongoing work that can fluctuate and be hard to predict, hence working on an hourly basis is the best solution.
At this time, LAWCLERK’s terms of service do not allow Hourly Associates to do work like take depositions or attend court on your behalf. If you need a Remote Associate to more fully integrate into your firm and handle client communications, depositions, or court appearances, check out our Subscription program which does allow for full attorney services.
How Does It Work?
The hiring attorney will log into their LAWCLERK account and post an opportunity for an Hourly Associate. The hiring attorney provides the following information about their needs:
- Area of law.
- Description of the work you need help with.
- Estimate of the length of engagement (i.e. will this be for two months or indefinite).
- Monthly expectation of hours.
- Set the maximum number of hours per week (note: any work beyond your weekly max will require your approval so you don’t get a surprise bill for extra hours).
- Preferred level of work experience.
- Hourly rate (note: this hourly rate incorporates the fee to LAWCLERK).
- Time zone preference.
- Any preference for state bar licensure.
- Foreign language needs.
- One specific question you want applicants to answer when they apply.
This opportunity is then sent out to our network of thousands of freelance attorneys all across the U.S. Interested freelancers will apply. The hiring attorney will review the applicants and select their choice. The Hourly Associate program is a one-to-one working relationship between the hiring attorney and the selected Remote Associate.
Once the two attorneys are connected, the hiring attorney can send assignments to the Remote Associate as needed. The program is a pay as you go system and provides incredible flexibility.
What Does It Cost?
As mentioned above, the hiring attorney sets the hourly pay rate when they post an Hourly Associate opportunity on the marketplace. Once the hiring attorney selects their top applicant, they will pay an evergreen retainer to LAWCLERK.
The retainer to LAWCLERK will be the greater of (i) $2,000, and (ii) the maximum weekly hours (set by hiring attorney) multiplied by the hourly rate (also set by the hiring attorney). The retainer will be evergreen which means it will be reloaded as you pay for work.
The retainer will be replenished every Monday. If you don’t assign any work during a certain week, you will not be charged anything. The Remote Associate logs their time each week so you can monitor their progress and your account.
When Are Payments Processed?
Here’s the billing process and timeline for Hourly Associate.
First, you will put down the initial retainer to start your Hourly Associate account. The retainer to LAWCLERK will be the greater of: (i) $2,000, and (ii) the or maximum weekly hours multiplied by the hourly rate. The retainer will be evergreen which means it will be reloaded as you pay for work. The Remote Associate logs their hours for the week by Sunday.
On Monday of Week Two, the Week One timecard is sent to both the hiring attorney and the Remote Associate for review. The hiring attorney and Hourly Associate need to discuss and resolve any disputes about the Week One hours and email their resolution to email@example.com by Friday of Week Two. Friday is the deadline for any disputes to be submitted.
The Remote Associate is paid for time worked during Week One once the dispute period has passed. Any account adjustments needed for disputes about hours worked during Week One will be made on Monday of Week Three following the Week Two Friday deadline for resolution of disputes.
Here’s a visual to help illustrate the timeline:
Who Can It Help?
The Hourly Associate program can help a variety of law firms. Here are a few examples to illustrate ways you could incorporate an Hourly Associate into your firm.
Imagine taking on a new litigation case where you need some help from a young or mid-level litigator. Some months you might only need 20 hours of help. Later in the case when discovery is booming or you are preparing for trial, you may need 60 or 80 hours of help each month. Your Remote Associate can help you over the span of the case.
Perhaps your firm needs to complete due diligence for a sizable transaction and has thousands of contracts to review over the next 75 days. You could bring in one, two or three (or more) Remote Associates to perform this work in a timely manner on a cost effective hourly basis.
Maybe your firm is at the stage of growth that you are always busy and regularly have overflow work you need help with. The overflow work can ebb and flow and be a bit unpredictable in the midst of your firm’s fast growth. For this unpredictability, Hourly Associate may be a better option for you than Subscription.
The use cases are truly endless for firms that want to be efficient, more responsive to their clients, work faster, and be more profitable.
When Can I Get Started?
So, what are you waiting for? If Hourly Associate sounds like a great fit for the needs of your busy law firm, then log into your LAWCLERK account to get started today.
If you have any questions or need some help, connect with your Dedicated LAWCLERK Advisor. If you aren’t sure who your advisor is or if you haven’t yet registered for an account with LAWCLERK, then feel free to reach out to us by email firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone (888) 479-5728. As always, if you have any questions specific to your practice, we want you to know that the LAWCLERK team is here for you! If you haven’t yet registered for your own account with LAWCLERK, we invite you to book a demo session or check out our Attorney Resources page to learn more!