*Originally posted on Flex Legal by Heather Cross
While more and more law firms and in-house legal departments are using freelance lawyers for their overflow work, we are still often asked “What is a freelance lawyer” and “Why would I use one?” To help answer these questions, Heather Cross, a freelance lawyer with Canadian based freelance network, Flex Legal, wrote this helpful blog post “Seven Reasons to Hire a Freelance Lawyer.”
We have loved getting to know Flex Legal’s founder, Erin Cowling, and have enjoyed watching Flex Legal grow and become Canada’s top freelance lawyer network! We are excited to republish the post here:
Seven Reasons to Hire a Freelance Lawyer
1. You need an associate, but not all of the time.
A freelance lawyer can act as your associate down the virtual hallway. Freelance lawyers can be a sounding board, perform legal research, prepare documents or edit your documents, but you don’t have to provide them with an office, a regular salary or steady work. They are just there when you need them. 
2. You are not a bookworm (but we are).
You didn’t get into law to spend hours with your nose in a book or glued to a screen. You want to be in court, meeting clients and being part of the community. However, high-quality legal research and writing are an indispensable part of a successful legal practice.
Believe it or not, there are lawyers out there (like us) who actually enjoy scouring Westlaw for that gem of a case or spending a quiet afternoon typing out a factum. Hire them to help you out and you will be free to spend as much time out and about as you’d like.
3. You don’t know everything.
No one does. The legal world is a complex one, full of niche specialties. There is no way a lawyer can maintain a good understanding of every area of the law. When you run into an area in which you lack experience, hiring a freelance lawyer with the requisite expertise can make you look like a pro. 
4. You want a competitive advantage.
You are juggling a million things, and chances are, whoever is acting for the other side is too. But you have an ace up your sleeve—a freelance lawyer who has time and energy to devote solely to developing a winning case for you and your client.
5. You want a life.
Looming deadlines, demanding clients, family obligations, and that pesky human need for food, exercise and sleep make running a legal practice challenging. Hiring a freelance lawyer can take some of the pressure off.
Don’t have time to prepare those application materials because you are in court all next week on another matter? No problem, hire a freelance lawyer to take care of it and you can focus on the case at hand.
Who knows? If you build a good relationship with a lawyer you trust, you could even go on vacation, knowing your work is in good hands while you are away. Mexico, anyone?
6. You want to grow your business.
A freelance lawyer can help you grow your business by:
- taking care of many of the “behind the scenes” activities of your legal practice, making you more available for those things that attract business such as spending time with clients, serving on boards or giving lectures;
- assisting you in preparing articles for publication or papers for presentation at conferences;  or
- taking care of your content marketing by creating and updating your website content, producing high-quality blog entries that showcase your legal knowledge and successes and taking care of your social media content.
7. Your clients can’t afford you.
If you have clients who struggle to cover your retainer, hiring a freelance lawyer can make your services more affordable and thus more attractive. Because freelance lawyers have lower overhead, they tend to charge less than the average lawyer. If you hire a freelance lawyer to take care of portions of your clients’ work and pass the savings on to your clients, they will find the process much more reasonable and be happy to pay your hourly rate to conduct the big trial or negotiation. Offering an affordable legal solution can help you attract and keep clients who would otherwise be unable to afford your services.
 If you are sole practitioner or in a small firm, having another person “on-call” can also makes potential clients feel more confident that you will be able to handle their matter.
 For example, if you need assistance with a criminal appeal, I am a great resource. I have worked on criminal appeals to the Ontario Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court of Canada for the past five years.
 Or, what the heck, just hire them to write the whole article or paper.
Flex Legal and Heather Cross
Heather Cross has been running her own business as a freelance lawyer since 2010. The majority of her work has been been preparing factums and application materials for cases going before the Supreme Court of Canada and the Ontario Court of Appeal. Prior to starting her own business, Heather worked as a legal analyst for the Cornwall Public Inquiry. Heather articled at a firm that practiced in the areas of civil litigation, real estate and wills and estates.
Based in Canada, Flex Legal, provides lawyers with quality outsourced legal services. Their freelance lawyers provide assistance to sole practitioners, law firms of every size, and in-house counsel.
If you are interested in finding out more about Canadian freelance lawyers and their work, feel free to contact Erin Cowling at [email protected].
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