Actually, freelance paralegal is not that different with the traditional paralegal except for one thing – that is, he or she does not work closely with a lawyer in a customary setting like law firm, governmental unit or company.
Instead, a freelance paralegal is kept on as per project basis by a number of managing lawyers in these areas. That’s why free lance paralegals are often known as contract paralegals. On the other hand, a paralegal or legal assistant is considered as a non-attorney who is employed by a lawyer. Generally, paralegals have a lot of responsibilities to take care of. Their duties include document analysis, filing legal papers for courts, drafting motions, and others. Sometimes paralegals are known by other titles such as legal assistant or legal secretary.
A freelance paralegal may be preserved by an attorney, law firm, or corporation for the sole intention of performing specifically assigned substantive legal job based on per assignment basis. What makes a freelance paralegal different from the usual paralegal or legal secretary lies in the nature of their service, and not on the job or duties that they perform. This is mainly because of the fact that a paralegal has a more advantaged experience in terms of legal expertise and knowledge in any aspect related to paralegal studies.
Usually, the paralegal receives salary or bill for his work or service, whereas the freelance paralegal works on per assignment or contract basis. It only means that a paralegal has greater tendency to be terminated by the firm or organization anytime. But just like any other type of paralegal, the freelance paralegal is maintained at the discretion of a lawyer or a supervising body within the firm or corporation. The majority of freelance paralegals are not similar to independent paralegals for the reason that the latter works separately from a lawyer’s management. But freelance paralegals are often merged with organizations that specialize in delivering freelance paralegal services. But they can also be independent. Most of the jobs or duties of a paralegal are not always needed on full time basis. This is the reason why many organizations turn to freelance services, but on the condition that they will offer a contracted agreement to the freelance paralegals.
What are the Benefits of Being a Freelance Paralegal?
Are you really interested in becoming a freelance paralegal? If yes, then you need to know what it takes to become one. You see, this form of paralegal services takes a lot of strength of mind, firmness, business know-how and of course, the means to keep up yourself in the course of the start-up period. You should understand that doing freelance in paralegal services is so much more than being the traditional paralegal that most people know. Why is that so? It is in view of the fact that it also requires you to become a business owner. And being a business owner, you are responsible for owning and managing your business. There are several things that you need to take care of such as your employees, insurance, assets and liabilities, and a lot more.
Hence, offering freelance paralegal services is not a good idea for someone who has just obtained a paralegal degree. Since doing freelance implies working on your own, it is very important that when you opt to become a freelance paralegal, you are already veteran and experienced in handling legal matters and works involving substantive law, office system and law office supervision. That’s why it is of the essence that you have at least 3 years of work experience in the field in order to offer freelance services. The more experiences and training you have the better chances of becoming a good freelance paralegal.
Just like any other career, those who have chosen to work as freelance paralegal are those who have already experienced working in several corporations, organizations, or law firms. Most of them say that working as a freelancer gives them the advantage of being able to work in flexible hours since they do not have any boss who will oversee and supervise their work. In short, it is you who acts as the supervisor to your own work.
In this day and age, the job of freelance paralegals has evolved into several successful foundations, whether it is in the business, the corporate or legal world. Actually, there are numerous avenues for a freelance paralegal. If you like to engage in this line of work, you can work for industrial companies who specialize in administrative work and you can train the employees for the job at the same time. You may also join in partnership trade that provides a wide array of services including court assistance, legal documentation, and others. If you decide to work as such, you must remember that the companies that you will be working with must be recognized by the National Association of Legal Assistants or NALA, that is if they are situated in the United States. Obviously, there are several employment opportunities for one who wants to become a freelance paralegal.
Overall here are the specific benefits when you work as a freelancer in this field:
- There are many job prospects that are available for you to choose from
- It paves the way for you to get into law school
- It can help you obtain better job opportunities. You can have another job while doing freelance work in being a paralegal
Why Should Clients Opt for Freelance Paralegal Services?
Here are some of the common reasons why clients must consider getting some freelance help through freelance paralegal services:
- There are no problems to worry about the workspace
- You can forward the cost of the paralegal services to the client for refund
- There are training costs that are involved in this work
- No need to purchase supplies or equipment
- You only need to pay on per hour basis
- You don’t need to worry about some taxes to pay such as social security taxes, federal incomes taxes, workers compensation taxes, and unemployment taxes
- There is no vacation or sick leave and overtime pay to worry about
- There is no total commitment since the work is done on per assignment basis
Drawbacks of Freelancing
As a summary, being a freelance paralegal has several benefits. But it also has some disadvantages. One of the major disadvantage of working as a freelancer is the remoteness that you will feel at the start of your job. This is especially true to some people who are used to working in a large corporation or office. Freelancing means that you need to work by yourself. You can choose any field of substantive law you want to specialize in. It depends on you on how you will cope up with the changes that you have to go through in this kind of work setup. There is also the disadvantage of not being able to work on a huge law library where you can find everything that you need. But, in this day and age, you can at least obtain the information that you need by the use of the internet. And last but not the least, when you work as a freelance paralegal, you cannot also enjoy some benefits or work compensation that you used to have when you were working in a large company or office.