There are many different types of paralegal work, providing a wide variety of employment opportunities for anyone considering this profession. However, for paralegals who are extremely motivated and have good business sense, one of the most attractive options is becoming a freelance paralegal.
Where some paralegals will be employed by and work in law firms, freelance paralegals are business owners who work out of their own establishments. Working as a freelance paralegal comes with many advantages, especially for those looking for increased work access. If you’re interested in becoming a paralegal and are considering working freelance, you should learn more about this profession to see if it’s right for you.
The Basics of a Freelance Paralegal
The best way to think of a freelance paralegal is as an on-call professional. Unlike other paralegals who will work exclusively with one law firm, freelance paralegals will work for whomever requests their services. This often leads freelance paralegals to work for multiple firms and attorneys at a time, increasing their employment and earning opportunities.
Freelance paralegals are commonly hired by firms or attorneys that don’t possess an in-house paralegal team. When you work as a freelance paralegal, it is likely you will build long-term relationships with some of your clients while others you will only work for on one occasion.
Job Tasks and Career Requirements
Other than the way in which they’re hired, freelance paralegals are responsible for the exact same legal tasks as regular paralegals, just in a part-time capacity. A freelance paralegal can either work out of their own office or at the law firm that requested their services and will work alongside an attorney. Common tasks of a freelance paralegal can include filing documents in court, performing legal research, summarizing court transcripts and writing correspondence.
The basic requirements to work as a freelance paralegal are the same as a standard paralegal. Primarily, you will need to have earned a paralegal studies degree. However, freelance paralegals are business owners, which means you will need to be eligible to start a business in whatever state you plan to work.
Advantages and Disadvantages
The biggest advantage of becoming a freelance paralegal is that you will have the freedom to direct your career in whatever way you wish. You can take only the jobs that you are interested in or are profitable, and can step away from your career whenever you need to. This makes working as a freelance paralegal an attractive choice for anyone who isn’t interested in the confines of a typical legal profession.
Unfortunately, the biggest advantage of working as a freelance paralegal is also its biggest weakness. Whereas regular paralegals have full-time employment in a law firm, freelance paralegals must wait until a law firm requests them. This can lead to periods where you have no work, especially at the beginning of your career. You will need to build a strong client base to prevent these slow periods and maintain your earnings.
Become a Freelance Paralegal
If you believe you have a high-level of business acumen and are a self-starter, then becoming a freelance paralegal may be the right choice for you. When you work as a freelance paralegal, you’ll be in total control of your career and can work with a wide variety of law firms.