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Overflow Legal (OFL): Will the Pendulum of Power Swing Toward Talented Independent Contract Attorneys?

Lisa Solomon from the and submitted some interesting posts to OFL concerning lawyers acting as independent contractors.  As you all know, we are big fans of contract lawyers, virtual law clerks, and virtual paralegals.  My favorite post submitted by Lisa is “A Contract Lawyer by any Other Name” which talks about how many contract lawyers are suffering in the economic downturn, staffing companies have gone out of business and a $35/hour virtual lawyer rate in New York and Washington isn’t cutting it.

Wow! That’s almost the rate we pay our law clerks! It’s hard for me to believe that contract lawyers in New York are taken $35 an hour for their work.  My guess is that there are two types of contract lawyers.  Those that existed in the pre-internet technology adoption, and the more recent contract lawyers that are popping up all over the country.  The current iteration often makes more than the lawyers do in the law firm itself.  They have the expertise to command a whopping 75-80% of the entire billing rate for themselves. 

Will the pendulum of power swing toward talented independent contract attorneys?  Only time will tell.  But I can’t see why not. 


Virtual law clerk; independent contractor attorney

It is going to have to, at least in the short term, as laid off attorneys scramble for work. The more pressing question is whether independent contractor attorneys will become a sustainable workforce and career path. It is truly a situation where you eat what you kill.

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