How To Become A Freelance Paralegal
In general, it is easiest to freelance after you have gained some experience and contacts in an on-site paralegal position. Assuming you have all of the required licensing and qualifications to be a paralegal, it is a matter of deciding that you have the office facilities to work from home and the financial support or savings to last until you start bringing in money from freelancing. You have two basic options for freelancing: you can go out on your own, finding clients and doing work for them as needed or you can sign up with one of several networks that connect freelance paralegals with clients in need of paralegal services.
Each of these has its pros and cons. Freelance networks are good when you need access to more clients but they often pay less than established freelance paralegals can charge directly.
They are a good option if you do not have an established network of contacts. Going solo and networking with previous contacts is the best when you are first starting out your freelance career. These people know you and your work and you are likely going to be able to negotiate a reasonable rate with them based on the fact that they know what they are getting. Going solo and marketing your services without a network is the hardest as it requires hours of work and results may be slower. You are more in control of your rates and the contracts you take, however many see less consistent work this way.
Freelance Paralegal Services
Much of your work and responsibilities as a freelancing paralegal will be the same as those provided by a paralegal in a physical office setting. Preparing case documents, case research, legal transcription, pleadings and correspondence are some of the duties of the paralegal.
One of the pros of freelancing as a paralegal is that you are able to choose which contracts you want, which clients you want to work with and when you want to take time off. On the con side, due to less consistency of work sometimes you might feel pressured to take on contracts that you would rather not accept because you would rather work than have the downtime.
Freelance Paralegal Work[widgets_on_pages id=”Paralegal Search”]The biggest difference you will see as a freelancer is that much of the job is not focused on paralegal work only; to be successful you need to be able to handle the business work as well. This means marketing and advertising, sales, accounting, logistics, and other critical functions to ensure both workflow and that you are properly handling your business with regard to the law in your area.
There are big positives to freelance work as a paralegal. The schedule is flexible; you can be very selective about what you want to do. Some specialize in a certain area of law while others focus on certain specific tasks among those a paralegal is called upon to perform. The downside of specialization can be missing out on clients that are looking for a full-service paralegal. But the good thing about freelancing is you can always change your mind and go full-service.
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Freelance Paralegal Feature Photo Credit: ups2006