Contract attorneys may be engaged in a range of activities, including document review in response to a document subpoena or request for production of documents. For this type of project, attorneys may review millions of pages of documents. The documents will be marked as responsive to as attorney work product or under the attorney-client privilege of responsive to a request. Typically, the incentive to hiring contract attorneys is that they may perform this more at a much more cost-effective rate than their associates.
Additionally, contract or freelance attorneys may conduct legal research, draft briefs and provide other support for the firm. Contract attorneys are usually the employees of a temporary agency. Freelance attorneys will work for themselves and provide services to firms or other legal entities on an as-needed basis.
Both licensed practicing attorneys and recent graduates awaiting bar admission will work as temporary employees in law firms. Generally, temporary attorneys work on a project-by-project basis doing the same type of work as contract attorneys. Contract attorneys typically work on a project-by-project basis and are not full-time law firm employees. They may develop long-lasting relationships with firms or other legal employers who regularly send work to them. Small firms may consider contract attorneys as a way to have flexibility to grow their practice without the overhead of salaried employees.
The Wikipedia definition says that “According to the American Bar Association, law firms can add a surcharge to the fees of their contract attorneys so long as the final fee charged to the client is reasonable. Particularly in a slowing economy, the use of contract attorneys gives firms a competitive edge in the marketplace, helping them to control costs while increasing profitability.”
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