“What (the Heck) is a Freelance Lawyer Anyway?”

activity board game connection desk

“What (the heck) is a freelance lawyer?” I believe that is a direct quote from my Mom when I told her I had become one. So Mom (and anyone else who might be curious), here is a brief rundown of what freelance lawyering is all about.

As a freelance lawyer, my clients are other lawyers, law firms or in house counsel (in layman’s terms this means the legal departments of companies). I am not employed by these lawyers, law firms or in house counsel but instead, am an independent contractor providing services to them. I have a non-exclusive arrangement with all of them, meaning that I am free to work with others, at my discretion. The type of work varies and timeframes can range from a one-off project, stepping in for a finite period of time while a lawyer is on vacation or acting for the lawyer’s client on an ongoing basis. Sometimes a lawyer will call me because they simply hate reviewing and editing contracts. Not me. That is one of my favourite type of files.

I also provide legal services to “end clients” which in my case are typically online businesses and entrepreneurs. This is the typical legal service model where I report directly to that client and invoice them directly as well. So I guess these two types of roles make me some kind of hybrid freelance/regular lawyer. A “freegular” in Brangelina terms.

Being a freelance lawyer has a lot of advantages – flexibility, working remotely, autonomy (to name a few) but also has its challenges – no fixed income, no job security and no colleagues down the hall to discuss the latest legal developments and/or the latest episode of the Bachelor (to name a few).

Despite the risks involved with being a freelance lawyer, it is a career that is immensely fulfilling. I get to practice the areas of law that I want to practice, with clients I enjoy and on my schedule. And being my own boss is pretty cool too!

Hopefully this post has helped to shed some light on what freelance lawyering is all about. Mom, if you’re still unsure, just give me a call!

What (the Heck) is a Freelance Lawyer Anyway?

activity board game connection desk

“What (the heck) is a freelance lawyer?” I believe that is a direct quote from my Mom when I told her I had become one. So Mom (and anyone else who might be curious), here is a brief rundown of what freelance lawyering is all about.

As a freelance lawyer, my clients are other lawyers, law firms or in house counsel (in layman’s terms this means the legal departments of companies). I am not employed by these lawyers, law firms or in house counsel but instead, am an independent contractor providing services to them. I have a non-exclusive arrangement with all of them, meaning that I am free to work with others, at my discretion. The type of work varies and timeframes can range from a one-off project, stepping in for a finite period of time while a lawyer is on vacation or acting for the lawyer’s client on an ongoing basis. Sometimes a lawyer will call me because they simply hate reviewing and editing contracts. Not me. That is one of my favourite type of files.

I also provide legal services to “end clients” which in my case are typically online businesses and entrepreneurs. This is the typical legal service model where I report directly to that client and invoice them directly as well. So I guess these two types of roles make me some kind of hybrid freelance/regular lawyer. A “freegular” in Brangelina terms.

Being a freelance lawyer has a lot of advantages – flexibility, working remotely, autonomy (to name a few) but also has its challenges – no fixed income, no job security and no colleagues down the hall to discuss the latest legal developments and/or the latest episode of the Bachelor (to name a few).

Despite the risks involved with being a freelance lawyer, it is a career that is immensely fulfilling. I get to practice the areas of law that I want to practice, with clients I enjoy and on my schedule. And being my own boss is pretty cool too!

Hopefully this post has helped to shed some light on what freelance lawyering is all about. Mom, if you’re still unsure, just give me a call!

A Day in the Life of a Freelance Lawyer

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As with most legal positions, no day as a freelance lawyer is ever quite the same. Here is a snapshot of a random day in my life as a part-time freelance lawyer.

5:30 am: I am not one of those people who presses the snooze button for another 45 minutes of shut eye. My alarm goes off and I am up. I figure part of this is because I never know when one of my kids is going to wake up so I might as well get going before chaos breaks out. I get dressed, check my emails and finalize and send out a freelance agreement to a new client. Believe it or not, there is no coffee for me. Ever. It’s just not my thing.

6:45 am: My little people are now rolling out of bed. This means it’s time to get breakfast ready (omelettes), get the kids dressed, make lunches and help my son fill loot bags for his upcoming birthday party.

8:40 am: I walk the kids to school. This is one of my favourite times of the day (especially now that the weather is warm). On this particular walk we discuss fossils and how they are made.

9:15 am: Gym. This is my “me time”. No work, no kids, no distractions. I then head home to shower and get to work (I have a virtual office and tend to work primarily from home).

10:30 am: I tackle a new file today: drafting a GDPR compliant privacy policy as well as researching best practices from a GDPR perspective for a company that processes a large amount of data. During this time, I put my phone and all other temptations and distractions away. I put my head down and focus on the task at hand.

Noon: I pick up my youngest from preschool. Now this is my favourite part of my day. She lights up when she sees me and gives me the biggest hug. Ahhhhhhhh, lucky me. We walk back home where I give her a snack and then she is off to bed for her afternoon nap. I then prepare lunch (shrimp and leftover veggie salad) and sit down with my husband (who also works from home) for a quick lunch.

1:00 pm: I continue on with the GDPR research outlined above. I also take care of some administrative tasks: confirm details of a conference call taking place later today, RSVP to a breakfast networking event and confirm client instructions on a file.

3:00 pm: My daughter is up and ready to go. We hang out for a bit before heading out to pick up the big kids from school.

3:20 pm: School run.

4:10 pm: Hang out with the kids. Today we are reading books and talking about what they did at school that day. Apparently my son was involved in an “epic” game of dodgeball. He tells me about every play in detail.

4:30 pm: My husband takes over with the kids while I jump on a conference call. It is a group call with a firm that is planning to offer legal services through independent contractors, such as myself. I really think it is a great time to be an entrepreneurial minded lawyer. There is so much possibility and freedom to work in a non-traditional way than ever before.

5:45 pm: After the call, dinner is literally being put on the table. Yay for me! Hubby has made tacos with guacamole. Our dinner conversation with the kids revolves around birthday party plans, different types of cows and whether brown cows actually produce chocolate milk (some of us are still undecided on that one) as well as a vote on what food you like best among ice cream, pizza or smoothies (that’s a tough one for me but I think depending on where it is from I would have to go with pizza. It would have to be pizza from Windsor because it is the best).

6:15 pm: Tidy up the path of destruction that has been left behind by the kids. One of my kids was stuck with laundry for a chore this week so I showed him how to fold the clothes and put them away.  I am pretty sure he pretended that it was too difficult so I ended up doing most of it. In the meantime, my husband helps the other with his homework and the youngest with making sure she didn’t stick her fingers in any electrical outlets.

7:00 pm: Bedtime for the kids.

7:15 pm: Grocery store run.

8:00 pm: One of my clients has reached out with a merchant contract that needs to be reviewed from a Canadian perspective. I send her a quote for my services and continue drafting the privacy policy I was working on earlier in the day.

9:30 pm: I can’t lie. I record the Bachelorette weekly and am a die hard fan. No shame. Time to sit back and enjoy!

11:00 pm: Off to get some shut eye (with visions of fossils, brown cows and loot bags dancing in my head).