Freelancing has been a regular part of working life in many careers for years. However, it is a fairly new phenomenon for the legal world (until now!). Our profession is on the cusp of a new era, were lawyers can finally be free to work how they want and as they want for the clients they love.

The freelance movement is more broadly coined as the ‘gig economy’. This nomenclature covers approximately 1.3 million people in the UK according to the Chartered Institute for Professional Development [1]. As part of this movement, freelance lawyers will become a huge disrupter in the traditional legal marketplace and it’s about time!

What’s Changed and Why Now?

Change is slow, especially when it comes to legal services. However, the perfect storm of seemingly endless technological developments, financial pressures on #biglaw and deregulation has unleashed the freelancer revolution.

Technology

The nature of work is changing with artificial intelligence, deep learning and process outsourcing all taking centre stage. Some are calling this period the 2nd Machine Age [2]. With all this technological change, comes great opportunity. As long as good WIFI is available, all most lawyers need to work from anywhere in the world is a phone, a laptop and access to a printer / scanner. Co-working spaces have sprung up all over the world to provide just that – to whet your appetite, check out hubud in Bali here and the Ski Locker in Chamonix.

#biglaw is adapting to the pressures technology and high overheads are having and are (finally) waking up to the idea that agile and remote working, well, works. It no longer necessarily makes sense for companies to house thousands of people in expensive glass boxes in EC1.

This ‘new thinking’ is too little too late in light of the changing regulatory landscape.

Deregulation

Huge change is coming right from the top. Change which will shape the legal services market for years to come. Power will rightly be taken away from #biglaw and their ludicrous fees and be placed in the hands of the diligent and talented lawyers doing the work.

The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) is currently consulting on what the Law Society Gazette term as the ‘Uberisation’ of legal services. If the changes are enacted as currently drafted (and it seems that they will be) then qualified solicitors will be able to act for clients without having to be connected with a law firm.

Take a step back, and think about that for a moment. Its a game changer and opens the door wide open to legal freelancing in the purest sense. You can have a read in detail here.

Client & Company Needs

The needs of clients are also changing. Having the ability to scale an internal legal team quickly adds enormous value to an organisation and presents freelance lawyers with fantastic opportunities to work on interesting, high profile projects.

Shift in Mindset

As of July 2017, there are 181,982 solicitors on the roll with 139,638 practising solicitors [3]. When it comes to job satisfaction, lawyers are known for being a little morose. Lance Duroni at Law360 identified that the four reasons associates and senior lawyers hate (his word not ours) their jobs are because of (1) an uncertain path to partnerships; (2) overspecialisation and underdevelopment; (3) the call of moving in-house; and (4) no respect [4].

Partnership in #biglaw is no longer the endgame most lawyers strive to achieve. Instead, time to enjoy all which life has to offer is the new holy grail – taking a sabbatical each year for three months, pursuing other interests and career objectives or just working part time on interesting projects – there are endless possibilities.

How We Will Help?

There is a huge opportunity for forward thinking lawyers to make the freelance leap. Exactly on the terms they want. We are shaking up the legal services market, taking power away from law firms and recruitment agencies and placing it firmly in the hands of the people doing the work.

In time, liquidity on the freelance.legal platform will increase such that if you are a lawyer with a high rating, you will be able to rely on it to deliver work to you on a freelance basis whenever you want and for the fee you deserve. By cutting out expensive middle men, our platform via our proprietary algorithm and matching engine will save clients on fees and allow you to take home more each day. It’s win win.

We are currently in the process of adding business partners and freelancers to the platform. PLEASE help us spread the word and if you are interested, go ahead and join the revolution yourself!

We end this post with a great YouTube video from TEDx:

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[1] https://www.cipd.co.uk/knowledge/work/trends/gig-economy-report

[2] see The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress, and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies, Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee, 20 January 2014

[3] https://www.sra.org.uk/sra/how-we-work/reports/data/population_solicitors.page

[4] 4 Reasons Associates Hate Their Jobs, https://www.law360.com/articles/584300/4-reasons-associates-hate-their-jobs

 

 

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