“Project-Based Attorneys Make More Sense Than Ever” according to a recent article in The Legal Intelligencer. The article recognizes that the use of highly skilled project-based attorneys is on the rise, citing a recent survey by The Legal Intelligencer which found that 54 percent of the Columbus law firms that use project-based attorneys hired more of them in 2010 than in 2009, a 38 percent increase from the prior year.

The article also notes the win-win-win situation that results from an increased use of project-based attorneys: “The profession will be able to offer more options to those choosing law as a career; those that provide legal services – both law firms and legal departments – will have greater flexibility when it comes to managing their businesses; and clients will have a broader array of offerings to choose from (in terms of cost, timing and skill sets).” 

The legal industry has been slow to keep up with a general business trend to utilize temporary or independent workers as part of an overall workforce plan.  But more firms are relying on temporary attorneys to handle complex matters, fill temporary needs such as maternity leaves, and to expand expertise to better serve their clients. 

The economy has fueled the trend toward an increased use of freelance attorneys.  On the one hand, there are many highly-skilled, experienced lawyers in the market.  On the other, many firms and in-house legal departments have been forced to downsize leaving them short-staffed in certain areas.  As I’ve previously discussed here, the use of temporary or project-based attorneys can be much more cost-effective than hiring a permanent employee.  Therefore, freelance attorneys help to fill a need without burdening an already stretched budget.    

The increase in project-based attorneys has also resulted from a desire by many lawyers to have a more flexible work schedule.  Many freelance attorneys from law office of robin jacobs work on a part-time basis to have more time for family or fulfill a desire for a better work-life balance.  No matter what the reason, the future looks brighter for highly-skilled attorneys who offer their knowledge and experience to other firms on a freelance basis.