Have you scheduled an initial call with a potential lawyer client? That’s great, but you still have a long way to go before the work can begin.
As a freelancer, it is normal to book several initial calls or interviews with busy lawyers or law firms but only see a few of them translate into actual paying clients. Likely, you are one of many candidates the hiring lawyer is interviewing. Or they are not yet convinced that a freelance lawyer is right for their firm.
While this can be frustrating, and you may never book %100 of the potential freelance gigs, there are things you can control to improve your conversion rate. Keep reading to learn how you can convey to other lawyers the advantage of a freelance lawyer and why you are the best person for the job.
A QUICK SUMMARY
I cannot stress this enough: research the lawyer or law firm client. Interviewing lawyers know when you haven’t taken the time to do the research, and it is an immediate red flag. Even if you do not have a lot of time, do a quick scan of their website and gather the following information: where are they based; what areas of the law do they practice; how big are they; and what are their values/what is the firm culture. If you have more time, you can look the lawyer up on LinkedIn and see if you have anything in common. This will immediately impress the interviewing lawyer and set you up for success.
YOUR SKILLS: WHAT ARE YOU GOOD AT AND HOW ARE YOU GOING TO ASSIST?
This first call should be treated like any other job interview, so it is no surprise that you are going to be asked about your legal experience and skill set. As a lawyer though, you probably have a lot of it, and it would be unproductive to tell your whole story since law school. Instead, focus on key experiences and skills that are relevant to the firm and the work they want to outsource.
In general, get ready to highlight the following:
Your freelance experience.
Busy lawyers might be wary of hiring freelance lawyers and will want to see how you have made it work in the past. To do so, highlight your freelance experience, particularly the work you have done on similar projects or with similar firms. If you have testimonials, this is a great time to bring them up!
Your ability to work remotely.
Most freelance lawyers work remotely. While lawyers are no longer strangers to remote working arrangements, you will still find some lawyers who are skeptical of the whole idea. Even those who are open to it will have questions about how it will work for their firm. Therefore, be prepared to talk about what tools you use when working remotely. For example, how do you communicate securely? How do you share files? etc.
Any previous remote work experience would also be helpful to bring up to assure the lawyer that you are comfortable with and prepared to work independently.
Your communication skills.
When working as a freelance lawyer, communication is the key to success. Your lawyer client wants to be assured that you will be accessible when they need you. Get ready to talk about how you prefer to communicate (email, text, phone, etc.) and how fast you respond to emails and phone calls.
However, boundaries are just as important and you should communicate and set expectations upfront. For example, if you do not answer emails during the evening or on weekends, communicate that clearly to the lawyer client. The potential lawyer client should be assured that you will not ghost them or leave them without a response for a long time.
How you manage your time.
Working with a freelance lawyer requires a lot of trust. The lawyers and law firms you work for need to be able to trust you to do good work and get it done on time, without micromanagement.
Get ready to talk about how you manage your time (using concrete examples) and the importance of deadlines. If you have other work commitments, talk about how you will juggle multiple clients at once.
Other than your skills and experience, the interviewing lawyer will want to work out some logistics before proceeding. Here are some common questions you should be prepared to answer:
HAVE WRITING SAMPLES AND REFERENCES PREPARED
Finally, don’t be surprised when they ask you for references and writing samples after an interview. If you do not have them ready, you will only delay the process.
The references you send should be able to speak to the above skills and experiences, such as a superior from a past legal position. Ideally, one of your references is another lawyer you did freelance work for.
As for a writing sample, try to send them something that is in their field of law, with confidential or sensitive information redacted.
Being a freelance lawyer is an amazing flexible work arrangement, but it requires doing all of the leg work yourself, including marketing and responding to often empty inquiries.
If you are struggling to find lawyer clients, then consider joining a freelance lawyer network, like Flex Legal. Flex Legal will do all of the marketing for you and send you qualified leads to connect with. Flex is also there to support your freelance career so that you go into every client interview prepared and confident.
See if you are a good candidate for Flex Legal here.
By Maggie Piper, Client Services Manager
The foregoing provides only an overview and does not constitute legal advice. Readers are cautioned against making any decisions based on this material alone. Rather, specific legal advice should be obtained.
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