FAQs Hiring Lawyers
WHAT IS A FREELANCE LAWYER?
A freelance lawyer assists other lawyers, law firms, and in-house legal departments on an hourly, project, contract, or part-time basis. They act as independent contractors and in an “on-demand” capacity. Freelance lawyers only work with other lawyers and do not take on end-clients directly.
While each freelance lawyer has his or her own reasons for choosing this career path, all of our lawyers appreciate the flexibility that freelance lawyering provides while still being able to engage in challenging and interesting legal work.
HOW DO YOU ASSIST SOLE PRACTITIONERS, FIRMS, AND IN-HOUSE LEGAL DEPARTMENTS?
Our freelance lawyers are all pre-screened, highly qualified, and experienced (5-10+ years). Flex Legal lawyers are a resource for law firms and lawyers who are being pressured to re-evaluate their costs and fees charged to end-clients. Our freelance lawyers provide a cost-effective solution to cover overflow work or provide lawyer assistance with a particular expertise, but only when needed, and with no overhead costs. Outsourcing to a Flex Legal lawyer also allows our clients to temporarily expand their practice when there is a surge of work and contract their practice when the work is done. Our freelance lawyers assist on an hourly, part-time, contract, or project basis.
As our lawyers have diverse legal experiences and backgrounds, they can assist in a variety of ways from contract review and due diligence, to legal research and court attendances, as well as with legal project and knowledge management. A full list of our services and the work you can outsource can be found here.
ARE YOU A LAW FIRM?
No, Flex Legal Network is not a law firm. Flex Legal is a freelance lawyer platform (but was founded and is run by a lawyer, so she gets it!) Flex Legal helps lawyers, law firms and in-house legal departments outsource their overflow legal work to a network of freelance lawyers who are independent practitioners.
Flex Legal's lawyer and law firm clients enjoy the benefits of the network as a 'one-stop' shop to find freelance lawyers to meet their business needs. Our Flex Legal lawyers are independent and do not constitute a law firm among themselves.
WHAT IS YOUR PROCESS FOR VETTING THE LAWYERS?
In general we require our freelance lawyers to be at a minimum 5-10 years post call and have experience at a reputable law firm and/or as in-house counsel.
Prior to accepting a freelance lawyer into our network, each lawyer has an in-depth interview with at least two members of our management team, including Flex Legal's founder, Erin Cowling, to ensure that they have the requisite experience, but as importantly, that they are a fit in personality and align with our Flex Legal values and Flex Legal client expectations. In addition to interviewing our Flex lawyer candidates, we also require two references and a writing sample.
WHERE ARE YOUR LAWYERS LOCATED?
Currently we have lawyers who have been called to the bar in Nova Scotia, Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, & British Columbia. However, our lawyers work remotely across Canada.
(Our freelance law clerks are all located in Ontario. However, we are always working to expand our network throughout Canada.)
WHAT IS THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE FREELANCE LAWYER AND THE LAWYER OR FIRM THAT HIRES THEM?
Flex Legal freelance lawyers are engaged directly with the sole practitioner, law firm, or in-house legal department as independent contractors in their individual capacity. In other words, you do not retain Flex Legal. Flex Legal is a freelance platform that markets, networks, and provides business development services for our freelancers. For more information see our Terms & Conditions.
WHAT ARE YOUR RATES & HOW DO I BILL OUT THE COST OF FREELANCE LAWYERS TO MY CLIENTS?
Each Flex freelance lawyer sets their own fees or rates depending on the nature and the scope of the work requested. However, Flex lawyers competitively price their services below market rates so you can protect your margins. Our Flex lawyers have reasonable hourly rates (from $125 - $300+/hr, depending on their level of experience) or offer fixed, flat, and per word rates (for blog & conference papers).
There are several options on how to recoup and even mark-up a freelance lawyer's fees when billing them out to your client. For the short answer see our blog post "The Ethics of Freelance Lawyering: Marking-up Fees". For the long answer (with research & analysis) please see our "How To Guide: Billing Out & Marking-Up Flex Freelance Lawyers' Fees to Clients"
DO I, AS THE HIRING LAWYER, REMAIN ON RECORD?
Yes. The client and the file remains with you as the supervising lawyer and solicitor of record.
WHAT ABOUT CONFLICTS AND CONFIDENTIALITY?
To avoid the potential for conflicts of interest to arise with your file, Flex Legal does not hold or have access to any confidential information or documentation relating to the matters worked on by the Flex Legal freelance lawyers.
Just as you, the hiring lawyer, must run conflicts checks, our Flex Legal lawyers individually run checks and monitor for any potential conflicts which may arise as a result of work which they have previously carried out.
DO I HAVE TO TELL MY CLIENTS THAT I AM OUTSOURCING WORK TO A FREELANCE LAWYER?
Yes. You cannot share your client's information without their consent. However, this is a great opportunity to explain to your client the benefits and cost-savings when engaging a freelance lawyer. Hiring a freelance lawyer will let you outsource some of the work at a lower rate and free up your time to focus on certain aspects of your client's file that require your attention. Clients appreciate that hiring a freelance lawyer helps you effectively and efficiently handle their case. We have sample wording for your retainer and a sample letter you can send to your clients seeking their consent in our guide to billing out and marking up freelance lawyers' fees.
ARE YOUR LAWYERS INSURED?
Yes. All Flex Legal lawyers are Canadian licensed and insured lawyers. They are insured as sole practitioners through LawPro (or their applicable professional insurer) and are in good standing with the Law Society of Ontario (or other applicable law society if located in another Canadian province).
I AM A LAWYER AND I WANT TO HIRE A FREELANCE LAWYER TO ASSIST WITH MY OVERFLOW WORK, WHAT DO I DO?
FAQs Freelance Lawyers
WHO CAN JOIN FLEX LEGAL?
Flex Legal welcomes lawyers who have the "Flex Factors": a minimum of 5 years of practice, experience at a top firm and / or in-house legal department, an entrepreneurial spirit, a commitment to excellence, and an emphasis on quality client service.
All Flex Lawyers must be called to the bar in a Canadian province.
DO I HAVE TO PAY A MEMBERSHIP FEE TO JOIN FLEX LEGAL?
No! There is no up front fee or ongoing subscription or membership payment to join Flex Legal, it is completely free to join.
Flex Legal is only compensated once: a) we have successfully matched a freelancer with a hiring lawyer or law firm, b) the work is completed, and c) the freelancer is paid. Flex Legal bills the freelancer for a percentage of the freelancer's final invoice (exclusive of taxes & disbursements).
WHO DECIDES MY RATE AS A FREELANCER?
All of Flex Legal's freelancers set their own rates, whether that be hourly or a flat fee. We provide a free guide to our freelancers on our Members Only page with the best tips on how to set your rate and quote a project.
How much work will I get?
We must give you a lawyer answer: "It depends" :)
The volume of work depends on the type of projects that come in, your legal experience, your availability, and the needs of the Hiring Lawyer.
Becoming a member of the Flex Legal Network is an ideal opportunity for lawyers who have already established their freelance practice and are looking for additional work, or lawyers who are new to freelancing and have other responsibilities or interests in life that are not compatible with the working hours of a regular law firm or general counsel role. Joining Flex is also a good match for lawyers who may have stepped back from the practice of law for a few years and wish to gradually re-enter the workforce by working on a project basis.
It is not a full time job and Flex does not guarantee and cannot provide any assurance of the quantity of potential projects sent to you. But, on the other hand, you are under no obligation to take on any project Flex Legal may send to you.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF JOINING FLEX LEGAL NETWORK?
Like the legal work but don't like hustling for it?
Flex Legal is a business development option for freelancers looking for more freelance work but need help finding it. Flex Legal promotes the freelancers who are part of our network and their services to lawyers and law firms across Canada. This is done through a variety of manners, including: digital, online and social media marketing; print advertising; content marketing; law firm “pitch” meetings; promotions through speaking engagements, including guest appearances on podcasts, webinars and panel discussions; etc.
When we receive a request from a lawyer/law firm for help with a project, Flex will collect key information about the work before sending the opportunity to freelancers whose experiences best match the project. We will then facilitate an introduction between the freelancer and hiring lawyer or law firm.
There are no minimum hours or projects. With Flex Legal you have total control over work, the number of projects you take on, the type of projects you take on, and the lawyers and law firms you work with.
Flex also provides freelancers with resources, tips, and guidance through our Members Only page and we offer FREE online webinars (often approved for CPD hours) a few times a year.
CAN I WORK FOR OTHER FIRMS/SOMEWHERE ELSE IF I’M APART OF THE FLEX LEGAL NETWORK?
Yes! As a Flex Legal freelancer, you are not an employee, but a member in our network. Lawyers who join Flex Legal have their own individual businesses and are free to make their own business decisions.
I AM A LAWYER AND I WANT TO BECOME A FLEX LEGAL FREELANCE LAWYER, WHAT DO I DO?