Freelance paralegals have many similar advantages and disadvantages when working for themselves as other types of freelance professionals. Paralegals, often used synonymously in many states with legal assistants, offer legal support to attorneys in areas in which they have specialized education, training or work experience. Working freelance is a good fit for some paralegals based on the balance of pros and cons.
Freelance paralegals are not tied down to one office or one attorney. They can pick and choose the work that best fits their experience. They also have the freedom to take time away as needed because they are under no particular obligation to any office. They can charge their own rates based on how much their time and skills are worth and how much the market is willing to pay for their assistance.
One of the best advantages for a freelance paralegal is that he can market his business effectively to attorneys that want to hire paralegals without a long-term commitment. Along with marketing a variety of niche areas of service and expertise, paralegals can market themselves to attorneys by offering flexibility in the way of short-term or longer-term arrangements, on call, per day, per week, per month or other options.
In the same way that freelance paralegals have flexibility, they also face instability in workload. If attorneys do not have adequate work available or if the action is light, income may become inconsistent and work patterns hard to predict. Paralegals that work on a regular schedule with an attorney have the stability of knowing the work is available and they can typically count on a consistent income.
Small Business Costs
Freelance paralegals often incur many of the same costs as other types of small business owners. Some of the main costs include health, dental and other types of self-employment insurances, since no full-time employer is providing these insurances. Additionally, the freelance paralegal has to market his services, perhaps pay for office space to conduct work and organize files and pay for other office supplies and professional supplies not covered as part of a working arrangement.
Neil Kokemuller has been an active business, finance and education writer and content media website developer since 2007. He has been a college marketing professor since 2004. Kokemuller has additional professional experience in marketing, retail and small business. He holds a Master of Business Administration from Iowa State University.