About Our Guest
If you are having trouble keeping up with the number of leads coming into your firm then this interview is for you! In this episode, we talk with Kristin Tyler about her company LAWCLERK and how you can get freelance Law Practitioners on a short term or long term basis to keep up with your demand! Enjoy this extended interview from this week’s GNGF Live!
If you are looking for some help and need a freelance Lawyer and decide to use Lawclerck Legal Use Code GNGF2020 to get a $50 Amazon giftcard with your first project!
Kristin and LAWCLERK offer on-demand freelance attornies that can reduce your workload while providing actual value to your business. In this episode, Mark and Kristin talk about the way freelance lawyers will (and have already) changed the legal industry. Freelance attornies are a great option for law firms looking for growth but don’t have the budget yet to grow their team as they are available without the same overhead as traditional staffing. Kristin shines light on the exact firms that will benefit the most from working with LAWCLERK and how anyone can add LAWCLERK to their stable of resources.
– Thanks for joining us, this is our extended interview with Kristin Tyler, the co-founder of LAWCLERK, and partner at Garman Turner Gordon. The first part is videos from our GNGF Live that happens every other Wednesday. The second part here, in this bonus extended interview, we dive into how outsourcing is gonna affect the legal profession in 2020 and beyond, and then Kristin gives specific advice for you if you’re looking to give outsourcing a try. And if you already say the live, I’ll put a time stamp to the exclusive extended interview below, so you can just jump right ahead. Be sure to like and subscribe to follow along with our great conversations on legal marketing and the business side of running a law firm. And to watch this video on your platform of choice, you can find everywhere we stream at GNGF.TV Welcome to GNGF Live, your bi-weekly, ask the experts about all things law firm marketing and business growth. I’m Mark Homer, author of “Online Law Practice Strategies” and founder of Get Noticed Get Found. Today we’re talking with Kristin Tyler, the co-founder of LAWCLERK, and partner at Garman Turner and Gordon. As always, be sure to like and subscribe to our page, not just the video, so you get updated when our next episode goes live, and of course, we would love you to show your love and like the video too. We have moderators on the chat, so please ask questions and interact while we’re live, and if you’re watching this in the future, after we’re live, we do actually monitor comments on Facebook, YouTube, and LinkedIn, and so we’ll work to reach out to our guests and answer any follow-up questions you actually have. And that’s because we love you, and we love getting to meet you in person. So come see us, here’s where we’ll be next, and it’s a busy schedule Joe. So first up, this Friday and Saturday, January 31st and February 1st, I’ll be speaking and helping with hands on work shops at Atlanta’s Legal Tech Reboot Your Firm Summit. In fact Kristin going to be there too. On February 10th and 11th, I’m honored to be invited to Startup Grind in Silicone Valley, as a judge for the U.S. National Competition for the Global Student Entrepreneur Awards. And on February 26th to 28th, Josh and I will be at the ABA Tech Show in Chicago. On March 16th to 18th I’ll be back in Atlanta helping lawyers redesign their practice from the ground up at Lawyerist LabCon. And March 25th through 27th, I’ll be in Denver at the Legal Marketing Associations annual event. April 1st through the 3rd, back by popular demand, GNGF is proud to be joining four other great legal marketing agencies, and to put on the Best Damn Legal Marketing Conference in Vegas, or BEDLAM 2020. Joe that was a great conference last year, we had great feedback, we had to do another one, so BEDLAM 2020, here we are. If you’re interested, reach out to us, Joe you can drop Josh’s email in the chat, and we’ll get a discount code for I think it’s like 200 dollars off. So May 7th and 8th, we’re on the road again in New Orleans, we’ll be speaking in an Advanced Digital Marketing Tactics break out session at the Small Firm Bootcamp, and we can get a link to that one as well. Whew, that’s just the next four months, and Joe that doesn’t even include the webinars, and all the Facebook Lives we’ve got going on. We’ve got some awesome guests coming up for all these Facebook Lives lined up. If you aren’t following our page, you may not have noticed, but we did start a new video series at the end of last year we call GNGF Tips, so check it out on our YouTube page. Joe, do you have a link to the latest video you can throw in the chat? Actually throw in the one with Chris. So I talk about if your law firm marketing’s even working, it’s a good video, and Chris has one on voice search that was great. So definitely put the one on there on voice search. So check them out, we drop a new GNGF Tips video every other Friday. Okay, so today I wanna introduce Kristin Tyler from LAWCLERK. Kristin, thanks for joining us.
– Thanks Mark, happy to be here talking with you today.
– [Mark] So tell me a little about yourself.
– [Mark] Because you’re also a law firm partner.
– [Mark] So it’s not just LAWCLERK, but you wear a couple hats that I know, so tell me a little about yourself.
– Wear a couple of hats, that’s for sure. So my name is Kristin Tyler, I live in Las Vegas, Nevada. By way of background, I’ve been in trusts and estates, a probate lawyer for my entire career. And I’m a partner at a good medium sized firm in Las Vegas. We have about 15 lawyers, and so it’s a good size for out here. You know for some big city folks, not gonna register, but in the West it’s a good size. And about five years ago we left a larger regional firm, started our own firm, a boutique firm, and in that process found a couple of pain points. We found that we missed having extra attorneys around during the busy seasons, big cases, we missed certain areas of expertise. And out of that this little idea for a tech company came, and that company has now since been formally launched into the world. It’s called LAWCLERK, and we’re now entering our third year of business, so we’re really excited. So I’m helping run the startup company, still helping estate clients, on a limited basis, and just trying to do all the things I guess.
– Yeah, and things are going well it seems. I did stop by when I was in Las Vegas last time, and you guys were getting ready to move in the new office space, and growing out, and it’s been fun to watch.
– Yeah, we’re like a real company now Mark. We have our own office and everything.
– And so I met Kristin, gosh, about a year ago I think, and it was, I think about a few months, right after I had had a conversation with a lawyer who was a client of ours, who basically had told us, hey, can you slow down the marketing because we’re getting too busy, and we need to go hire some lawyers. And just can you pause the PBC campaigns, can we, like they wanted to turn off SEO which is kind of impossible. But they basically were too busy, and having to hire people. I wish I had met you about three or four months earlier then, right.
– Me too.
– Because that is a perfect case study for like the type of person who could be taking advantage of LAWCLERK. So I was excited when we met, and I wanted to learn more, so thank you for taking the time to sit down with us here on our Facebook Live.
– Thank you, yeah I wish I would have been too, because I’m sure the last thing you want to do is see all of your hard work in helping build that machine, build that marketing engine, generating new clients, you don’t want to turn it off, that’s the last thing you want to do. There’s other options to deal with that kind of fast growth, and how to scale the firm in a smart way.
– Yeah, so let’s talk about that. So for the benefit of the audience, can you walk through the whole concept behind LAWCLERK.
– Sure, so I like to joke that LAWCLERK is basically Uber for busy lawyers, okay. It’s the same kind of marketplace concept. So what we do is we help connect busy attorneys, primarily solos and small firms, with our nationwide network of freelance lawyers that they can hire on demand, when they need help. That could be on an everyday basis, that could be a once a week, once a month, once a quarter, but regardless of when you need the help, we’re a very flexible way for you to connect with freelance lawyers, and they’re very talented lawyers, we’ll talk about that, to get that help when you need it.
– Awesome, so that would have been a great example for our previous client. But there’s other people, right. So people that maybe like are treating their law firm like a business, maybe a little bit more, or practicing law but want to practice in a certain area, but getting a lot of other cases and stuff. You taught me different examples, and so how can a business minded attorney you know, use a service like LAWCLERK?
– [Kristin] Sure, sure, I like to talk about a couple of our use case scenarios. So we can be a way for you to get help to scale up to eventually hiring someone full time, like a more traditional, actual person, in the office associate, or we can be an alternative to be a long term staffing resource. So, for example one of our top users is this woman in a very small town in Wisconsin. She’s a solo practitioner. From what she’s told us, even if she wanted to hire a traditional associate there aren’t a lot of hiring candidates in her area. And she has a general practice, you know some days she’s dealing with family law issues, some days she’s dealing with real estate issues, criminal, bankruptcy, litigation, and so she really needs to be able to connect with freelance lawyers that have experience and knowledge in each of those different areas, depending on the client and what she needs. So she’s built up a very robust team of freelance lawyers, through our service, that when she gets a new family law client, she taps someone on her family law team and says “Hey, I need you to draft “this property settlement agreement.” And the next day maybe she’s going to have someone on her bankruptcy team to get some sort of a motion. And another day she’s going to someone on the real estate team to get a deed, but it’s such a cool, flexible way for a lawyer like that to get the expertise they need when they need it. And really there’s no one associate you could hire that would have that breadth of experience and knowledge, especially out of the gate, without you doing a lot of intensive training. And that’s one of the really cool things about working with freelancers.
– That’s great, so I mean, I can just imagine, and we’ve talked about this before, like just all the different use cases, right. All the different types of ways you can use freelance lawyers as a law firm. But are there certain, like law firms where LAWCLERK’s a better fit for?
– Well, I wish there kind of was. So we have clients, of course a ton of our clients are solos. Most of our clients are in small firms of nine or fewer lawyers.
– [Mark] Okay.
– We have got a number of clients that have pretty solid medium sized firms, that are really excelling in using us with especially helping manage discovery. But we also are working with a law firm, a national law firm that has 500 lawyers to help staff them on a seasonal need, where they don’t want to hire an associate for the whole year, and have to pay them the whole year, when really they need them about three months of the year for one busy season in particular. So I’m gonna take the answer and say it can fit into any law firm model, regardless of your size.
– How do you see people kind of typically getting started, like what’s their first, usually, connection with LAWCLERK. Like why does somebody kind of say okay I’ve hit this pain point, and then you pick up the phone, and give LAWCLERK a call.
– Sure, so I’m thinking about the lawyers I met yesterday. I met a lawyer yesterday in San Francisco who’s got a great associate who’s going on maternity leave. And so she knows she’s going to need help for a few months while that associate’s out on leave, because it’s just the two of them. And she has immediate needs and litigation. I met another attorney yesterday who had two associates that just quit and left, to go open their own shop and compete. So they’re a fit as well. But really I think it’s someone who knows they need help, but they don’t know where to find it. They’re maybe working more hours than they want to, but they don’t want to pass on the work either. Like that’s the other option is if you’re stretched too thin, you’ve got too much work, like you were talking about with your client, you can pass on the work. You don’t want to do that. And so if you’re falling into any of those categories of wishing you had someone to help get work done, wishing you didn’t have to do a certain type of work yourself, if there’s just work that you’re like I’ve written 17,000 motions for summary judgment, I never want to do it again, that’s a great thing for you to outsource, have someone else get the draft teed up for you, ready to go, just save you hours and hours of work.
– Yeah, and talk a little bit about the freelance lawyers, like what, who are these freelance lawyers, why are they doing freelance work. You know, like I’ve heard a lot of people kind of like why would they do that if they could do it themselves?
– Exactly, and that is kind of the stigma about freelance lawyers is they’re lawyers that couldn’t get a job at a firm, for whatever reason, and so there’s this stigma. But I can tell you that the reality of meeting hundreds of them, we have over 2500 freelancers in our network now, is that a lot of them are very intentionally choosing a different career path. We have people that are taking time off from a full time practice in a firm to help care for elderly parents, sick parents, or young kids. We have military spouses that, the reality of military spouses is they get moved around about every two to three years, typically to rural areas, where there’s not a lot of great jobs, and they also have the licensing restrictions in a lot of states. Some states do have really open licensing rules for military spouse lawyers, but not all of them. So that’s another big category. We’ve got a lot of lawyers that are retired, or semi-retired, that like genuinely love the practice of law, like it’s their biggest passion in life, but maybe now they’re in their 60s and they don’t want to run a full time practice, but they want to come in and do some writing because they love to write. And we also have a lot of solos that will come in and freelance when their own caseload slows down. Because as a lot of people know, the practice can kind of ebb and flow, up and down. And so it’s really interesting to ask, because we see some of our users that have both a freelancer account, and a hiring trade account, and we can tell where they’re at in that cycle, because it’s like okay, he’s on there this week. Like one of our guys was just on there, and he posted a help with some discovery, so obviously he must have got a big case and he’s bogged down with discovery, wants some help. So he’s hiring help this week, but in a few weeks from now he could very well be applying to draft some motions for someone else, if that slows down. So you know, people in a solo practice that are struggling to get some consistency in their business, this can be a way to supplement amidst the ebb and flow.
– I like that, so these are lawyers that are choosing, as you said, choosing to like have this kind of freelance lifestyle for a whole host of reasons. You know I didn’t even think about the military families, I mean that’s, they’re constantly moving around, so how do you put your roots down and put a shingle out, and really build your law firm if you’re moving every few years. But you went to law school, you’ve been practicing law, I mean, like you want to practice law, what a great platform you’ve built for people like that.
– The rural attorneys and
– And we have the big law, yeah we have the big law refuges, I call the big law refugees, who maybe, you know, worked in big law for years, got tremendous experience and training working with high profile clients, saw that they were not going to be making partner, or burned out for other reasons, but they’ve got this tremendous wealth of knowledge and expertise. We have a lot of former big law lawyers that are coming in, like I said, very intentionally now just doing freelance work, they don’t want to manage a practice, they don’t want to deal directly with clients, but they want to help support you with your other needs that they can do in a limited freelance basis. They’re definitely not baby lawyers, they’re not people that can’t get jobs. They’re people that are very intentionally choosing a different path for their own legal career, and it’s exciting to me, as a lawyer, that there’s options out there to allow people to do that, like LAWCLERK. That, yes, they could have been a freelance contract lawyer years ago, but it’s hard to find work, regular work. And a platform like this that connects people nationwide is such a great resource to help match those people up.
– Okay, and what’s fascinating is, you know, you can be 30 years old, build up a law firm, and maybe you’re pretty good at digital marketing, you’re good at your networking and stuff, you’ve built, you’ve got a nice practice, starting to grow, but you have now access to somebody with 30 plus years experience, you know he’s either retired, or like you said big law refugee, or somebody in rural America, who may have super special knowledge that you don’t have in only seven, eight years of practice. And you have access to this now, that’s fascinating.
– It is, it’s so interesting, so. I could tell you stories for days, just tell me if you want more stories.
– So what kind of work, I mean you talked about some things, but what are the typical work that freelance lawyer’s helping with, or I mean, it sounds like, some of your examples were all over, but is there a kind of a 80/20 rule. Here’s things that you typically see on the platform.
– For sure, so our platform is meant to be all of the written work, okay. So through LAWCLERK we’re not helping, at this point in time at least, with any sort of appearance work. That is very locally governed by jurisdiction to jurisdiction. So if you are a lawyer in New York California, Florida, wherever, and you need help covering court appearances, there are services for that, but that’s not us right now. I just want to throw that out there, because that’s another great resource for people that are saying “Hey, I’m too busy, I’m getting bogged down, “I’m sitting in court for days at a time. “I need someone to do appearance work.” Great, go find that resource. But for our platform LAWCLERK, we are meant to help with all of the written work. So think, of course, research memos, think any sort of written document, from a demand letter to a complaint, to motion practice, to settlement agreements, to appellate briefs. We can do anything in between, plus, of course, transactional documents, which we do see a good portion of our work is more transactional based, not litigation. And then of course, if you go talk to a group of litigators, and you ask them what their least favorite part of their job is, the vast majority of them are probably gonna say discovery. And so we do see a lot of really smart lawyers finding ways to outsource some of that really time consuming discovery work. Whether it’s document review and summaries, preparing request or responses for discovery, et cetera, et cetera. And then we also have this kind of other fun category of work that goes through the site where we see attorneys that know they should be updating their blog on their law firm website, but they don’t have time. And so they come in and hire some freelancers to write a group of blogs for them that they can update every week or month, or whatever they want to do, to keep that SEO fresh. So that’s another great resource if you’ve got your listeners out there that are keen into, they known what they should be doing for marketing, but they just don’t have time to do a lot of the content writing themselves. We’ve got some pretty talented writers out there that can even chip in to help with that type of work. So any written work.
– [Mark] Yeah.
– And on the blog side, like these are lawyers, who are able to write, so that’s a lot of concern for people, it’s like well, I want to make sure it’s a lawyer writing the blog content, so that’s a great resource for that. I forgot you’d mentioned that before, that’s awesome.
– So what are some of the advantages to hiring a freelance versus, let’s say I’m starting to grow and I’m like well, do I bring in another associate, you know, cause there’s got to be a trade off there, where I’m either hiring ahead, and really hitting my pocketbook, to hire an associate, or I’m so burnt out by the time I get to affording them. But are there other advantages to hiring a freelancer through LAWCLERK than just going after a couple associates.
– Sure, and I hit on a few of these already, but I think some of the biggest advantages are the fact that a lot of times you can connect with someone who has years of experience, that can jump right into the work without needing you to hold their hands and training them, versus a newer associate. So that level of experience is just really cool. You know, all too often, what I hear from attorneys all over the country is when they hire an associate, traditional associate in an office, they invest in that person for a few years, train them, teach them the ropes, and all too often they end up leaving you after two or three years, to either go work for a competitor, for a couple more bucks, or open their own shop and compete with you in that way. And then you just start the cycle over again. Find a new associate to train, et cetera, et cetera. You know with this model of working with a freelancer, you kind of cut out some of that headache, and also you cut out the overhead. You’re not, especially if you’re trying to build a virtual practice, if you want to work from a home office, this is a much more flexible way to add to your team and get that help without having to pay for office space, and equipment, and furniture, and insurance for these folks. You cut out a lot of overhead, but you don’t cut out the profit, which is great.
– Yeah, it’s great, it’s definitely a good part. So back to that business minded attorney, right.
– So one quick question, from an ethics perspective, you know all the different states have all these different rules, right. Like you guys have dialed all that in, like that’s all fine and good?
– It is, we’ve done a deep dive on that, and for anyone out there who wants to do a deep dive of your own, if you go to our website, LAWCLERK.legal, scroll all the way to the footer, we have an ethics white paper there. It’s a 50 state survey, where we go state by state, plus we go through the ABA model rules, to explain and prove why the model works in all 50 states, and why you’re ethically compliant. But the punch line is that you can work with a freelance lawyer, as long as they work under your direct supervision, and the ethics rules do allow you to bill their time back to your client at a reasonable market rate. And that’s the key test, is a reasonable market rate. So if you’re practicing somewhere, and your hourly rate that you bill clients at is 300 dollars an hour, and you hire a freelancer with less experience than you, you’re obviously gonna be billing them to your client at significantly less than 300 dollars an hour. So, you know, it’s kind of a common sense test, but if you stick to that reasonable market rate, you’re good. And that white paper is available for download, anybody who wants to do their own deep dive and learn more about that go check it out.
– Great, and Joe, we’ll get that and put that in the chat if you can grab that from LAWCLERK.legal, awesome. Okay, so we’re running out of time for the Facebook Live episode here, but before I wrap up, I want to make sure, where can someone find you online, or connect with you online?
– Absolutely, so of course the best place is our website, which is LAWCLERK.legal. Tons of resources on there, we have a pretty robust blog with a lot of helpful things. I also am just loving our YouTube page. If you go to YouTube.com/LAWCLERK, we’ve got a ton of videos on there, answering pretty much any question you could have. Of course we’re on all the big social medial platforms, Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, we even have a really fun Instagram page, if you’re big in Instagram. Our Instagram is @sharkontherun, we have a cute little shark mascot, I should have brought one to have here today.
– I think you’ve given me one somewhere and I don’t have it either.
– Right? Marketing fail here. But yeah, so our sharkontherun Instagram is really fun, check that out, and yeah, that’s the best way, so.
– Awesome, okay so we are about out of time, but I have two or three more questions here, do you mind sticking around for a few minutes?
– And we can post them up on Friday or something.
– Yeah I can do that.
– Awesome, okay. So we’re out of time, I do wanna ask Kristin a few more questions, so if you wanna tune in, I think Joe, we can get this posted out on maybe Friday, right. So we’ll post this on Friday, and you come back I’m gonna be asking some things like how to actually, specifically get started, and also how the freelance market is gonna affect the legal profession in 2020. Kristin and her team being experts in this area, I’m really curious to see, you know, kind of like what’s on the horizon with this market. So we’ve got the way to contact you, we’ll put that in the chat as well. I think you actually had given a code as well, for somebody that can get a discount on something. So I will put that in there, and let’s see I had some notes you had sent me. GNGF2020?
– Yes, if they use, sign up, post your first project, and when that project is completed, we’ll send you out, what did I say on there? I want to make sure I say the right thing.
– 50 dollar Amazon gift card.
– 50 dollars to Amazon.
– After your first project.
– You code GNGF2020, and that would be a special offer for your listeners, because I know their time is valuable, and I appreciate them chiming in to listen to our conversation here.
– Awesome. Thanks for joining us today, be sure to like and subscribe our page, so you’ll get noticed, actually not get noticed get found, get notified when our next episode goes live. And we’re gonna keep going here in the GNGF studios, and if you won’t be with me at the Atlanta Legal Tech Reboot Your Firm Summit on Friday, then be sure to check out the extended interview with Kristin, which we will drop on Friday, where we dive into how outsourcing is going to effect the legal profession in 2020, and then Kristin gives specific advice if you want to give outsourcing a try. Thanks for sticking around Kristin. Now that you’re in the front lines of all of this freelance world and the legal profession, tell me more about kind of where you see, you know, the freelance effecting the legal profession in 2020 and beyond.
– So a couple things I think are interesting on that. First and foremost, really when you think about it what we’re doing is nothing new. Lawyers have hired what they call contract lawyers, for decades. They typically go to someone in their community that maybe from time to time can help out with some extra work, and that’s fine. The challenge with that has always been, well what if they’re not available, what if they really don’t know how to do that kind of work you’re doing. And so we’re overcoming some of those challenges, and making it easier for busy attorneys to connect with freelance lawyers who have the expertise they need, when they need it. So in a lot of ways what we’re doing is not revolutionary. The website makes it easier. And also I think that really a lot of times big law gets certain tools and advantages before small law does. When you look at big law, they’ve had different companies that were doing what we’re doing, but catering towards the big firms, for a long time. And I think it’s time that some of those resources trickle down to small law, to solo, small firms, that’s our target market. We are here for solo attorneys, we are here for the small firms. And if you’re interested in some of the success that big law has had with outsourcing, there’s a really great report put out by Altman Weil. It’s A-L-T-M-A-N, Weil, W-E-I-L. They do a report surveying a number of big law firms, and trends they are seeing there. One of the trends they looked at was the use of contract lawyers, and the success with that. And I don’t know how much time we have, but I’ll get to the punch line. We’re the firms that were using contract lawyers to keep overhead low, they were seeing success in managing overhead, keeping it low, and being very pleased with the results, and the quality of work they’re getting from the outsource freelance lawyer. So I think if it as something that big law is having success with. I am so glad that we can be a part of bringing that as a resource to solo use and small firms. I believe the trends are just that it’s going to continue to grow as a very great business model alternative for attorneys looking for ways to do things better, faster, and more efficient.
– Yeah, and I look at it as essentially LAWCLERK is kind of reducing the friction on all that, right. So you always could do this, but how would I know in my town to go find like the military spouses that are located like up the way here, at the Air force base, or somebody who is an expert in this random, rural, how to deal with cows as property, or something like that, right.
– But maybe there’s somebody in Kansas who can do that, but there’s not somebody here. Like that to me is, is like the cool thing about LAWCLERK, is like reducing the friction for like anybody to kind of come on. I mean we use Upwork for years, and that’s a way to find, you know, like graphic freelancers, developers, content and that stuff. So but before that it was hard, before tools like that, right. So I’m very excited to see how things go as you guys keep helping the small medium sized law firms, because it’s sad sometimes to see people who have such a big heart, and trying to go out and help so many people, struggle on the business side, for things that I really hoped they wouldn’t struggle with, you know, whether that be marketing, you know, some of the stuff we do, access to better talent. Or even like some technology tools and stuff, right. So there’s so much great stuff out there now for small solo lawyers, that it’ll be neat to see what happens over the next few years.
– For sure, it’s really exciting, really exciting.
– And then, you did ask about how much time we have, so we have all the time you need, because this is going to be extended on YouTube, so we’re down with the Facebook Live. But so in fact this is one were maybe you could take the time you need, cause if somebody is saying, “Hey, this is interesting to me, “I’m wanting to figure out how to get started on “using LAWCLERK or finding freelance lawyers and stuff “to help my small solo practice.” Like what other tips do you recommend? Like how do I find this is the right thing to set aside, or how do I get over the fact that, you know, like if I don’t do it, it’s not perfect, and all these things that we go through when we first kind of outsource something.
– Sure, so my advice on that regard is first off, contact us. We would love to talk with you, help explore some of those concerns with you, and the experience that we’re seen with some of our other users. So we’ve got a great support team here at LAWCLERK. Contact us through the email, the phone, we’re happy to help you. But one of the biggest parts of succeeding with outsourcing is managing expectations. And that goes both to the freelancer and to the hirer you train, so if you want to set yourself up for success, you have got to invest the time at the onset to give the freelancer the information they need to succeed. You need to manage their expectations about what they should be doing for you. So maybe that means spending a whole half an hour with them, you know, outlining the issues and the points you think they should cover, whatnot. But you don’t just dump some documents and some really basic instructions on them and expect them to read your mind, cause that’s not going to happen. Unfortunately we haven’t found mind readers in our network yet. So that’s the time to give them all the information they need to do the best possible job for you. Now, when the job is completed and you get the document, maybe it’s a motion or a brief, I always tell attorneys that if the freelancer gets that document about 80% if the way done for you, that’s a home run. That’s what you should expect. You should still expect to spend a good amount of time. Of course, reading it word for word, reviewing it. Adding in additional facts that maybe only you know from the hours you’ve spent with the client, from the maybe months or years you’d spent living the case. But if the freelancer can take a ten hour piece of work, do that for you, get it 80% of the way done, that’s going to save you an entire work day, if not more. That frees up your time to go to court, meet with new clients, work on your business, and that’s all, what it’s all about. It’s leveraging your time to the highest and best use of your time. Once you decide that you’re at the point in your career that you’re highest and best use of your time is not drafting every single document yourself. And so managing your expectations is really the key to success, and hopefully getting you great results.
– So there’s a couple things there. So one is, you mentioned like hey you have to review this stuff, and you’re gonna have to continue working on it. Just based on some of the ethics stuff we talked about a few minutes ago, that’s very key, right? I mean like you are responsible for this, like you are the responsible party for making sure that you’re using a contract resource or whatever. So like, they’re not on the hook, you are as the lawyer, right.
– You’re still signing the document, you’re submitting it to the client or the court, whatever need be, so you’ve gotta make sure you budgeted in enough time on the back end. So if your actually deadline is next Tuesday, maybe you want to have the freelancer give you the first draft, or final draft by Friday, so you have the whole weekend plus Monday to review it and finalize it. You know, manage your time, so that you have sufficient time to meet those deadlines.
– And that’s on the back side, then you mentioned on the front side, it’s very important to kind of like slow down a little bit, and explain exactly what you’re looking for. I’ve talked to people who hire like a office admin, and they get frustrated in the first weeks. It’s like this person doesn’t know anything. You can’t just hand them your QuickBooks and they know how to do it, right. You can’t just tell them here’s the phone and they’re not going to know how to talk about it. You know, you build scripts for somebody who answers the phone, you kind of walk through process documents. You do that when you hire like a full time office admin. So it makes sense that you would take a little bit of time up front, and kind of explain here’s exactly what I’m looking for. Here’s how I approach this, here’s maybe some templates we use, right.
– And you know, like let’s say you’re gonna hire a freelancer to come in and write an appellate brief for you. That’s honestly one of the most common things we see, people are using us for, is appellant briefs. And so if you are at the point that you’re filing an appellant brief, you’ve lived a case for a long time. So a lot of times what we see the attorneys do there is they give the freelancer maybe the docket from the trial, other key motions, key expert reports. Kind of do a little bit of a document dump on them and say hey I need you to review all of this, let me know when you’re through it, and then let’s get on the phone, and lets talk through the issues. Or maybe they go ahead and they outline the key issues that they see for the appeal, but of course they also want to invite the freelancer to give their own legal opinion and perspective, that of course the hiring attorney has the final say on, can override. But we hear from our hiring attorneys all the time that the freelancers actually issue spot additional arguments they could make that the attorney had missed, because they are just so deep in the case. In the midst of the forest, they can’t see outside of the forest, of other issues that could exist. So having an extra set of eyes on that type of work is really valuable.
– Yeah it’s interesting, cause that’s actually a competitive advantage, a lot of times larger law firms will talk about especially in their marketing, in trying to sell the new client, is “Well we have a whole team of people, “So we have other people are looking at your information,” You know, second pair of eyes, that kind of stuff.
– With LAWCLERK now, anybody has that.
– Anybody has that. One of my favorite examples is we have this guy from Kansas that uses us, and he does this pretty regularly. He’ll go in, and then he’ll post the exact same piece of work we call the project, to anywhere from maybe two, to three, to five freelance lawyers. And one of the things he does, commonly, that I think is so cool, is he’ll go in, he’ll post his motion, the opposing parties opposition, he’ll say read the motion, read the opposition, tell me who wins and why. So that he can factor those arguments into his reply brief before it’s due. And so he’ll kind of, in a way, like poll the audience, and go surveying through this group of either two, three, one time he did it with five freelancers, because he didn’t want to miss an issue for his client. I thought that was so cool.
– That’s awesome, that’s great use of it, I mean, it’s almost quality assurance. A lot of people do that all the time, like you know people developer, software developers, right, they pay for multiple people to test things, you’re almost kind of doing that in a legal setting.
– Yeah, yeah, and I think he paid each freelancer like 100 dollars to read these two documents. Like it wasn’t a lot of money.
– And what a much better representation for their client.
– That’s awesome, that’s somebody going kind of the extra mile, I love hearing that story. That’s great. So that’s all the questions I have, is there anything else you want to make sure somebody knows about LAWCLERK that I didn’t ask you?
– Sure, sure, the only thing I just wanted to throw out there is if you’re curious about it, there’s no fee to sign up, there’s no monthly fee. So to be a part of the LAWCLERK Network costs you nothing, and I think it’s great just to go ahead, register for an account, get it set up. That way you’re ready to go if you find yourself in a lurch, and you’re like I really need someone to help me with this. That way you’re just set up, you’re ready to go. Plus once you’re in the system, you’re going to be connected with a dedicated LAWCLERK advisor. This is a team member of ours, we’ve really trained in our system, and the nuances of working with freelance lawyers, and they’re essentially your concierge. They’re gonna be there to hold your hand, guide you through the process, answer questions, you know, LAWCLERK was built by by attorneys for attorneys, we have tried to make it as easy for you to use and to benefit from as we can, because we know that you’re faced with a lot of stresses everyday. If you come up on even one more hurdle in the process of using our site, you’re gonna forget about it, so we really have streamlined the site, we’ve added this advisor role to be there to be your right hand through the process. And try it out with something simple, give it a shot. Chances are you may wish you’d tried it sooner. So that’s my final sales pitch, Mark.
– Awesome, well thank you for being here Kristin, and again that’s LAWCLERK.legal, and we’ll put a bunch of stuff in the chat, or in the show notes, and all that kind of good stuff and depending on the platform. So we’ll make sure we have the link to LAWCLERK.legal, some of the things, research studies that Kristin talked about, as well as that GNGF2020 code. And I’m sure if you’ve watched this you have like a thousand ideas that you could be using a freelance lawyer for, so definitely reach out to LAWCLERK, and if you watch some of the other marketing stuff, and you hear us talk about content all the time, now you know that you could even come up with some of these content ideas we’ve talked about, and maybe outsource some of that as well. So it doesn’t even have to be specific legal work, you could help with your marketing. All right, we’ll see you later.
– Hey what’s up I’m Josh, thanks so much for joining us. If you feel like you learned something today, think of how beneficial it would be to chat with myself, or another one of our marketing consultants one on one. Go ahead and visit our website to schedule your free consultation. It only takes a minute.