Contract attorney

contract attorney is a lawyer who works on legal cases on a contract basis. Such work is a temporary nature, often with no guaranteed employment term.

A contract attorney is

An attorney hired by the law office for a specific job or period. When the job is finished, the relationship is over.

-  Brent D. Roper [1]

Civil litigation

The work of contract attorneys often varies. They can be engaged activities Such As Document review in response to a paper subpoena or request for output of documents. In Such projects, contract attorneys review May tens of Thousands, if not millions of pages of documentation and mark ’em as responsive to a request Particular, or protected as attorney work product gold from under the attorney-client privilege . Large firms have learned that contract attorneys can perform this work much more effectively than high-priced associates.

Many contract, or freelance, attorneys perform legal research , draft legal briefs , and provide a full range of other services to law firms of all sizes. These attorneys typically work for themselves, rather than for temporary agencies, and provide their services to other law firms on an as-needed basis. [2]

Some people who hold juris doctor degrees, but who are awaiting bar admission , work as temporary professionals in law firms doing the same type of work as contract attorneys. In other situations, a law firm may, due to a conflict of interest, be required to hire a contract attorney as Cumis counsel in certain cases.

Contract attorneys typically work on a project-by-project basis and are not full-time law firm employees. However, they also develop long-term relationships with firms that regularly or semi-regularly send work to the contract attorney. Many small firms find their way to employment with the flexibility to grow their business. [3]

According to the American Bar Association , law firms can add a surcharge to the fees of their contract attorneys so long as the final fee is charged to the customer is reasonable. [4] Particularly in a slowing economy, the use of contract attorneys gives firms a competitive edge in the marketplace, helping them to control costs while increasing profitability. [5]


This section May lend undue weight to some ideas, incidents or controversies . Please help to create a more neutral presentation , with details in their proper context. Discuss and resolve this issue before removing this message. (December 2012)

Barbara Ehrenreich said: ” In writing about the disparity between CEO and worker pay,” New York Times best-selling author and social criticism

Similarly, the legal profession, billing hundreds of dollars an hour, now has a new proletariat working for $ 19-25 an hour in sweatshop conditions. On sites like, working daytime, working days, and working days. According to an article in American Lawyer , a legal report has been made in New York, where it was corrected in a windowless room, where six out of seven exits were blocked. [6]

Assigned counsel work in criminal defense

In counties without a public defender , or without an alternate defender , an attorney may be hired to do assigned counsel work. A legal aid group may be hired to do such work as a temporary agency , such as the Legal Aid Society of New York City . Other states or counties may have a panel of lawyers who act as contract attorneys. Some critics of this system have the method of leading to ineffective assistance of counsel in criminal cases .

Contract legal assistant

Main article: Paralegal

A law firm may, under certain circumstances, hire a freelance paralegal , to the extent of a contract of attorney might perform. [7]

See also

  • Attorney of record
  • Of counsel


  1. Jump up^ Brent D. Roper,Practical Law Office Management, 3rd ed., Pp. 5 (2007 Thomson Learning).
  2. Jump up^ “Full Service Freelance Litigation Support Information” .
  3. Jump up^ Velazquez, Ashley. “Small Firms: The Benefit of Contract Attorneys” . Hire an Esquire . Retrieved 7 March 2017 .
  4. Jump up^ “Summary of American Bar Association Formal Opinion 00-420: Client Overload for Use of a Contract Lawyer” .
  5. Jump up^ “The Myth of Associate Profitability: Why Freelance Legal Services Preserve Profit Margins in an Uncertain Economic Climate” .
  6. Jump up^ Ehrenreich, Barbara (March 28, 2008). “Going to Extremes: CEOs vs. Slaves” . Huffington Post .
  7. Jump up^ Brent D. Roper,Practical Law Office Management, 3rd ed., Pp. 8-9, 147 (2007 Thomson Learning).

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