Hiring a contract attorney has long been a strategy for addressing a temporary staffing gap, additional workload, or key legal project faced by a law firm or corporate legal department. But many leading employers are starting to rely on interim legal professionals, such as contract attorneys, more often and for a different reason: to help improve the productivity of their core staff.
The benefits of hiring a contract attorney
According to research by Robert Half Legal, long workdays, the pressure of billable hours and the need to meet client expectations are leading stress factors for lawyers. Stress, especially for sustained periods, can undermine your legal team's morale, motivation and productivity. A skilled contract attorney can provide much-needed support to lawyers who are struggling to stay on top of everyday demands, as well as manage unpredictable caseloads.
There are many ways a contract attorney can help your core legal team boost overall productivity and help your organization increase operational efficiency. For example, a contract attorney can:
- Assist in the development of case and trial strategies.
- Review and analyze key materials, such as documents from opposing counsel.
- Help your team tackle a large-scale and resource-intensive project, such as litigation or eDiscovery. (In fact, according to Robert Half Legal's Future Law Office report Client Dynamics Driving Change in the Legal Profession, many legal organizations are addressing the complexities and costs of eDiscovery by hiring project teams, including contract attorneys.)
- Provide hard-to-find specialized expertise for the short-term – whether for a particular case or to expand into a new practice area.
A highly skilled contract attorney also can be engaged for front-facing work, such as interviewing expert witnesses and handling required court appearances like motions, appeals and preliminary or arbitration hearings.
Finding a contract attorney
If you sense that engaging a contract attorney can help your team accomplish more and keep them from burning out, look to a specialized staffing firm for assistance. Legal recruiters with industry knowledge and experience can help you find a candidate who meets your requirements and will be a good fit for your organization. Top staffing firms have access to highly skilled candidates who can fill contract attorney positions in a wide range of practice areas, from general business and commercial law to healthcare and labor and employment law.
Many employers have found that hiring a contract attorney can lead to another positive outcome: a full-time hire. Working with an attorney on a short-term or project basis provides you the opportunity to evaluate that person's skills and expertise firsthand and determine whether he or she would be a good complement to your staff. In addition, this process helps you to avoid costly hiring mistakes that can cause your team's productivity to suffer.
Need to staff up quickly for a major initiative such as document review or litigation? Learn how legal project solutions from Robert Half Legal can help you to meet that challenge while enabling your existing legal team to maintain optimal productivity.