Tips on Flexible Lawyer Staffing
- Evaluate what you need out of the flexible attorney
- Limited assignments and paid a percentage when the firm gets paid?
- A set number of hours each week, and paid on an hourly wage?
- Part-timer that sets his/her own schedule?
- Conduct due diligence
- Ensure the temp has the necessary licensure to perform the job
- Ensure the lawyer doesn’t have a conflict on the applicable files
- Check out their character and credentials, see ABA Formal Opinion 08-451
- Enter into written association agreements, and include:
- Title and nature of relationship
- Compensation and benefits
- Access to firm resources
- Expense reimbursement
- Insurance and indemnification
- Duration and termination
- Dispute resolution
- Integration and supervision
- If you want flexible staff lawyers to do things the right way, you need to share your expectations with them, supervise them and confirm periodically that legal services are being performed in a manner you find acceptable.
You are likely responsible for the flexible staff lawyer’s actions, both under Rule 5.1 and civil liability standards, so your awareness and comfort with their performance of legal services is critical.
This is a summary of an article written by Michael Downey, “Legal Ethics and Flexible Lawyer Staffing: Part 2”.
Rebecca Haack is the Firm Administrator at Fullenweider Wilhite, P.C., a Houston-based law firm specializing in complex divorces, business valuations, and asset divisions. She has 7 years’ expertise in the administration of law firms and has worked with many legal environments including Corporate Litigation, Insurance Defense, Subrogation, Plaintiff, and Family Law. Rebecca is an active associate-member of the Law Practice Division, on the Member Development Committee, and is an Editor of Law Practice News.