I use this blog to share with other lawyers certain techniques for persuasive writing that can be used when preparing an appellate brief, as well as to address other issues related to appellate practice. But even with the tips and techniques I offer here, it’s not always best for a lawyer who is inexperienced in appellate practice to draft his or her own appellate brief. That’s not always in the client’s best interests. As I’ve written here and here in prior posts, ABA ethics rules provide that a law firm may hire a freelance lawyer to provide legal services such as drafting appellate briefs and that in some circumstances the firm may add a surcharge to the fee charged by a freelance lawyer. Thus, the use of freelance lawyers for certain specialized projects, or when the workload exceeds what can otherwise be reasonably handled within the firm, has become increasingly common.

Leather briefcase

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The ABA published book, “Effectively Staffing Your Law Firm” provides a discussion of the use of freelance attorneys in the chapter titled “Outsourcing Legal Research and Writing Projects,” notes that projects such as brief writing are particularly appropriate for a freelance attorney to handle:

Some tasks – such as trials, client meetings and rainmaking – demand your personal attention; others, such as legal research and writing, do not. Outsourcing enables you to weather particularly busy periods without having to hire an employee or face time pressures that lead to lawyer stress and burnout.

Another benefit of outsourcing legal research and writing on an as-needed basis is cost. Hiring an associate requires a significant investment in both time and money.When you outsource legal research and writing projects, you pay only for the time it takes to complete the project, but when you  hire an employee, you immediately add to your fixed expenses. …. Outsourcing is a wise use of your firm’s resources that can increase profitability.

Of course, some lawyers may think they need to do the all their work themselves, even projects they know they lack sufficient experience in to do as well as possible. As to that issue, the popular blog on legal practice, Lawyerist.com, offered the following advice:

Some lawyers have a difficult time asking for help. But outsourcing isn’t a sign of weakness.  Rather, it is adding strength to you practice.  It is a way to be flexible with your staffing needs, and is a low-risk, low-cost way to handle your work. Give it a try the next time you’re scratching you’re head, wondering how its all going to get done.

Kendra Brodin, “When does outsourcing make sense?” Lawyerist.com (2010).