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(14 Posts)
jonesy3108 Tue 04-Aug-09 09:38:09

I want to work (for my own sanity). I don't need to earn very much but wondering how I can use my skills on a freelance basis. Any lawyers out there doing this?

lingle Tue 04-Aug-09 09:39:04

Yes. What's your field?

lingle Tue 04-Aug-09 09:48:15

Oh, and how many years' experience have you got?

jonesy3108 Tue 04-Aug-09 09:51:43

I qualified in 1998 and I'm a commercial/civil litigator.

jonesy3108 Tue 04-Aug-09 09:55:26

I stopped working in July 2006 so, save for a small amount of voluntary work for a children's charity, I've had a 'break' of 3 years. The brain cells are still firing though ...

lingle Tue 04-Aug-09 10:43:24

I was in IP mixed contentious non-contentious. Qualified 1997 went self-employed with no break in 2004. Non-practising - work as a consultant so can't litigate though can do mediation/solve disputes/do domain name complaints online.

It's the best thing I ever did.

Non-contentious becomes a lot more interesting once you get out of the law firms - once you're no longer charging hundreds of pounds per hour, people can afford to get you involved in the real negotiations.

My litigation background is priceless because I can tell people what would happen in practice if someone got sued. "Getting sued" or "suing" is so mysterious to most people and they really appreciate someone being able to demystify it. A real selling point.

jonesy3108 Tue 04-Aug-09 10:54:16

I have looked at doing something like this. How do you market yourself/get work?

I wrote to a few law firms just to test the water and did it on the basis that budgets are tight but litigation workloads are high and i didn't want to be employed/office based.

A couple of the law firms I contacted are interested in using me to fill a litigation gap. Have spoken with SRA and I either have to get a practising cert (cost is prohibitive for me at this early stage) or take myself of the Roll.

forehead Tue 04-Aug-09 10:59:49

I am an Employment Lawyer who used to work in a City firm. I left that job as i was unable to cope with the demands of motherhood and a high flying legal career. I am now an Employment Law Consultant who advises companies on Employment Relations issues. I love the job because it affords me some flexibility in my life.

jonesy3108 Tue 04-Aug-09 11:12:16

That was my problem forehead. Although I want the independence of earning my own money I don't want to see my children only at weekends - which is what happened when I worked for a City firm.

Employment and IP are probably quite conducive to a freelance approach. Not sure if pure litigation will work so well.

lingle Tue 04-Aug-09 18:04:12

Truthfully jonesy I don't think it is either. The thing about non-contentious is that the parties not the courts dictate the timetable and you are effectively one of those parties. Would you consider switching to non-contentious? (would probably require a part-time in-house stint first).

AxisofEvil Tue 04-Aug-09 18:19:03

There are a growing number of "virtual" firms that effectively deal with the admin side for a cut of the fees you make. The issue for you may be though that you need to bring in your own work and you'd need to consider whether you think you have the contacts to do that.

In terms of freelancing for "regular" law firms I can't see how you could do without a practising certificate unless you go into far more know side of things which it doesn't look like you're into.

One other thing to consider might be whether there is any scope for professional writing in legal matters for the legal publishers. I do a little for one publisher and whilst the pay per hour works out really very small, its some income and looks good on the CV.

lingle Tue 04-Aug-09 18:52:50

Ah yes I saw an article about a woman working for a virtual law firm the other day.... can't remember its name for the life of me.

jonesy3108 Thu 06-Aug-09 12:45:56

The freelancing for law firms is a real possibility Axis. You either get your own practising cert or come off the Roll. In the latter situation you can still be covered by the firms' insurance and you either do work in the background so to speak or make sure you refer to yourself as a 'former' solicitor. A couple of firms I have spoken to have said they will use me on this basis. Whether or not they do actually use me remains to be seen...

fridayschild Fri 07-Aug-09 18:36:09

One of the virtual firms is Keystone Law. A former colleague of mine has been with them for about 8 years now, non-contentious. Sadly I have rather lost touch with her but I can't think she'd stay that long unless she was happy there.

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