Freelancing and remote work is all the rage in 2021, and the legal profession is no different. Lawyers, paralegals, law firm librarians, and the like are turning to online platforms that pair them with clients and pay a decent rate.
Here’s our guide to alternative legal service providers (ALSPs), how much they cost to use, and how advantageous they are for attorneys.
Is There a Website Like Upwork for Attorneys?
Yes, there are numerous Upwork-like websites that bring freelancing lawyers and potential clients together. UpCounsel, LawClerk, and Hire AEsquire are just a few, and we’ll discuss the best legal freelancing sites below in more detail.
Companies and individuals are obviously not looking for high level legal representation on sites like these (car accident cases, tax attorneys, etc.), but things like pre litigation research, eDiscovery, document review, and other tasks can be easily outsourced on these freelance platforms.
Interestingly enough, most of the demand for Upwork-like platforms comes from law firms and corporate legal departments looking to outsource tasks – not necessarily an injured motorist looking for an attorney.
Alternative Legal Service Providers (ALSPs) are a Larger Trend
More than 50% of law firms and corporate legal departments outsource work with ALS providers, according to Cogneesol, in reference to a recent Thomson Reuters report. There are a few reasons why ALSPs have gotten more popular:
- You can outsource highly specialized research to an expert when you don’t have one on staff
- You don’t need staff to handle a high volume of document review
- Digital discovery can be accomplished from anywhere
- You can easily hire a licensed attorney to appear at a hearing on your behalf
Outsource Legal Service Providers
Law Clerk calls its freelancers “clerks,” because the hiring attorney assumes all legal responsibility for the work and signs documents.
How Much Does LawClerk.legal Cost?
It’s free for freelancers – the fee you see posted on the project is what you get paid. The cost falls on the hiring party – you will price the project at roughly half of what you’d bill your client, and you will usually pay the freelancer between $75-$125 per hour.
Law Clerk Reviews
Law Clerk has gotten very few publicly available reviews, but from what we can find, the feedback is roughly 70% positive. Complaints include the fact that project deadlines are sometimes missed, the work is returned incomplete, and the general quality may suffer.
UpCounsel.com has a limited number of attorney positions available each month, and new applicants will need to apply with documentation and an interview. According to their own sales material, the average lawyer at Up Counsel has 14 years of experience and stays with the platform for several years.
How Much Does Up Counsel Cost?
As the hiring party, you will post a project, receive proposals, select an attorney, and pay the fee in the proposal. They do provide estimates for common jobs – an LLC formation project would be $500, a corporation $1,000, and $200+ per hour for certain legal verticals. Yes, it’s more expensive than other services, but the quality of the work is generally much higher.
The hiring party will also pay a 5% maintenance fee for the project, which is how they make money.
Up Counsel Reviews
Customer reviews for Up Counsel are overwhelmingly positive (1.4K reviews available here), and that’s for two reasons: first, pricing is transparent and agreed upon before the work starts, and second, the attorneys working on your project are highly qualified.
Rocket Lawyer presents an interesting hybrid model most often used by small business owners. You can either use the software to build legal documents (like LegalZoom), or you can engage an actual attorney for legal questions and document review.
Rocket Lawyer Cost
If you will need legal documents in an ongoing sense, your best bet is to sign up for the $40/mo premium membership. You can ask questions for free, get free 30 minute consultations, and print legal documents. Then, if you need an “On-Call Attorney” for a more complicated legal issue, you get a 40% discount off that hourly rate.
Rocket Lawyer Reviews
Consumer Affairs lists 412 ratings at a nearly perfect 4.9/5 star rating. Their attorneys seem to enjoy working there as well, and the pay is adequate despite the nontraditional structure. The majority of folks who hire Rocket Lawyer are looking for relatively simple document work, but the product seems to be solid.
Hire An Esquire
Hire An Esquire supports contractors (1099), W-2 employees, and even permanent staffing. Lawyers and paralegals alike can apply for various positions (listed on a job board) and work at their set rate. Unlike other platforms, where you bid on projects and “win” jobs, you apply for work at Hire An Esquire similarly to how you would apply at a staffing firm.
How Much Does Hire An Esquire Cost?
It’s free to freelancers, and the hiring party will pay the hiring fee + 25% markup. If you hire someone as a W-2 employee, you’ll pay the contractor rate + 55% markup.
Hire an Esquire Reviews
Reviews from their legal professionals are solid on employment websites like Glassdoor, and happy employees generally produce good work.
They also have a 4.3 rating on Birdeye (reviews from clients), and they have good Google and Facebook reviews as well.
Bizcounsel.com angles its services towards business owners in need of document review, contract writing, HR issues, and other business-related legal matters. To use BizCounsel, you’ll have to apply and sit through an introductory phone call with a rep.
How Much Does BizCounsel Cost?
Depending on your needs, you’ll sign up for an $89/mo, $129/mo, or $189/mo plan. You will receive multiple consultations in that plan, and if you need documents written, you will pay a members-only flat fee. It’s a good deal for businesses with recurring legal needs.
Clients rate BizCounsel 4.9/5 (145 reviews) on the Birdeye review aggregator, and they receive a 3.7/5 rating on Facebook (18 votes). Their BBB rating is more of a mixed bag, but they at least responded in detail to each negative review. You can read them yourself.
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