Part-time options for lawyers are growing

Lawyers work hard. Who has not heard the horror stories of the long hours that young lawyers put in, particularly in Big Law firms? They work nights, weekends, holidays, MLB Opening Day, the tip-off of March Madness, even. (Is nothing sacred?)

On has to bill, bill, bill, after all.

But if that’s not the kind of life-style a lawyer is seeking because of family obligations or other reasons there are options.

Part-time is one.

Yes. Part-time. Instead of putting in 80 hours of week, you work as little as 20. And might be able to work from home, so relocation is not necessarily a must.  

A law firm in Orlando, Fla., for instance, is looking for a business attorney, according to one online job site. Here’s the spiel: “You enjoy talking to new people over the phone. You find it rewarding to listen to other people’s concerns and answer their questions with confidence. You’re organized and you don’t mind learning new things … “

And the kicker: “The best part is – the majority of your work will take place from the comfort of your home.”

A Newport Beach, California, firm has a opening for a part-time attorney, which it notes is “an ideal position for a person that needs flexibility due to child care or a retired or semi-retired attorney.”

Here’s one for a Boston area firm, which spells out the appeal pretty clearly: “This position is targeted at 30 hours per week and is designed to accommodate qualified candidates for whom the intense demands of a downtown transactional law practice is no longer desirable.”

We bet they might just get a rush of candidates …

Why?

It’s because a good number of lawyers are looking for part-time for a myriad of reasons. Such as:

 - They had a baby

 - They, surprise, had twins

 - They’re burned out

 - They’re getting started in the field and haven’t found full-time work

 - They simply like the flexibility it offers

 

And law firms are seeing rewards as well. Such as:

 - Such workers can be less expensive

 - If business slows, firms might not have to resort to layoffs. They simply cut-back on part-time attorneys

 - If business grows, it’s easier to pad the workforce in this manner before full-time hiring is fully justified

 - Flexible law firms are considered progressive and therefore attract talent

 - Workers report being happier when such policies are offered

 

Some law firms have options for their current full-time lawyers to work part-time if they wish. In many cases, that’s because they’re becoming parents and seek a better life-work balance. The more progressive firms don’t penalize such attorneys when it comes the partnership track, either.

But this increase in part-time work is also the result of new gig-economy startups that connect lawyers with clients. LegalBee, Aggregate Law, Hire an Esquire are just some examples.

These services help businesses get legal help without long-term commitment. Others help law firms by providing lawyers on a temporary (or full-time, permanent basis), among other services.

LegalBee is one such firm. On its website, it notes the benefits of part-time work:

“Many attorneys love practicing law, but get frustrated by the long hours, demanding clients and office politics that often plague many legal environments. LegalBee provides freelance attorneys with the opportunity to create their own schedule and pick which projects they work on, all while engaging in substantive legal work.”

It’s not all roses, mind you. Part-time work can have drawbacks. Some caution that the jobs may not pay as well per hour as full-time positions and benefits may be lacking. You may not be able to garner enough work, as well.

But …

You can catch the tip-off of March Madness if you want. 

 

 

 

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