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Get It In Writing: Freelance Attorney Work Agreement, by Emerald Gratz, Lawyerist Blog


A quick word to paralegals who consider freelance work. Please remember that only lawyers can give legal advice. Except for specific circumstances provided by state or federal statutes, a non-lawyer cannot appear in court on behalf of someone else. If you work freelance, please review and follow the ethical requirements for our profession when working freelance. –CCE

The question of whether the work of a freelance attorney requires a written agreement seems obvious at first glance — “get it in writing” is the golden rule, after all. In practice it is not always that simple. There may be situations, depending on the client, project, or timetable, where getting a written freelance work agreement is not possible or necessary. If a hiring attorney is looking for last-minute emergency assistance, there may not be time to negotiate an agreement. Or the hiring attorney and freelance attorney may have an existing relationship and are comfortable working without a formal agreement.

In these situations, it still benefits both sides to set forth basic project terms in an email, at least. Ultimately, the freelance attorney is responsible for defining the business relationship and running his or her own freelance law practice. . . .