Freelance work offers tremendous advantages and can represent an attractive alternative to a traditional job. If you are considering a freelance career, you should explore the benefits and pitfalls of freelancing. Below are advantages of freelance legal work.
Advantages of Freelance Work
Flexibility of Hours
Working from home or from a remote workplace as a freelancer allows you to dictate your own hours and work at times most convenient to you. Freelancers with young children, for instance, can work after the children are sleeping; freelancers with traditional employment or part-time jobs can perform their freelance work around their regular work hours. You can work when you are most productive or load up on work now to have some "me" time later.
Building an Asset
Owning and operating a successful freelance business allows you to create an asset that may be saleable down the road. Your efforts may be rewarded through the present income you generate. Your reputation, client list, and other business assets can also net additional income if you sell your successful business to another.
As a freelance worker, you can control your workload. While client demands can, at times, dictate your schedule, you can turn away work during busy times or accept more work during lean times.
Freelancers are highly autonomous. As business owners, they generally answer to no one (other than their clients) and operate on their own terms, at their own hours, and at the rates they establish.
Quality of Work
In some cases, particularly for freelance paralegals or new law school grads, work as a freelancer may be more fulfilling than the work assigned by a law firm or corporation. For example, new law school grads in large law firms often perform monotonous tasks such as document review, while a freelance attorney may gain more challenging assignments such as court appearances.
Freelancers are not geographically confined or limited to serving local clients; you can work for clients across the country or across the globe. This national exposure can open doors to new clients and new opportunities.
As a freelancer, you will learn new skills out of necessity that you might not gain as a traditional legal employee. These skills may include marketing, sales, office management, and client development as well as knowledge in a broad range of practice areas.
No Office Politics
Office politics are non-existent for solo freelancers. If you work alone, you are guaranteed to have the corner office. You are not required to attend time-wasting meetings or cut through bureaucratic red tape to gain the tools you need to do your job.
Working from home eliminates the daily commute to and from the office, saving you hours in travel time and the expenses of parking, fuel, and car maintenance. Even if you work from a remote office away from home, you can choose a location that is convenient and close to home.
As a freelancer, you can choose the clients you wish to work with and the projects on which you work, particularly if you have an excess of work. You can drop high maintenance or slow-paying clients or turn down undesirable projects if you desire.
Your income is the direct result of your own efforts rather than being set by the law firm or company. In most cases, the harder you work, the greater the reward. Your paycheck or bonus will not be capped, reduced, or eliminated by your employer, although it can vary month to month, depending on your efforts and business.
Because they work from home, freelancers often have a better work-life balance. You can spend more time with your children or the dog and steal moments to relax and do the things you love.
Working as a freelancer from a home office can provide certain tax benefits including write-offs for your home office space, equipment, and other business costs.
Freelancing can open doors to new clients, new areas of law, new skills, and new friends. Freelancing can help establish you as an expert in a niche area of the law and can lead to speaking engagements, book deals, business collaborations, and other opportunities.
When you work from home and don't meet with clients personally, there is no need to dress up. You can eliminate the expense of business attire, dry cleaning, manicures, and other personal maintenance costs and reduce the time it takes to "get ready" in the morning.
Parking costs in some major cities can take a chunk out of your paycheck. Working from home eliminates parking expenses.
In today's shrinking legal job market, job loss is not uncommon. However, since most freelancers work for multiple clients, losing one client does not mean unemployment.
When you work as a freelancer, you receive full credit for your work. You don't have to worry about the blunders of other employees, compromising your work product for the sake of the team, or others taking credit for your work.
Freelancing will inevitably bring you into contact with new people including new clients, mentors, business associates, and others.