There are few areas of the paralegal field more exciting and challenging than working as a freelance paralegal. As a freelance paralegal, you'll be able to be your own boss and chart your own course. (There is even one freelance paralegal working in San Francisco who reports that her gross income tops $100,000 a year.) An increasing number of paralegals are striking out on their own as freelancers, independent contractors, and entrepreneurs. What is a freelance paralegal? Who are the freelancers? What are their qualifications? How can you become one?
Basically there are two types of freelance paralegals
, those who work on there own or in a loose association with a few other freelance paralegals, and those who run full-fledged paralegal services, with business addresses, advertising and a staff of employees. The first type of freelance paralegal, truly freelancers, are sometimes called independent contractors, a name for one individual who bills for his or her services but is not on anyone's payroll. Independent contractors often bill attorneys on an hourly basis, but sometimes charges are rendered by the project, such as for the drafting of a will or for digesting of depositions. Often such paralegals work out of their homes, using an answering machine or service number, a centrally located post office box address and a descriptive brochure as means of presenting a professional image to their clients. These freelance paralegals work in many areas of legal practice.
Paralegal services companies may develop from freelancing
. A successful freelancer may hire his or her own staff and set up a business organization, partnership or corporation. Paralegal services companies have their own office space and undertake more sophisticated marketing strategies than do individual freelancers. They usually provide services of temporary paralegals
, legal research services, managing clerk ser vices (the service of papers and filings at court) or specialized services in trusts and estates and the like. Essentially, these services are small businesses run by entrepreneurs who, if successful, must be good managers as well as knowledgeable paralegals.
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