How small businesses are getting savvy with freelance legal advice

A study by Intuit predicted that by 2020, 40 per cent of American workers will be independent contractors and according to PayPal, 70 per cent of Australian businesses now use freelancers, and we can see this trend has well and truly impacted on the provision of legal advice, with interesting ramifications.

To win in today’s business world, small businesses need to be able to adapt to the evolving landscape in which they operate in and develop practices that enable them to tap into expert knowledge when required, ensuring projects are completed on time without creating a headcount burden in the early years.

Whether you’re hiring freelancers, consultants, casual staff or virtual workers, there are many key advantages of hiring experts in this way. Some benefits include better cashflow management, reduced rates, flexibility and the ability to be able to scale-up quickly, allowing your business to stay lean and agile.

As a co-founder of a recruitment firm for legal professionals and of freelance legal platform Alifery, we’re seeing many ASX listed companies, private practice law firms, small to medium businesses and start-ups engaging expert legal freelancers and contractors instead of hiring full-time legal employees within their businesses.

We know that small businesses can be apprehensive about hiring lawyers, with feedback from business owners centring around perception of high hourly rates and time tracking to the minute. This is why the opening up of this very traditional profession to the gig economy is exciting for small businesses. It means that businesses can have more control over legal costs and can access expert freelance legal talent as and when needed, for jobs like an advisory call, mentoring, or assistance with the drafting of a legal document, contract or dispute, without the worry of having a legal budget blowout.

While other professions have fully embraced the freelance economy, and have been reaping the benefits for years, if not decades, we are now seeing a rise in this way of working within the legal profession.

Businesses are using freelance talent for their legal advice as it presents them with a cost-effective flexible solution, where they gain access to tier one legal talent, who have an average of 15 years’ experience and include former General Counsels of ASX listed companies and former partners of top-tier law firms.

Freelancers simply don’t carry the bricks and mortar and operational overheads that a traditional law firm comes with, which translates into a lot more value being delivered to businesses when it comes to their legal needs.

Louise Havala, Founder, legal freelancing platform Alifery and Co-Founder, Gatehouse Legal Recruitment

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