Lawyer-to-Lawyer Marketplaces and Directories

What is Lawyer-to-Lawyer Marketplaces and Directories?

Websites and services that enable law firms and legal departments to hire lawyers for temporary or short-term projects.

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What are lawyer-to-lawyer marketplaces and directories?

Lawyer-to-lawyer marketplaces and directories are websites or mobile apps that enable law firms, legal departments, and legal organizations to find and hire lawyers for temporary work, short-term projects, or to provide specialized legal expertise. Some of these marketplaces also include paralegals and other legal professionals.

In addition to helping law firms find and hire temporary attorneys, these websites often also provide back-end platforms that facilitate communication, contracting, document sharing, and electronic payment processing between hiring firms and the lawyers they hire. These marketplaces and directories may also vet attorneys for hire and provide tax reporting and mechanisms to charge the work delegated to an attorney back to a client.

Why should a law firm or in-house law department use a marketplace or directory to hire attorneys?

Lawyer-to-lawyer marketplaces and directories provide the tools to search, find, interview, and contract with experienced attorneys to handle discrete legal tasks. By using a marketplace, law firms and other legal organizations can reduce hiring costs, add temporary lawyers with specific experience, and relieve partners and associates of work outside their practice areas and specialties. Hiring firms can use freelance lawyers as flexible and efficient ways to handle high volumes of overflow work that range from low to high value, requiring varying degrees of expertise.

How do lawyer-to-lawyer marketplaces and directories work?

These marketplaces and directories attract experienced attorneys by promising them temporary work in their range of expertise from potential clients, such as in-house law departments or law firms. Marketplaces usually vet attorneys and allow them to set up a profile for potential clients to find them.

Lawyer-to-lawyer marketplaces vary in how they operate. In most cases, hiring firms pay a subscription fee to access the marketplace or directory and post work descriptions or requests for proposals or information. In addition, or in the alternative, firms complete a profile, including payment processing data, and post work descriptions that include estimated time allotments, preferred fee arrangements, and billing rates by the hour or a suggested flat fee.

The marketplace provides the tools for hiring firms to find, contact, and interview experienced attorneys or presents a pool of attorneys to the firm for review. When firms identify relevant candidates, they can contact and interview them via the marketplace's web-based platform.

When the firm finds a suitable candidate, the candidate can contract with the firm to do the work on the client's payment terms or agreed fee arrangement. The marketplace provides billing and payment processing and takes a percentage of the fees paid to the freelance attorneys.

What features do lawyer-to-lawyer marketplaces and directories include?

Lawyer-to-lawyer marketplaces and directories have a web-based platform or mobile application for hiring lawyers to find freelance attorneys with the experience and specialized knowledge to complete a project or other work assignment, interview candidates, contract with them, and process payments. The platforms include matchmaking services and the capabilities to store professional profiles and lawyer reviews, audio-video and text messaging, document exchange, and credit card payment processing.

Marketplaces and directories may include other features depending on their client focus. For example, Hire an Esquire caters to a wide range of projects, including electronic discovery projects. Law Student Connect is a marketplace for attorneys to post projects for law student research and writing. LAWCLERK Remote Associates goes beyond document work products and supports exhibit management for depositions, hearings, litigation management, and trial preparation tools, such as event timelines and PDF management. UpCounsel attracts business users to find and hire top attorneys who can use time and billing features, including time tracking, invoicing tools, preauthorized payments, bulk billing, split billing, and data analytics. Priori Legal focuses on hiring outside counsel and includes tools for in-house law departments and small firms to craft requests for proposals for attorneys to reply to in requisite detail.

How can my law firm or legal department use a lawyer-to-lawyer marketplace or directory?

Use a marketplace or directory to get temporary, expert help with legal work. You can also regularly use marketplaces to supplement the number of attorneys available for assignment. Clients can use marketplace and directory services regularly to add staff as needed and reduce their hiring and human resource costs. To this end, providers like Hire an Esquire have subscription plans to access their vetted candidate network and hiring tools. LAWCLERK has a virtual associate subscription program to hire part-time associates.

Access all the marketplaces and directories via the web. The platforms provide all services through a web browser. You don't need a desktop or mobile software to get the total value in the platform, but some providers like Hire an Esquire and LAWCLERK provide them.

What should I expect to pay for a lawyer-to-lawyer marketplace and directory service?

For non-subscription-based services, you only pay a flat fee to post a project and have a marketplace attorney complete the work. The marketplace takes a percentage out of the fee. If the project uses a billable hour fee arrangement, the marketplace may retain a portion of the billable hours paid to the attorney.

Subscription-based services like Hire an Esquire can start at $229 per month (paid annually), which allows one active job post, one user, and up to 10 monthly invites. The starting rate also lets you use Hire an Esquire for up to one contractor.

If you use a marketplace or directory to regularly supplement the law firm or legal department's staff, selecting a subscription-based system can reduce costs. Still, if you do not frequently add attorneys, eschew a subscription plan and only pay the transactional costs of hiring a temporary associate.