Posted Aug 26, 2011 09:30 pm CDT
Laurie Rowen and Erin Giglia would like to add a new work status to the law dictionary: freelance. The 2009 founders of the 24-lawyer Montage Legal Group in Irvine, Calif., which bills itself as a network of freelance attorneys, would also ask that you not confuse Montage attorneys with contract attorneys.
“We’re not a law firm, and we don’t like to say we’re an outsourcing agency,” Rowen says. “The whole ‘contract attorney’ title has a bad connotation. People wonder if you got fired from a law firm or if there’s something wrong with you that you can’t get your own clients. But when you bind 20 women together, these women get the respect they deserve.”
The Montage business model is a new twist on the increasingly common contract-lawyer model. Recent news stories have cited increased use of contract attorneys, including work for some of the biggest firms in BigLaw.
“Contract lawyers are something everybody’s talking about and doing in some capacity,” says John Olmstead, principal at the legal management consulting firm Olmstead & Associates in St. Louis. “It’s becoming much more acceptable, from larger firms to smaller ones, for more types of work. Montage is putting a different spin on it, and there’s room in the market for others.”
Click here to read the rest of “Freelance Law” from the August issue of the ABA Journal.