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4 Ways Firms Can Get More Out Of Their Contract Lawyers

Aebra Coe law360.com

As law firms increasingly hire contract attorneys, some are finding the array of ways the lawyers can be used stretch far beyond the expected document review and due diligence work.

Seventy-seven percent of law firms with more than 250 lawyers now use contract attorneys, and many believe the rise in their use is likely to be permanent, according to a report published earlier this year by management consulting firm Altman Weil. And experts say the range of tasks that can be handed to contract lawyers is wider now than it was 20 years ago when the pool of lawyers to draw from was smaller and not so deep.

Boost Firm Diversity Efforts

Some law firms restrict their hiring standards to such a degree that they eliminate some of the richness of the array of lawyers available to them, according to Maggie Tassi, managing director of Major Lindsey & Africa’s Interim Legal Talent.

“Some will only consider lawyers with an Ivy League pedigree or who have worked at an Am Law 50 law firm,” she said.

 That’s a mistake, according to Tassi.

“There are so many [contract] attorneys out there that are up to that high standard and quality level, but maybe not on paper,” she said. “Opening themselves up to a wider array of candidates allows law firms to build a diverse team with people who are really skilled and might not have gotten a second look based on their paper resume."

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