Schellenger Advocacy works to ensure a streamlined process from the moment you decide you need assistance to delivery of the final product.
Chief among the benefits of using a freelance attorney is the time savings it provides the hiring attorney; hiring Schellenger Advocacy and initiating a project should not take away from that benefit. Below is a brief description of the engagement process and project flow, as well as answers to other important questions you may have.
Freelance Services Contract:
Once you contact Schellenger Advocacy, you will discuss with Katie the general nature of the project and timeline. Katie will also provide you with writing samples, if you have not already requested and reviewed her written work product. Once you decide to retain Katie, she will conduct a conflict check and prepare a draft Freelance Services Contract for your review, which will – among other items – include the agreed upon project details. After your initial engagement of Schellenger Advocacy, you can simply negotiate the details of subsequent projects within the framework of your initial contract, which will allow Katie to focus immediately on the substantive work and will minimalize administrative tasks associated with her engagement on your end.
Schellenger Advocacy generally bills by six-minute increments at a set hourly rate. We recognize that every matter is different, however, and are willing to negotiate flat fee agreements where appropriate, or fee caps where necessary. Schellenger Advocacy invoices clients on a monthly basis.
It is important to remember that no attorney-client relationship exists between Schellenger Advocacy and your client. Rather, the relationship is between Schellenger Advocacy and you, the hiring attorney. Katie will have no direct contact with your client unless you direct her to do so. Schellenger Advocacy does not provide legal services (other than pro-bono) to non-attorney clients; there is accordingly no concern that Schellenger Advocacy will solicit or “poach” your clients.
Katie is vigilant about maintaining the strictest confidentiality concerning all aspects of her work, including the identity of attorneys who engage her services. She is ethically bound to do so, but a confidentiality clause is also included in Schellenger Advocacy’s written contract.
Professional Liability Insurance:
Schellenger Advocacy independently maintains lawyer’s professional liability insurance that satisfies all requirements imposed by the jurisdictions in which she is licensed.
Legal Research Services:
Schellenger Advocacy independently maintains a subscription to a nation-wide legal research service. No charges for research services are passed on to Schellenger Advocacy’s clients.
Regardless of your location, Schellenger Advocacy can ethically assist you with your matters. Katie is licensed in the District of Columbia, Pennsylvania, and Virginia; however, she can provide services outside of those jurisdictions so long as the hiring attorney is licensed in the relevant jurisdiction. Logistically, technology has rendered distance a non-issue: Katie communicates with her clients via telephone, email, and Skype. Should you wish to meet in person and your location allows for it, Katie is happy to do so. But, for those clients who are further afield, in-person meetings are by no means necessary to a successful working relationship.
Charging your Clients for Work Completed by Schellenger Advocacy:
The ABA Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility has made clear that attorneys may add a surcharge to legal work that it has outsourced so long as the total fee billed to the client is reasonable. The basis for the surcharge is the legal supervision the hiring attorney provides over the freelance attorney’s work. More thorough discussion of this issue and the relevant ethical opinions is available here.
Notifying your Clients of Schellenger Advocacy’s Work on Their Case:
It is recommended that you obtain your client's informed consent before engaging Schellenger Advocacy to work on their case. Informed consent can be obtained through a paragraph addressing the firm's use of non-firm personnel inserted into your retainer agreement. (An example is provided here). Alternatively, if you are billing your client for Schellenger Advocacy's services at a rate lower than your own, this presents an opportunity to demonstrate your commitment to providing high quality legal services at a reasonable cost. This requirement and the Rules and ethical opinions upon which it is based is more thoroughly addressed here.