Turn on CNN on any given day and you will continually be reminded of how many people have been laid off from their jobs, companies that are closing their doors, and families who can no longer afford to live in their homes due to increasing interest rates on mortgages, and declining home equity. The economy has tumbled down like a house of cards after a gust of wind has blown through it.
As a result, I have seen a tremendous increase in online attorney postings offering bankruptcy legal services, as well as an increase of inquiries to my freelance paralegal company. Many of the inquiries I am receiving lately are coming from attorneys of various areas of practice who are now looking to enter into bankruptcy law.
As law firms look for qualified bankruptcy paralegals to assist with their growing or emerging bankruptcy practices, I have noticed positions not being filled, but rather remaining open for months on end. This leads me to wonder why there is increasing work but lack of appropriate talent to fill these positions. This presents one classic example where a freelance bankruptcy paralegal would be an excellent solution for a firm that is in a state of limbo with an overflow of work and no qualified support staff to take on crucial assignments that are relevant to chapter 7, 11 or 13 bankruptcy cases.
In these situations, with plenty of bankruptcy cases coming in the door but not enough staff to meet the demand, a bankruptcy legal practice can run the risk of not servicing their clients thoroughly and professionally, inhibiting that firm’s growth. Hiring and taking the time out to train a temp or to correct their mistakes can cost a bankruptcy practice time, money and even the trust of their clients. In these cases, contracting work out to an experienced and qualified freelance bankruptcy paralegal can save a bankruptcy practice priceless amounts of time and money.
Another plus to working with a freelance bankruptcy paralegal is taking advantage of their extensive experience which they have inevitably accrued through working with many different bankruptcy attorneys. Most freelance bankruptcy paralegals are well versed in how a bankruptcy practice should be run from an administrative standpoint, and it is their job to keep abreast of the changes in law and court procedures as it is a freelancer’s primary focus to remain on top of such issues in order to perform well for their attorney clients.
Freelance paralegals are not 9 – 5 employees, which means that there are no time limits for assignments and no worries about an employee going home before work is completed or the demands of overtime compensation. Since most freelancers work from home offices, they are more flexible to communicate with their clients and receive assignments at any time of day or night. Unencumbered by rigid office hours or office distractions such as secretarial duties, a freelance bankruptcy paralegal can focus on the specific task needed to be done to properly file a client’s motion.
Firms with multiple areas of practice can also take advantage of a freelance paralegal whose expertise lie in one of the firm’s areas of practice. With a freelancer, a firm can devote that freelance paralegal to one area of expertise without worry that the paralegal is being distracted by other tasks or other departments within the firm.
Sole practitioners and smaller bankruptcy legal firms benefit greatly from the use of a freelance bankruptcy paralegal on many different levels. When it comes to smaller firms, the name of the game is generating revenue while conserving company resources. That is the basic formula for any small business, and attorneys are no different. Many sole practitioners are in the building stage of their legal practice and they require the support that a good paralegal can offer without the burdens of payroll tax, health insurance, full time salaries, workers compensation and many of the other expenses that come along with hiring a full time staff bankruptcy paralegal.
By hiring a freelance or outsourced bankruptcy paralegal, a small firm is getting the advantages, expertise and inside knowledge that a senior level bankruptcy paralegal can provide without the hefty price tag that larger firms pay. An experienced freelance bankruptcy paralegal can provide quality work on petitions, motions, proof of claims, correspondence and other matters of bankruptcy procedure, and is familiar with all of the popular software programs such as Best Case and EZ- Filing. They are also invaluable in providing administrative tips and helping guide a bankruptcy attorney to help their practice run more smoothly.
Some freelance bankruptcy paralegals are aware of the many changes currently taking place with the housing market and with the new bankruptcy laws that are affecting second mortgages and are now offering assistance in the drafting of motions in accordance to these changes. Knowledge of these laws are helping attorneys to attract more clients. Within my own company, Outsourced Paralegal Services, LLC, we have made it a point to stay on top of these new laws and are helping our attorney clients to incorporate it into the services they offer to their consumer bankruptcy clients.