A Proper Paralegal Sub-Contractor will properly align themselves with respect to the following issues:
- Never Call Your Business a Law Firm. Use a term like “Law Service” or “Outsourced Paralegal Business” and then develop a quick “Elevator Pitch” to briefly explain that: “Clients with legal issues hire us to do the outsourced paralegal work for the Attorney who they are about to hire from among a group of Attorneys who have retained us to bring them new Clients in their niche area of law and to the do the outsourced paralegal work they require for the case. We do about 80%-100% of the paralegal work the Attorney needs done on any one case.” Something like that will become second nature.
- Don’t give legal advice.
- Always remember that the Attorney represents the Client and you work for the Attorney as a Sub-Contractor.
Running & Capping:
- You are doing marketing as a Hybrid Marketing/Outsourced Paralegal Business and therefore you are not the Paralegal in the Direct Employ of an Attorney drumming up business ie. running and capping.
- The work you do to put together the initial intake documents once ratified by the Attorney becomes billable as paralegal work, but when doing it and until the Attorney establishes the Attorney/Client Relationship and de facto ratifies the work you have done, you are simply doing initial information intake work as a part of your marketing.
Right to work/Proper Training/Education:
- Some Business Operators have not gone through Official Paralegal Training Programs, but they should employ people who have and/or who have become de facto “Homegrown Paralegals”.
Only Attorney Establishes Attorney/Client Relationship:
- Don’t Forget this!
Separate Attorney & Outsourced Paralegal Retainers:
- You can collect 100% separate retainers.
- You can collect a partial down payment on your retainer when the Client with the legal issue first retains your Law Service.
- The Attorney can collect your retainer and then pay you.
- You may not collect money and then pay the Attorney.
- You may take a check written to the Attorney and hand the check to the Attorney. Attorney money should never hit your bank account.
- Probably avoid cash.
- Centinel Trust is developing RetainerCrypto.Online.
Proper Language About Order of Contracting & Relationships Between Parties:
- Avoiding UPL, Running & Capping, Cannot Establish Attorney/Client Relationship, only Attorney can. These are the documents we use to contract at Apex Law Service.
- Using some sort of “Overarching Law Service Memorandum of Understanding” like this can help keep things clear with respect to who the Parties in an Outsourced Paralegal Business Transaction are and how they interact.
- The Attorney and the Client to whom you introduce the Attorney are both your Clients.
- You are first marketing to find a Client who wants to hire you to do the Outsourced Paralegal Work for the Attorney to whom you are about to introduce them and whom they can hire if the Attorney offers.
- You will have your Attorney Client first agree to use you for the Outsourced Paralegal Work (recommended 80% of work on case) they require for the Client’s Case.
- You collect a separate retainer than does the Attorney. First collect a deposit on the retainer and then put together everything the Attorney might need to see so they can talk with their new Potential Client.
- The Attorney will give them an estimate of how may Attorney Hours the case will take and how many of your Paralegal Hours the case will take.
- Some people feel comfortable paying referral sources a referral fee based on hours billed to the Client with the legal issue since there is a separate retainer for the Outsourced Paralegal Business and the Attorney and therefore pay a portion of the Outsourced Paralegal Business Billed Hours. Some people feel this is getting too close to the Rule that an Attorney cannot pay a referral fee based on hours billed since the Attorney does in fact estimate to the Client with the legal issue how many Paralegal Hours they will probably order from the Outsourced Paralegal Business. This is an issue that you as a Business Operator need to settle by doing your own research and by retaining Counsel.
- Most people feel 100% comfortable paying referral sources a set “marketing fee” for any and all cases. Read this short essay from the ABA on the issue.
- If a Client with a legal issue is brought into your Outsourced Paralegal Business by an Employee Paralegal or Independent Contractor Paralegal most people feel comfortable paying an additional $Amount per Hour to that Paralegal for the work they do on the Case.
This is a good lawsuit to read about with regards to “Interference with Prospective Economic Advantage”.
- It is a case out of California in which an Attorney named Matthew Higbee who runs an Expungemt Law Office with a website called “Record Gone” sued an out of State unregistered Legal Document Assistance Business which was also committing acts of Unauthorized Practice of Law.