The anticipation of walking away from your full-time day job as you move toward establishing your own practice is so exciting. But, the reality of needing to generate some extra income to serve as a cushion while you build that practice can be both intimidating and overwhelming.
You might be concerned about a potential gap in income from the time you leave your full-time job until you start earning a reliable income in your own practice. Of course, for many lawyers seeking to go solo, it would be an ethical violation to start working with your own clients on the side.
So, what do you do? How do you bridge this gap between your full-time job of reliable income and the dream of building your own practice?
Freelance legal writing.
I’m not talking about writing contracts or briefs or memos. I’m talking about legal content writing for blogs and other publications. Here are a few reasons why this is one of my favorite ways to earn money on the side while you build your new practice:
Every law firm needs to be generating valuable content online to attract prospective clients, but few attorneys have the time to create that content themselves. Outsourcing legal content creation to a non-attorney quickly becomes a disaster (I know this from experience!) and that is where you come in. You are uniquely positioned to create legal content that is both legally accurate, well-written, and understandable by a lay reader.
No need to get out your Bluebook to format citations. Legal content writing simply involves summarizing basic legal concepts in a way that is relatable and digestible to a lay reader. The goal is to include search terms that prospective clients may be searching for and provide a valuable answer, while leading the reader to book an appointment with the firm.
Early in my solo journey, I had the opportunity to do some contingency work with a local attorney. After some thought, I turned it down because it wasn’t in the practice area I planned to work exclusively in and I knew it was going to be a huge time commitment that would pull me away from my goals.
The great thing about legal content writing as a side hustle while you build up your solo practice is that you can do it at night in your pajamas. It’s not going to take a ton of brain energy. Articles on topics outside your practice area will involve a little bit of light research and articles on topics within your practice areas will come effortlessly.
Let’s do some basic math. Rates will vary of course, but let’s say you charge $100 for a 500 word blog article and it takes you one hour to research, draft, and edit that article. If you write 10 articles a week, that’s $1,000 and 10 hours for low-stress work. Not too bad while you build up the practice of your dreams!
How to Find Legal Writing Gigs
If I’ve sold you on legal content writing as a side hustle, you’re probably wondering where you can find these opportunities. Begin by reaching out to your network of other lawyers and let them know that you are offering these services. Then, consider signing up for a freelance platform like Upwork where you can bid on legal content writing opportunities. Finally, reach out to law firms in your area or agencies that specialize in marketing for law firms. It is very likely that they offer blog creation services and are looking to outsource that writing.
Note that Upwork is a fairly competitive and saturated platform, but it is also one of the easiest ways to get started with legal content writing. When you apply to join Upwork, a picky algorithm will determine whether your services are needed on the platform, so be strategic. Grab our free guide to getting started with legal writing on Upwork here.
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