Hiring a freelance legal consultant vs. an employee: benefits and drawbacks
By Tina De Maere – June 29, 2022
Your business is growing, and you need some extra (legal) help to ensure the growth remains consistent and sustainable. Often the choice comes down to either hiring an employee or using a freelancer to assist you and your business. Let’s look at the advantages and drawbacks of hiring a freelance legal consultant compared to a full-time employee.
Advantages of freelance legal consultant
Freelancers are often very flexible regarding the work they do and when they will do it. Numerous freelancers do not mind helping you out on weekends or holidays.
This flexibility is excellent for businesses with an unexpected increase in workload and doesn’t have the luxury of going through a month-long hiring process to find a new employee.
Businesses with more work during specific periods (e.g., the holidays) also greatly benefit from hiring a freelancer that can start working the same day or week you contact them.
An experienced freelancer likely has worked for tens, or more, of different clients on various projects of different scales. Thanks to that extensive experience, they often bring a different approach and set of skills to the table.
This experience can often be leveraged immediately, without the need for a time-consuming training process. In addition, unlike most employees, freelance legal consultants have probably dealt with comparable situations for other companies, often giving them the knowledge to handle the assignment quickly and effectively.
Easy to hire and fire
Freelance legal consultants and freelancers generally are extremely easy to hire and let go. However, hiring an employee is often a multiple month’s long process, and letting them go is just as challenging.
If you need work done as soon as possible, a freelancer is a perfect solution to ensure deadlines are met.
If the work is not up to standard, or there is a (un)expected downturn in position, letting go of a freelancer is much easier than letting go of an employee. Depending on the contract, a freelancer can often be let go with minimal or no cost. On the other hand, firing an employee with or without serious cause will usually result in a long and expensive process.
Drawbacks of freelance legal consultant
Not always available
The ease of hiring a freelancer can also be a drawback. You need to act fast if you have found just the right freelance legal consultant to help you out. A freelancer can pick their working hours and choose who they work with. So if a more exciting or profitable assignment comes along, the freelancer has no obligation to turn these down.
Employees have a fixed period where they are obligated to be available. They cannot turn down projects (in most cases) simply because they don’t feel like doing them. Many employers consider relying on freelancers too much risk and too stressful because of that fact. An employee is much more consistent and reliable in this regard.
No fixed cost
A freelance legal consultant can be more expensive than a regular employee. A freelancer’s flexibility comes at a higher hourly or daily rate than an employee’s. Relying on freelancers too much or not tracking the number of billable hours you have assigned can lead to you going over budget.
Relying on employees generally means you can keep track of costs more efficiently. But, of course, these costs are much more difficult to cut when business takes a downturn.
Are you interested in hiring the best possible freelance legal consultant for your needs? Limine gives your business the tools you need to hire the best legal talent out there.