Why Independently Contract with Per Diem Law Solutions, P.C.
Over Hiring an Employee
First, realize that this is not in comparison to compensating a non-attorney for a referral. Ethics rules are different in each state, but it is well understood that no state permits attorneys to fee-share with a non-attorney regarding referrals. In contrast, this is about compensating Per Diem Law Solutions, P.C. (PLS) for sending you a client, within the process of compensation for using our services for that client's work. Per Diem Law Solutions, P.C. fee schedules are unconventional and individually negotiated with each law firm. PLS believes we are joining your law firm team and should receive competitive compensation while being mindful of your law firm’s resources. We believe there needs to be an amicable, and professional environment from the commencement of the relationship.
Second, contracting with Per Diem Law Solutions, P.C. makes good sense on several plains. Our work is transactional. You are not paying us for more than the specific work we do for you. Moreover, your firm is not paying for vacation and/or sick days or employee healthcare. These are all expenses for Per Diem Law Solutions, P.C. to pay. Your firm is not subject to employer taxes or workplace concerns. PLS is a 1099 contractor and responsible for our own processes, equipment, and taxes. All the above is explicitly stated in our Services and Fee Agreement.
Third, PLS has a Services & Fee Agreement in place drafted by an attorney that is signed before we begin any work. It explicitly lays out our responsibilities, the attorney's responsibilities, and that for which we are not responsible. We also always have a clear discussion, which avoids wrong assumptions of what is expected on both sides. Per Diem Law Solutions, P.C. has a vested interest in our work for your firm. We are not a Temp Agency full of “newly minted paralegal students” who have decided to "go freelance" without the slightest idea of their responsibilities. PLS is family owned with over 15 years’ experience as a Paralegal and Law Office Administrator and has the references to back up the experience. Go through a Temp Agency if you want someone in your office who is only interested in being told what to do and handed work to complete. Contract with Per Diem Law Solutions, P.C. if you want someone who will be proactive in their own work and not need to be told what to do every step of the way.
Five Specific Facts About Per Diem Law Solutions, P.C. Operations
1. Clearly Defined Assignments: Per Diem Law Solutions, P.C. has found that services work best for our attorney customers when the scope of an assignment is clearly defined. This initially entails the attorney customer must spend a little time thinking about and defining the parameters of the first few assignment(s), so that all parties know both what PLS is expected to do and the scope of the desired outcome. Once PLS has worked with an attorney two or three times, PLS begins to be able to anticipate the attorney customer’s needs and work with less direction.
2. Big Picture Assignments: Per Diem Law Solutions, P.C. makes sure we understand the "big picture" of the case, beyond just the individual given assignment(s). For instance, when PLS works on the argument section of an appellate brief we request the attorney give our office the whole appellate record and if possible the whole client file. This enables PLS to anticipate any overlooked legal issue(s) in the outline of the appellate argument, and to find a way to address that issue. Without the big picture knowledge of the case, PLS will not be able to complete the assignment in its entirety. PLS is not aware of any jurisdiction whereas paralegals (virtual or otherwise) are not within the umbrella of attorney-client privilege for work product. Therefore, PLS needs attorney customers to not be afraid to share the needed information to competently complete the assignment. Obviously, the more PLS knows about a case, the more effective PLS can be at anticipating the attorney's needs and having the information and resources available.
3. Mutual Respectful Professional Relationship: Per Diem Law Solutions, P.C. is more successful when there is a mutual respect in the professional relationship. Even though PLS staff are not attorneys we are still legal professionals, and we strive to develop a professional relationship with attorneys that is collaborative and not hierarchical. The attorneys with whom PLS work best have trust in our staff’s skills and abilities, and actively solicit PLS management’s input on matters of legal doctrine and strategy and allow PLS (within the scope of what we can legally do as paralegals) the autonomy to “run a bit”. This is always ultimately to everyone's benefit. PLS works best with attorneys that will not be afraid to give us complete information about a case and solicit our opinions of the issues to argue and then compare notes with what the attorney has in mind. This professional relationship stage takes time to work together enough to develop a level of trust. However, the investment is worth the effort because it opens the door for a free flow of ideas and knowledge of both attorney and PLS and is beneficial to your client. PLS shares a common goal with the attorney to ultimately service the client’s needs.
4. Accountability with the Attorney Customer: Per Diem Law Solutions, P.C. has “mandatory check-in points” in our Service Fee Agreements. It is our goal to control costs, through having our attorney customers see the work-in-progress and make sure PLS is on the right track. For example, PLS will have an attorney customer give assignments like "Research the law on this issue and prepare a memo for me”. Time limits are set by the attorney to perhaps spend a half day or so on this, and then PLS has to check in with the attorney and let him/her know what PLS found out." PLS encourages all attorney customers to set these kind of check-in points, especially early in our relationships. Once time has passed with successful and satisfying work with an attorney for a while, we get to know one another's needs and abilities better, and this becomes somewhat less important.
5. Supervision by the Attorney Customer: Per Diem Law Solutions, P.C. always stays away from doing any work not properly supervised by a licensed attorney. Therefore, PLS also has in our Service Fee Agreements for attorneys to carefully review our work. This is especially true when it comes to trial briefs, motions, appellate briefs, etc. PLS is always acutely conscious of the fact that it's not our law license on the line. PLS highly respects and strives to protect our attorney customer’s law license through our excellent and efficient work product. Therefore, PLS takes a cautious and conservative approach to our work.