By Tracey L. Steinberg, Esq.
The "gig economy" is in full swing with Lyft, Airbnb, Zipcar and TaskRabbit. Now, it has reached our courthouses.
PerDiemAttorneyNOW.com is a new "attorney-sharing" site where New York law firms can go online to hire experienced litigators to cover the day's court appearances and depositions.
The goal of this new site is to help law firms avoid the mad scramble to find a trustworthy attorney to cover their court appearances when their own attorneys are too busy or unavailable.
Just as Lyft and Airbnb eliminated the hassles of hailing a taxi or booking a hotel room, PerDiemAttorneyNOW.com wants to revolutionize the way law firms hire attorneys — a change many law firms are desperate to make. Financial pressure has made it difficult for firms to keep an adequate full-time staff. And the remaining associates and partners these firms do have must do more with less help.
Services like PerDiemAttorneyNOW.com are betting that being able to refer out a conference or deposition to an experienced per diem attorney eases that burden. It also frees up the law firms' own attorneys to handle the more lucrative and challenging work, provides coverage in times of emergencies, and enables overworked attorneys to work fewer hours.
I should know. After working as an associate litigation attorney in several New York City law firms, I became one of the first NYC attorneys to offer my litigation services on a per diem basis back in 2000. I realized that I could earn more per hour by working on a per diem basis over working as an associate in a law firm.
There was such a demand that over the years, I often found myself having to hire other lawyers to help handle all the court appearances and depositions. More recently I decided to create a site, PerDiemAttorneyNOW.com,
Many experienced lawyers have been embracing the shared economy because they are either unwilling or unable to work the long hours that are expected when working in a traditional law firm. They relish having more control over their schedules. Per diem attorneys can work on their own terms and are free to accept or refuse work, which is very important to many who have family responsibilities, recently hung out their own shingle, or want free time to pursue other passions.
Lawyers and law firms have all benefited from the shared economy because lawyers can work when they want to and law firms only need to hire help when they need to. The best part about being a per diem attorney is that when a law firm is stretched too thin, we get to be the white knight that comes in and saves the day!