Rent-a-desk Lawyering

In these days of outsourcing, it's no wonder that even legal work is being farmed out to off shore "legal help" companies who provide part time and single job work by foreign workers trained in US law. Well, with that happening, it's no surprise that some firms are now looking for other ways to cut costs but keep using their current associate-level lawyer personnel.

One way was found by Canadian law firm Thackray Burgess that decided they didn't need lawyer associates anymore. Instead they just rented out desk space to them and cut them loose, sort of, and renamed them as Consultants. The associates, errrr, consultants, do as much work (or as little) as they want, setting their own hours and even working from home if they want.

The idea certainly has some appeal for the right circumstances. The Firm rents a desk to a lawyer but they don't work for the Firm. Instead, they do piecemeal work for the Firm (and get paid for it) or do work which they have generated on their own (and for which the Firm gets paid a cut of the fees). It's not much different from the kind of business real estate leasing where a business rents a location and pays a base rent (the desk) plus a percentage of the business generated from that location (the cut of other non-Firm-generated fees).

But is it good for you? That depends on which end of the equation you are on and what the terms are, but it certainly could be. Lawyers who want to work but want to balance that workload with a more fulfilling home life may find it a very attractive alternative to the grind that the "partner" path seems to be. And law firms that are looking to cut costs, while providing a different kind oand perhaps more satisfying working relationship, may find this approach suits them perfectly.

And with the glut of new lawyers, Rent-a-desk Lawyering just might be the best answer to the unemployment line blues that can await the new grads who can't find a full time job.

Ronald L. Burdge
www. The Law Coach .com
Helping Attorneys Win Cases Since 1978