As early as 2018, NPR noted the “rise of the contract worker,” finding then that 20% of American workers identified themselves as independent contractors. Today, 28% of Americans report that they hold some type of contractor position.
The rise in the number of independent contractors has been fueled in part by businesses and industries that have promoted this modern working arrangement.
Your law practice could also benefit from employing independent contractors to help fill your firm’s support needs. Whether you need a paralegal, a bookkeeper, or some other assistance, turning to an independent contractor can be an ideal solution to your staffing needs.
Independent Contracting Levels Up the Modern Business
For a cost-conscious business, hiring contractors as opposed to traditional employees represents several advantages, including:
- Contractors generally provide their own tools and equipment
- Health insurance, sick pay, and other incentives are typically not offered
- Employers need not withhold taxes for independent contractors
- An independent contractor comes to a job already trained and frequently with specialized skills or knowledge they can use immediately
Contractors themselves see benefits from this arrangement, too. Independent contractors can often work when it is convenient for them to do so. It is also common for them to be able to work remotely. Globally, nearly 20% of independent contractors work in remote positions.
How Hiring Contractors Can Benefit Your Law Firm
The legal industry is notoriously slow to adapt to new technologies and ways of doing business. The traditional law firm model, which is still prevalent today, involves a firm with one or more attorneys supported by numerous support staff working onsite.
As inefficient and difficult as this model is for many firms to implement, it is predictable, and its benefits and drawbacks are well-known.
Large and small law firms that embrace the current trend of hiring contractors rather than employees have realized some distinct benefits to their practices, however. These benefits include:
Larger Talent Pool
In the traditional model, your candidate pool is limited to those individuals who are geographically close to your firm or who are willing to relocate. This made it difficult for firms located in rural areas to attract qualified candidates. Candidates with education or specialized training would often land at larger firms in cities and urban areas.
Employing independent contractors who can work for your firm remotely means that you can hire professionals from anywhere in the country, as long as they have a reliable internet connection and the appropriate credentials.
A job posting for such a position could result in candidates from all corners of the country applying, including from areas where candidates with your desired qualifications prefer to reside.
More Flexibility in Work Schedules and Arrangements
Another drawback to the typical model of employing onsite workers is that work must be completed at the firm’s physical location. With this model, inclement weather and other complications can interfere with an employee’s ability to arrive at the office.
A remote independent contracting position does away with an employee’s need to be physically present at your firm to perform work. With a solid internet connection and a virtual private network (VPN) or other security measures in place, your remote contractor can work from anywhere without losing productivity.
Greater Money and Time Savings for You and Your Firm
Just as businesses in other industries have found that independent contractors are a budget-friendly solution, your firm can see for itself the cost savings that come from using the independent contractor model in your firm.
With an independent contractor, you and the contractor agree on a price for the contractor’s services. You are not expected to provide health insurance or any other benefits to the contractor.
Your payroll is also simplified with an independent contractor. Your contractor receives a 1099 at the end of each year as opposed to a W-2. Throughout the year, though, the contractor is responsible for withholding the appropriate amount of taxes so they can pay their tax bill.
Moreover, independent contractors are usually required to provide their own equipment and maintain any certifications that may be necessary to perform their jobs.
Another way that contractors can save you and your firm time is in regard to training. When you bring a new employee on board, you must typically train that employee from the ground up. Candidates with previous experience would still need to be trained not only on how your firm operates but also on the specifics of working in your firm.
When you employ an independent contractor, the need for lengthy training and onboarding processes is reduced. While your new contractor would need to know your firm’s expectations and policies, most contractors come with experience in their field, reducing —if not eliminating — the burden of extensive training.
The Advantages of Independent Contracting Are Dependable
Since 2018, independent contracting work arrangements have proven their resilience in times of prosperity and times of calamity. No matter the economic or cultural situation, independent contracting has remained a cost-effective and efficient way for businesses to get work done.
With years of practical experience supporting independent contracting, you can have confidence that these benefits are not hypothetical.
Make the Change With Woven Legal
Making the shift to hiring independent contractors can be the change you’re looking for to level up your law practice and save crucial time and money — without sacrificing quality of work.
Woven Legal connects law firms of all sizes with highly qualified remote paralegals, legal assistants, and other professionals who possess the skills your firm needs. A subscription-based service, we offer month-to-month contracts that allow you to choose the number of hours of support you need from your remote professional.
We also handle many aspects of the arrangement on your behalf, including indirect costs and completing any payroll taxes that may be necessary. Book a free discovery call today to learn how choosing Woven Legal can benefit your firm.