A career as a lawyer is considered to be one of the most sought-after professions. However, becoming a lawyer is no longer a sure path to a life of social and economic privilege.
From being accessible around the clock and developing client relationships and businesses to compromising on work-life balance – the profession of a lawyer is not meant for the faint-hearted.
Moreover, being a lawyer in today’s economy is arduous. A significant number of lawyers are finding it difficult to maintain their capability of earning in this growing financial drought. The current scenario can be even more demotivating for newly-minted lawyers.
However, there are several legal means through which lawyers can supplement their income. A little extra money earned honestly can never be a bad thing. It simply means that you’re using your spare time and skills to enhance your income. This way you won’t have to switch jobs and will be able to boost your income while maintaining ethical standards.
But, it is important for you to remember that law firms have internal databases that enable conflict checks, and firms have policies about their attorneys doing side jobs. If you are a solo attorney, you still need to be wary of potential conflict issues. A public interest or government attorney may have to endure even more stringent rules. Do consider the important aspects before going ahead with a side job.
Here are a few ways that can help legal professionals make some additional money.
Teaching and Tutoring
There are a plethora of opportunities for legally-trained and experienced law professionals to teach in paralegal colleges and legal education societies.
Teaching business law or paralegal studies at a community college can be a perfect fit for several lawyers. If you are passionate about teaching, you can also consider working as a part-time adjunct instructor at a local college.
Tutoring students and preparing them for LSAT can also be a great option. Teaching can provide you with intangible benefits and networking is one among them.
Writing and Editing
It can be extremely difficult to fit a side job in a lawyer’s schedule, which is typically jam-packed with deadlines and client meetings. However, freelance writing can offer a lawyer the much-needed flexibility to pursue other dreams while practicing law. Moreover, writing jobs may be apt for lawyers as they are considered to have well-developed writing skills.
Analytical skills enable attorneys to review large volumes of information, finding similarities and differences, and organizing or proofreading documents, making them a natural fit for proofreading and editing jobs.
A lawyer’s research and writing skills can help him/her acquire a side job as a freelance writer. You can consider contributing articles for legal publications, writing law books or booklets on legal topics, writing columns for newspapers and magazines, law firm websites, writing association newsletters, business or accounting publications.
Alternative Dispute Resolution and Freelance Negotiation
Lawyers have skills that can fit in a variety of work settings. Mediating disputes is one among them. Corporations, hospitals, non-profits, government agencies and several other organizations hire professionals to resolve disputes.
With a background in mediation, strong communication and dispute resolution skills, you can consider alternative dispute resolution as a side job. However, you need to develop healthy working relationships with other legal professionals as they can refer you to clients. Managing good client relationships can also help you provide high-caliber referrals.
Arbitration, mediation, and negotiation are growing fields employing individuals with strong legal backgrounds. You can consider working as a freelance negotiator and help businesses and people make dealings or help them in negotiating their terms of employment.
Consultant to Companies
You can consider providing consultation to companies and organizations. For instance, you can do a compliance audit to ensure that a company’s policies, employee manual and practices comply with the employment law and other government mandates. You can even train staff on improving compliance and consider writing employee handbooks and standard contracts.
Moreover, lawyers are adept at making their case in front of a crowd and this skill is valued in several industries. You can consider public speaking at organizational events. This can not only help you earn extra cash but also gain reputation as a public speaker.
Hosting Legal TV or Radio Shows
Hosting a legal show on television or radio can not only help you gain extra income, but also help drive clients to your firm. You can even consider doing Internet radio shows and podcasts, and share legal knowledge through these mediums.
Nancy Grace, a popular talk show host is the perfect example – she started her career as a special prosecutor and later got the opportunity to host the show ‘Closing Arguments.’ Right after that, she gained a lot of fame and today she is one of television’s most followed legal analysts.
Finding other ways to generate additional income as a lawyer can be difficult, but it isn’t impossible. By using your time and knowledge optimally, you can earn extra money to supplement your take-home pay. However, choosing a side job requires you to keep in mind several important aspects. More importantly, you need to ensure that the means you choose to make an extra buck is legal. By bearing the minutest details in mind, you will be able to hold up a side job while practicing law, thereby enhancing your income.
Rex Huner is an experienced Chicago-based personal injury lawyer at Huner Law Offices, LLC. He established his own law firm after five years of practice and has since won millions in settlements and jury verdicts for his clients. He works diligently to obtain a fitting compensation for his clients who may have suffered personal injuries due to the negligence of others. Mr. Huner is also a member of the LawGuru Attorney Network.