Solo and Small Firm

The Practitioner Winter 2014, Volume 20, Issue 1

The Ethical Landscape of Ad Hoc Legal Engagements

By Danielle Lackey

Danielle Lackey is President and CEO of CadenceCounsel, Inc., a national talent community of experienced lawyers supporting law firms (and their lawyers). Cadence bridges the gap between fixed firm capacity and variable client demand. With support from CadenceCounsel, law firms can supplement their high-end practice and capabilities in a wide range of business, litigation, transactional, and advisory areas, and nimbly respond to the ebb and flow of a busy law practice.

The inevitable peaks and valleys of legal practice present challenges for law firms of all sizes, but the variable nature of client demand is particularly difficult for solo and small firm attorneys. How do we meet client needs during the busiest times; financially weather months when we don’t have a full workload; and provide "full service" when handling sophisticated, interdisciplinary legal matters with a small team?

A growing answer is the interim support of temporary attorneys ("Ad Hoc Counsel") who have the experience to handle substantive legal projects (as compared to traditional "contract" document review attorneys). During peaks, temporary attorneys provide firms extra capacity or expertise on an as-needed basis, bridging the gap between variable client demand and fixed firm resources. During valleys, to level workflow and cash flow, solo and small firm attorneys can offer their own services to other law firms.

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