Freelance paralegals differ from traditional paralegals/legal assistants not in the nature of the tasks that they perform, but in the nature of their employment. Typically, this is because the paralegal has privileged experience in a type of legal expertise or manner of case that the organization typically does not operate in.
Paralegals often do not operate on a contract basis, but on either a salary or billing cycle, meaning that they can be terminated by an organization at any given time.
Just like any other form of paralegal, a freelance paralegal works at the discretion of an attorney or supervising group within the company, and does not operate autonomously within the organization.
For instance, if a firm is involved in a civil action that involves a need for environmental law and related research, they may hire a paralegal with experience in environmental work for a short period to help with research in that direction or take advantage of the paralegals preexisting knowledge of statutes and precedents in the field.
However, the paralegal will not be used for any fundamental legal strategy, as that falls exclusively under the auspices of a lawyer.
Freelance paralegals are not the same as independent paralegals.under an attorney’s supervision, while independent paralegals usually work independently from an attorney’s supervision.
Freelance paralegals can be associated with agencies who specialize in placing freelance paralegals, or they can be autonomous.
Paralegal duties contracted may not always be on a full time basis, which is another condition why an organization may seek freelance help, provided they can guaranteed a contracted commitment on their end to the freelance paralegal.