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In this video I\’m going to talk about whether if is fair for you to make a profit when you hire a freelance lawyer. In one of my other videos, I deal with the question whether it is ethically OK to do this--to pass through to your client whatever you pay the freelancer, and then add on a premium--so in this video I\’m going to leave the ethics issue alone and focus only on fairness.
Now, as it happens, I believe it is very fair for you to make a profit. I urge you to do it as long as it passes ethical muster in your state. Here\’s why I feel so strongly about this.
The main reason is that whenever you hire a freelance lawyer to do legal research or writing for you, you continue to bear the professional risk. You don\’t contract that away. It will be you who reviews, signs, and maybe submits the work. You\’ll make your own professional judgment as to the work\’s quality and fitness. You\’ll decide whether it meets your standards. You\’ll run the risk that this judgment might be wrong. You\’re entitled to charge for taking this risk.
This isn\’t the only argument why a reasonable profit is fair. If your freelance lawyer is not a member of the bar in your state, then he or she is a nonlawyer professional—in essence an extremely highly qualified paralegal. Everyone understands that paralegals are not paid the $70 to $100 per hour that clients are routinely charged for their work. Paralegals don\’t make that kind of money, even with retirement and benefits thrown in. The difference between the totality of a paralegal\’s pay and the reasonable rate charged for his work is profit, and no one objects to it.