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But, What Do Contract Attorneys Do?

By Neetal Parekh on March 02, 2010 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

There are varying opinions on whether contract attorney jobs can further an esquire's legal career or hinder it.  There are a number of advantages of doing contract attorney work such as gaining experience or enabling pursuit of other career interests.

And naysayers also weigh in on the conversation, arguing that contract attorney work makes a candidate less marketable to large firms.

With the ongoing rally on the topic, you may find yourself wondering... what do contract attorneys do? Here are some common contract attorney tasks:

  • conduct document review
  • draft legal documents such as contracts, settlements, agreements
  • sub in for a regular associate while they are out of the office
  • use specialized skills (i.e. foreign language, particular expertise in law) in reviewing legal documents
  • carry out legal research on a particular issue of law
  • support a team preparing for litigation
  • prepare annual reports
  • assist in migrating case or contract information to upgraded software
  • review and suggest modifications for employee manuals
  • for out-of-state attorneys, you may be engaged for your expertise on another's state's law
  • assist in the Discovery and e-Discovery stage of a case

In short, if you are vying for a contract attorney gig, be ready for a range of tasks.  Depending on whether at a large firm, small firm, in-house counsel at a corporation, with the government, or with a non-profit you stand to gain broad-ranging experience--while hopefully not hindering marketability to your target job. 


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