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Freelancing Question

Hi All, I'm a CA paralegal who has worked for a major in citechecker08/06/18
For smaller offices I can see the advantage, especially if y dingbat08/06/18
Thanks for the reply, dingbat (which I’m sure you’re not citechecker08/06/18
in law school, bluebooking needs to be precise, though there dingbat08/06/18
I have good news and bad news. The good news is that ther bittersweet08/07/18
Thanks for the feedback, everyone. I appreciate the unvarnis citechecker08/11/18
citechecker (Aug 6, 2018 - 1:53 pm)

Hi All,

I'm a CA paralegal who has worked for a major international law firm for several years, both in L.A. and NYC. I'm an expert citechecker, and can Bluebook, Yellowbook and shepardize anything.

I'd like to retire from the grind and devote myself to freelancing. I'm wondering if services like those above would be useful for law students. Word is split as to how well they are taught these skills in law school. Based on my experience, most attorneys aren't that great at it, and it is a rather tedious thing to master.

For smaller offices and students on a deadline, would it be useful to know somebody like me? How many of you would have been interested when you were in school?

Feedback appreciated, and thanks!

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dingbat (Aug 6, 2018 - 2:48 pm)

For smaller offices I can see the advantage, especially if you can also do some basic (or not so basic) research. Are you familiar with Westlawnext or LexisNexis?

In law school, learning to bluebook is a rite of passage. Just about everyone ends up on a journal, and that's 90% of what you do. Shephardizing is part of basic legal research, which I assume all schools teach to some degree. That being said, I'm sure there'll be a few students here and there who may be interested in your services, though I hope not (and it may be an ethics or honor code violation to do so)

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citechecker (Aug 6, 2018 - 4:25 pm)

Thanks for the reply, dingbat (which I’m sure you’re not).

Yes, WL & Lexis are like vital organs to me. As is PACER and other databases that aren’t so common knowledge.

I’ve heard some lawyers talk about their Bluebooking nightmares from school. Others less so. I’ve always assumed that at some point that rite of passage is over, but the work still has to go on. That’s where I would come in.

I’m not convinced that such a service would be in violation of ethical or honor codes. I’m not taking a test for anybody or writing the brief. I’m just reviewing the work, much like you would farm it out to a typist or proofreader. The attorney or student still has to take responsibility for it. I flag stuff that doesn’t look right, and the lawyer makes the call. Happens all the time in the real world, and I think it could even serve to enhance the education.

The only thing I’ve really wondered about as a freelancer is client confidentiality. That wouldn’t really be a factor for law students turning in academic work. And I can sign agreements with smaller offices and destroy all work products on my end to ensure that sort of protection.

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dingbat (Aug 6, 2018 - 5:37 pm)

in law school, bluebooking needs to be precise, though there's really very few times it matters (papers, legal research/writing class, journal). In the real world, there's very few times unusual bluebooking is required, and even then it rarely matters to get it not quite right. It's only the standard things you should get right, and it should become secondary nature for any attorney who really needs to do it.
Whether an actual violation or not, if I was a law professor who found out my student outsourced bluebooking, I'd probably fail them right away.

As for client confidentiality, every attorney who works with you should create the same type of confidentiality agreement they should have with every other vendor. In plain english, if I have an agreement with you that says you will maintain confidentiality, and my retainer agreement includes the use of affiliates/3rd party vendors, then it's fine.

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bittersweet (Aug 7, 2018 - 10:32 am)

I have good news and bad news.

The good news is that there is a market for such a service. I'm not sure I would market toward broke law students, but you might want to market to solos and small shops who are overwhelmed with the business they have. You can work hard to get your own clients, or you can try to get on with a company that provides appellate services. Work tends to be hit or miss but when they get busy they are VERY busy.

The bad news is that you soon may be out of a job. There is software out there that will bluebook and write the Table of Authorities for you. At this point it is too expensive for solos and small firms that are not doing several briefs a day, but I'm sure that will change.

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citechecker (Aug 11, 2018 - 10:26 am)

Thanks for the feedback, everyone. I appreciate the unvarnished opinions, and think I am going to give this a try. You've been a great resource!

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