The legal industry is rapidly changing and adapting to new technologies and ways of working. Many legal professionals are now offering their services online, opening up new opportunities for collaboration and outsourcing. As a legal blog or website owner, partnering with freelance legal writers can help provide quality, relevant content to your readers. Here are some tips on finding and working with legal writers for your website.
Why You May Want to Hire a Legal Writer
There are several reasons website owners often seek out legal writers to contribute content:
- Expertise – Legal writers have knowledge of the law, legal processes and the industry that your average writer does not. This allows them to provide accurate explanations and avoid mistakes when covering legal topics.
- Credibility – Content by legal professionals lends an air of credibility and authority to your site. This helps establish your site as a trusted source on legal matters.
- Search visibility – Articles and posts optimized by legal writers can effectively target relevant keywords and improve your site’s search engine visibility.
- Time savings – If you don’t have a legal background, writing legal articles from scratch can be very time consuming. Hiring a legal writer saves you research and drafting time.
- Expands offerings – A diverse team of legal writers allows you to expand the range of topics and legal practice areas covered on your site.
Where to Find Freelance Legal Writers
So where can you find qualified legal writing candidates? Here are some options:
- Freelance platforms – Websites like Upwork, Freelancer and Guru have large pools of freelancers, including legal writers. Post a job describing your needs.
- Legal industry forums – Many legal professionals network and find work on sites like Justia and Legal OnRamp. Post about your writing opportunity.
- LinkedIn – Search for legal professionals on LinkedIn using keywords like “legal writer” or “freelance attorney.” Reach out directly to promising candidates.
- Google search – Search Google for “freelance legal writing” or “legal writing services” to find providers. Vet them thoroughly.
- Law schools – Many law students offer freelance writing services. Contact nearby law schools to spread the word.
- Local Bar Association – Your state or city bar association may let you post an ad or job listing for legal writers.
- Past writing samples – If any legal professionals have guest posted on your site in the past, contact them about doing more work.
What to Look for in a Good Legal Writer
Once you’ve identified some prospective legal writing candidates, look for these key qualities:
- Legal knowledge and experience – At minimum they should have a J.D. degree. Additional experience practicing law or writing about legal topics is ideal.
- Strong research skills – They should be proficient finding and analyzing legal sources, cases, statutes and rulings.
- Communication skills – You want clear, concise and readable writing. Look for experience with legal drafting and writing.
- Attention to detail – Accuracy is critical in law. They should demonstrate an ability to precisely interpret legal language.
- Timeliness – They should be able to stick to deadlines and manage their workload. Ask about turnaround times.
- SEO skills – If SEO and online visibility are important, look for writers with keyword and search optimization experience.
- Portfolio – Ask to see samples of past legal writing they’ve done. Published clips are especially useful.
Questions to Ask Prospective Candidates
When evaluating legal writers, consider asking these types of screening questions:
- What is your background and experience with legal writing? How many years of experience do you have?
- What legal topics or practice areas are you most experienced and comfortable writing about?
- Can you provide some examples of legal writing you have gotten published online or in print?
- How would you optimize legal articles for SEO and readability online?
- How quickly can you research and write a quality legal article, generally? What is your typical turnaround time?
- What process will you use to ensure articles are well-researched, accurate and legally sound?
- Do you have experience contributing to legal blogs, websites or news publications? Which sites?
- What do you charge for legal writing services? Are you open to per-piece payments, hourly or per-word?
Guidelines for Your Legal Writers
When hiring any writers, it helps to provide some guidelines about your expectations and policies. Here are some to cover with your legal writers:
- Deadlines – Be clear about when articles are due and if there is any flexibility on deadlines.
- Word counts – Indicate the expected length per article so writers budget time accordingly.
- Style guide – Offer a style guide with your preferred tone, formatting, legal citation style, etc.
- Review process – Explain your editing and review process before publishing. Build in time for revisions.
- Payment terms – Set expectations about pay rates, payment methods and billing schedule.
- Ownership rights – State who owns the copyrights to produced content. Require original writing.
- Attribution – Clarify how writers will be credited for articles. Can they include bylines?
- Cite checking – Emphasize the importance of accuracy and fact checking sources.
Topics and Angles to Cover
The possibilities are nearly endless for legal articles, but here are some topic ideas to cover on your site:
- Breakdowns of major court cases and key laws
- Explainers on legal processes – how to file lawsuits, apply for patents, report sexual harassment, etc.
- Q&As on common legal questions and scenarios
- The latest trends and developments in key practice areas
- Profiles on notable lawyers, judges, law firms and companies
- Guides on legislation in the news – new laws, pending bills, etc.
- Analytical pieces on the legal impacts of major news events
- Advice on working effectively with lawyers for business, estate planning, immigration, etc.
- Thought leadership articles where lawyers share professional expertise
Aim to strike a balance between evergreen fundamentals and timely articles reacting to current legal developments and news. Look for unique angles and perspectives to help articles stand out.
Optimizing and Promoting Legal Content
Once you have quality legal articles, leverage them through smart optimization and promotion:
- Include relevant metadata like eye-catching titles, meta descriptions, tags and keywords.
- Link internally to related articles to encourage browsing within your site.
- Repurpose content into shorter excerpts, tweets, Q&As, infographics and videos.
- Promote new and evergreen content through your email newsletter and social channels.
- Consider guest posting articles on legal blogs to gain added exposure.
- Monitor comments and feedback to see which articles resonate most with readers.
The legal industry provides endless opportunities for informative articles that attract and help readers. Partnering with legal writer professionals allows you tap into expert knowledge while saving time and resources. With the right team and optimization approach, you can build a readers’ destination site for legal news, analysis and guidance.