Updated: 3 days ago
Lawyers across the United States are not immune to the financial realities in today's society. Student loan debt and sky-high inflation have taken a bite out of nearly everybody's purchasing power, attorneys included.
In fact, law school graduates typically graduate with nearly $160,000 in student loan debt, making side work and hustles a near necessity for too many.
Thankfully, attorneys are highly compensated individuals. Across the country, the average lawyer earns about $144,000, according to Legal IO. And while this is a VERY good living, those that are just starting their careers likely won't earn this much, and they likely have tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars (or more) of student loan debt as well.
If you're a practicing attorney looking to boost your income, you'll want to consider these lawyer side hustles.
Related: Check out these special lawyer mortgage programs
The best side jobs for lawyers
Here are my favorite attorney side hustles in 2023.
1. Online legal consulting
Over the past decade or so, sites offering online legal services have exploded in popularity. With this trend comes the possibility for lawyers to make some extra money by offering legal consulting services online.
The best parts of this side hustle are well documented. You'll benefit from the ability to work from home and give you more leeway to accept exactly which cases you may want to work on.
Legal web writing and contracting
The best part? You'll be able to charge pretty good rates for your time and effort!
2. Legal education at a college
Depending on your specialties and type of law that you practice, you may have the opportunity to teach a class at a local college, university, or law school. Not only can it provide you with some extra income, but you'll also have the opportunity to give back and potentially meet and build relationships with talented students at the onset of their careers.
There is no shortage of classes you may be able to teach to. Even at the undergraduate level, classes are commonly offered on business law, contract law, civil procedures, and more.
These side gigs can be really difficult to come but you'll likely have better luck at your alma mater and if you can successfully build relationships with existing professors and department chair heads.
3. Create and sell LSAT prep courses and materials
Younger attorneys that recently graduated law school remember the experience of getting into law school quite well. Most schools require you to take the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) to evaluate the critical skills you'll need to succeed.
And many students need help to prepare for the exam. Herein lies your opportunity to build a side business by:
Offering LSAT test preparation sessions (live or recorded)
Build online materials
You'll want to do research and make sure your offerings are competitive in the marketplace. Also, these courses and materials could pair very well together with an LSAT tutoring business.
You could also opt to create Bar Exam materials. Common Bar preparation services and materials include:
Do keep in mind that the exams vary from state to state, so you may need to offer more individualized preparation materials.
Building out a DIY course side hustle
Building out your course materials does not need to be the herculean effort it sounds like. To help you start making money as quickly as possible, I recommend that you follow a couple of tips.
First, do some market research (using Google is fine) to gauge what types of courses are out there and selling well.
Secondly, I recommend that you leverage artificial intelligence to help you. ChatGPT can be an excellent tool to help you decide on a structure of an LSAT prep course (or any other topic that you're interested in writing about). You'll want to be cognizant that you fact check any information that the AI platform provides to you, but it can be the single most valuable tool to help you get your side job off the ground.
4. Offer legal writing services
You'd probably be surprised at the number of number of newspapers and other publications that are looking for legal contributors to respond to local news, write opinion pieces, and more.
Not only could this be the perfect side hustle to make some extra money on the side, but you'll also likely be able to gain free marketing to your legal services, as many periodicals offer an "About the Author" section.
Common periodicals that you may consider submitting articles to include:
If you decide to go this route, you'll likely want to have a good website ready to accept the influx of web traffic that could come your way.
If you're serious about building out a legal side gig writing on the side, there are a couple of ways to help you get started.
First, you may consider joining the HARO network, short for Help a Reporter.
Each day, you'll receive three emails, one before 6 AM, one around lunchtime, and one in the evening. There will be proposals from reporters looking to write articles on all types of subjects. You'll want to look for legal articles that fit your field the best.
From here, you can send in proposals to be featured in these articles, along with your credentials that qualify you to provide your commentary.
From here, you'll be able to build a library of pieces that you've been featured in, which will help you get other periodicals to pick up articles you write on your own.
5. Legal blogging
If you enjoy writing and are looking for a challenge, it may be a good idea to start a blog. You can write about your law niche, which can help you win more business. Or you can incorporate blogging into part of your LSAT or Bar exam prep services.
Starting a blog as an attorney has a number of advantages:
First, it can help you generate referrals for your existing practice as your web presence grows
Secondly, it can help you become a voice of authority in the space, leading newspapers and other media outlets to turn to you for commentary
Finally, you can use it as a way to sell products like DIY courses
How to start your legal blog
Starting (and ultimately) monetizing your blog is not an overnight process. But with enough thought and planning, you may be able to double your income - or do even more!
From the onset, it will all depend on your search engine optimization, oftentimes known as SEO.
I recommend that you use Neil Patel's blog to help you get started learning the concepts of keyword research, header/title tag optimization, image compression, and other valuable skills.
Focus your time early on in conducting keyword research and building a library of content. You need to have a lot of articles and posts to generate a lot of web traffic in time.
As you start blogging, you'll absolutely want to create a Google Analytics and Search Console profiles to help you make data driven decisions. Neil Patel's site can help you out here as well.
6. Virtual assistant like services
You may also consider working remotely in your free time as a virtual assistant. VAs, as they are often known, specialize in completing admin tasks for a company for a number of hours per week.
Virtual assistants oftentimes schedule travel, handle email inquiries, and perform other similar tasks. But nobody says that you have to offer conventional virtual assistant services.
Instead, as a second gig, you may consider offering freelance document review and other like services.
7. Enter private practice
If you're unsure whether working for a law firm is the right long-term opportunity for you, you may consider starting private practice on the side now. Then, over time, as your practice continues to grow, you'll have the opportunity to join your private practice full-time.
Working towards private practice will be easier if you build a website or a blog to help you grow your reach.
8. Write a legal centric book
One of my favorite lawyer side hustles is to write an engaging book about a popular type of law. For instance, if you work in trademarking, you may consider writing a book about the trademarking process.
A DIY guide can provide a great way to help your readers get started, but most people will need professional help to complete their application. This provides you a great opportunity to present you as someone that can help your readers get their trademarks and copyrights approved.
It's like creating two alternate revenue streams at the same time!
Online side jobs for lawyers
Some attorneys may be less interested in side gigs and more interested in second part-time side jobs that can be worked online. If this sounds like you, you ought to consider the following online jobs and functions:
Drafting contracts: Those well-versed in the world of contract law can browse opportunities that allow them to create client contracts in an online environment.
Copyright/patent/trademark advice: Beyond Upwork and Fiverr, attorneys also can pursue copyright, patent, and trademark work with online legal firms and websites.
Mediation services: In the past few years, more businesses and companies have turned towards virtual mediation services to solve business disputes via video chat or phone consultation.
Document review: There is always a need for qualified legal professionals to review and make recommendations regarding contracts and other documents.
Examples of websites hiring attorneys on the side include LegalZoom, LegalShield, and others! Beyond these companies though, there is no shortage of law firms across the nation that hire attorneys in a part-time or fully remote environment.
3 side hustles for attorneys to avoid
Just because you may want to work a side gig on the side does not mean that every strategy is right for you. In fact, there are three strategies that I recommend that every attorney skip out on.
1. Gig economy jobs
Typically, I don't recommend gig economy roles for lawyers for the simple reason that they have highly specialized skills that are in demand and transferable to so many other fields.
This means that I don't advise that you work jobs like rideshare or grocery delivery, though you still may be able to make good money doing so.
2. Low paying document review
Speed is key to making money through a side hustle. This means that high-effort, relatively low paying jobs, like freelance document review, may not be a good option for attorneys to work in 2023 or beyond.
Let me clear here - I believe that investing is essential to a secure financial future. But I don't like treating investing as a side hustle because it promotes rash day trading like decisions that can be harmful for your long-term portfolio.
Why would a lawyer work a side hustle?
Many lawyers make good money, so you're probably wondering why an attorney would want or need to work a side hustle. But there are a number of reasons why side gigs can still be a great idea. Among them are:
An additional source of income
Pay off student loan or other debt more quickly
Bolster retirement savings
Diversify law knowledge
No matter what your ultimate reasons are, legal side gigs are the perfect way for you to supplement your income and build experience at the same time. You'll also benefit from more flexibility than you have at your full-time day job. Plus, you'll be able to work at your own pace when it is convenient for you, whether that be late night, early morning, or a weekend day.
Finally, you'll also have the chance to develop and build new skills that you can apply to your future legal work. These new skills may even one day help you to further your career and accept new opportunities that otherwise may not have presented themselves.
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