This is the dream of every millennial. Working online, without being restricted to one place. You can travel the world, and spend a few hours each day working on your laptop, maybe from a tropical beach while you sip margaritas.
Why not. I have done it. Between 2016-19, for 2 full years, I lived in beachside villages in Goa. I often worked from beach shacks, while I continued to work as the CEO of iPleaders. After some time I also managed to assemble a team in Goa where we all worked from a co-working space, which looked like this:
This was not the first time. While I was studying law, I began to do a lot of freelance work on the side. When I would get a major freelance assignment, that would require a lot of concentration, such as writing a book as a ghostwriter, I would travel to Goa and work for 10-15 days from the beach.
Somehow living on the beach always makes me super productive. Unfortunately, I am back to living in Delhi these days, given circumstances in life. However, I totally hope to take off again soon and live in exotic places while my work does not stop. More on that plan another day.
Today let me explore the idea with you: could you travel the world while doing freelance legal work on the side?
I plan on launching a full-fledged course on this eventually. But today’s Gyan is totally free.
I am going to share 5 different types of legal work that you can find and can do without being dependant on a fixed location.
Oh, and you have to earn a substantial amount so you can travel the world too. What should be that amount?
According to my experience, I think, earning about Rs. 1.5 lakh a month should be enough to travel the world comfortably if you use your money well. If you live cheap and scrimp, even Rs. 50,000 will suffice for one person.
How could you earn this much while you travel?
To answer this, I have interviewed lawyers who actually do this kind of things. I think they are totally heroic. Unfortunately, none of them are willing to talk publicly about how much they earn!
Also, I see that in the legal profession we only glorify those who grind it out in the usual pathways in the profession to make it to the top. I think that is totally unfair. It is no less magical to be able to earn a few lakhs as a digital nomad lawyer, having the freedom to travel wherever they want, compared to making a partner in a big law firm.
In fact, thousands of people have made partners in various big law firms in the last 20 years. I bet way fewer have earned the freedom to become a location independent lawyer or a digital legal nomad!
After all, the law is not like design or content writing! It is not common for legal work to be done by digital nomads and freelancers.
And that’s why this is totally worth your time to learn more from these people. Because even if you do not want to travel the world or become a digital nomad, these are legit job opportunities with lots of freedom and enough opportunity to earn, and if you are ever sick of your traditional job or career you could turn to one of these.
This is also significant for law students who want to earn some money on the side because you could do these things to earn on the side if you can deliver quality. Even full-time lawyers could supplement their income from some of these opportunities.
Is it necessary that I have to do legal work?
Not really. Many lawyers who are digital nomads do not deal with legal work at all. They do other things altogether, such as making money from a blog, organizing food tours, adventures, and cultural trips, making money from their substantial follower base on Instagram or Twitter. For example, Jodi Ettenberg of Legalnomads.com fame says that she earns from organizing food walks, writing, speaking at events and social media consulting.
That’s great, for sure.
We are not going to talk about those things today, though. We will stick to legal or semi-legal work, that actually put your legal skills to use. Deal?
Legal work from freelancer websites
These days, there are job portals that cater to digital nomads exclusively. The advantage of being an Indian is that you would find even the low paying jobs quite well paying given our purchasing power parity. Here is an example: https://www.workingnomads.co/remote-legal-jobs
There are also a lot of other websites that have freelancer opportunities for lawyers. I am providing a list below:
A very popular service on Fiverr is drafting terms and conditions for a website. Drafting contracts or reviewing are also services that are high in demand according to my research.
There are more highly paid gigs in freelancer.com. Patent law-related research, filing and drafting work seems to be really high in demand on this website. They even have an India friendly website.
Upwork is also an extremely popular freelancing website with tons of legal job postings from all over the world.
Legisone, on the other hand, is a totally dedicated cloud-based freelancing platform for lawyers. Definitely worth a shot!
Of course, we also have websites like Lawrato and Lawfarm in India where you may find work, though they are not dedicated to freelancers.
Advice over phone/ helplines
I have done this and it works really well. The idea is that you need to first write blog posts, create youtube or tiktok videos, or create free resources on some platform. If a lot of people begin to refer to such content at times of distress and benefit from your content, some of them would want further advice and guidance. They would then be willing to pay for a phone call with you. To cater to this, you can create a paid helpline, which can generate a substantial sum.
You can see this page to get an idea about how this works.
Drafting for other lawyers
This is an excellent way to make money without being dependant on a location. You can get a volume of work too. Of course, the payment will be far lower than what you expect from a client. But it is worth it because you can get volumes and have no need to negotiate with clients, no need to spend time understanding their requirements etc.
You can draft contracts as well as litigation documents. There are many lawyers who are hard-pressed to find juniors and find it really difficult to train them or retain them. This is a real problem area for many lawyers.
I will tell you a story. Once I went to the chamber of a famous lawyer, hoping to get her support in creating our criminal litigation course. She asked me what should a lawyer expect after doing the course. I told her that my goal is that what they learn in 3 years from a senior, they should learn that much in 3 to 6 months by doing our course. She got angry and threw me out of her chamber.
I understood her problem. Good juniors who learn also leave fast. Who will do the grunt work if juniors learn and leave so fast?
Anyway, such lawyers really need reliable people who can supply them with good drafts when they need and save their time. You need to target lawyers with at least 6-7 years of experience who are struggling with workload, and you can negotiate a decent rate with them.
But remember, if you can charge INR 10,000 for drafting a contract for a client directly, doing it for another lawyer means you are lucky to get even 2000 or 3000.
However, if you do 20 of those in a month, your costs are likely to get covered. Not bad, is it?
It would be a good idea to have such a relationship with at least 4-5 lawyers so you have a steady supply of work.
Remember that for a lawyer to give you such work they need to trust your work. They need to know you are responsible and you can follow deadlines. It is fine to do this work one or two times for free, for them to just get comfortable with the idea and see the quality of your work. It would be better to start with lawyers who already respect your quality of work and work ethics.
Also, remember that confidentiality is key because no lawyer wants their clients to know that they are getting documents drafted by someone else who is much cheaper!
Drafting and advice for startups
Many relatively smaller companies cannot yet afford to hire a full-time lawyer, due to money concerns, but would love to have a good lawyer and advisor available on call. This is a great opportunity for remote lawyers. Common pain points are drafting workplace policies, contracts, employment matters and government policies.
If you could get 2-3 such companies to give you work regularly, it could enable your digital nomad lifestyle. Such clients will not insist on your physical presence on their premises because they are getting a cheaper price compared to what a regular law firm will charge for a retainer.
Remote work for law firms
Many law firms around the world have begun to outsource some work to trusted freelancers. The cost advantage is key here. This quora thread talks about nomadic lawyers working for various law firms using certain remote work software.
Isn’t that cool? However, this would work if you have already worked for some law firms and have the CV to get a job in a law firm in the first place. Also, only a few law firms will have the resources or the mindset to hire remote working lawyers.
So you need to be very careful about who you approach for this kind of work.
Demand for legal content writing is extremely high because it is very hard to find good content writers in law. Such writers are also very, very expensive. Many people offer to do content writing, but most have no experience or capability. They just assume that they can do it, but the output is not up to the mark.
Lawyers and law firms need content writing for their website, blogs, newsletters, regular client updates and alerts, brochures, profiles and so on. Asking full-time lawyers to work on these things is very expensive, and also most lawyers are not necessarily good at creative writing. They write prosaic, boring, unreadable content.
And this opens a great opportunity for good legal content writers. The challenge is, however, business development. If you are traveling around the world, you cannot go and meet the lawyers personally to solicit business. This means you need to rely on an online system to find clients on a regular basis.
This is a bit of a task initially, but as you begin to do good work, you will get plenty of referrals.
I regularly hire content writers, and if someone could give me an article like this current one, according to what I commission and if I need not edit, I would be happy to pay INR 2000 for the same. Are you the right person? Say hi on Linkedin and let me know.
Law firm marketing
Law firms need marketing support. There are plenty of full-fledged law firm marketers these days, but if your prices are competitive, you can do this while traveling the world as well.
Most of the work involves content marketing, submissions for conferences and law firm awards, connecting with media professionals to get coverage for a law firm or its partners and getting lawyers quoted in the news.
Some big law firms also have opportunities for academic research and writing, which can be done remotely.
It is also possible to work with law firms to help with their branding, website updating, revamping of the logo, managing podcasts, and youtube channels. One can also help with managing social media pages of law firms.
Content writing is often combined with law firm marketing by legal digital nomads.
Ghostwriting for lawyers
This is not the most popular but certainly very well paying. I have done this as a law student to earn money. Many famous and rich lawyers will pay a lot of money for ghostwriting their books for them. Books increase any lawyer’s vanity quotient and standing in the practice. Plus it really helps a litigator to have published a few books when they are looking to become a senior advocate.
You can approach lawyers with a lot of money and less time and offer to help them as a research associate. This is just euphemism for ghostwriting. You would have to write the entire book most probably and make several iterations to suit the requirements of the lawyer, so please quote accordingly.
Writing a book can easily take hundreds of hours, so you are justified to charge a few lakhs. And if you have the CV, lawyers will pay. It helps if you have already published one or two books from a respectable publisher because then the lawyer can easily trust you.
Editing and writing
The legal publishing industry is big. Plus, there is a digital legal media that is growing fast. They need writers, editors, social media managers and coordinators. They find it hard to hire and retain people and are very open to working with lawyers remotely if the quality of work is good.
This is indeed a great opportunity. At LawSikho, we are always looking for topnotch writers who can write in-depth long-form articles about the legal industry and various aspects of a career in law.
For example, I am working on a book on how 30 young lawyers under 30 years of age successfully built their own law firms. I am looking for freelancers to help me with this project. In the past, we paid freelancers to do interviews for Superlawyer.in, and we are still open to doing it again.
Good legal publishers hire editors all the time as well. You could convince them to do the work online, remotely. As long as you deliver on time, they are not likely to have too many objections.
Lead generation and Telesales
These days there are tons of software, products and services being sold to lawyers and law firms. Who knows how to sell these things better than lawyers? There is a huge latent demand for lawyers who are willing to do lead generation, prospecting, business development, and telesales activities for companies trying to sell various products and services to lawyers.
Legaltech companies and legal media should be your top target, followed by legal event organizers.
Being a law YouTuber has begun to become mainstream. There are now a lot of legal YouTubers in India and abroad with really serious following, running into lakhs.
They get a lot of calls for advice and opportunity to refer work to other lawyers which they can monetize. They can also do promotional collaborations with brands like LawSikho, and help us to reach out to larger audiences, and earn a fee in the process.
They can also earn ad revenue from ads on youtube videos if the views are in large numbers. YouTuber has become a real profession, and it is totally location independent!
You can also earn by making youtube videos for an established channel.
Social media engagement
Do you have any idea how much a lawyer or law firm in the USA or UK will pay you to manage their Twitter, as long as you keep attracting more clients to follow them organically? Turns out the amount is quite significant.
Unfortunately, if you are not in the same city, helping them with Instagram may not be an option, unless they send all the photos and updates to you while you just manage the account.
Do you know at LawSikho we are looking for a killer meme maker who can help us to market our courses through memes? Let me know if you can think of anyone.
Online training and courses
This is what we do. We are pretty much a company with two offices currently, in Delhi and Kolkata, about half of our workforce works remotely, and most of them are lawyers.
It is not all that different for other online legal education companies. This is one industry across the world that has really embraced remote work.
If you want to work with us in online course development, or as an evaluator, please let us know.
Merchandising for lawyers
Imagine t-shirts and mugs with legal memes. How about notebooks and planners that are customized to appeal to lawyers? How about cool fridge magnets and car stickers that make lawyers feel the swag?
They are just not there in India. You can find them in the UK, but isn’t it shocking that nobody is doing it in India? If someone wants to do it seriously, we are here to collaborate with you. Let us know.
But seriously, why isn’t anyone doing this yet, given how big an opportunity this is?
Also, check out these upcoming LawSikho courses in which enrollment is going on:
Executive Certificate Courses