May 25, 2024
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Top Side Hustles for Lawyers: Supplementing Income While Following Your Passion

Lawyer side hustles

Lawyers often pursue their career out of a passion for the law and desire to help others. However, with the high costs of education and sometimes uncertain career prospects, the reality of legal practice doesn’t always align with expectations. Many lawyers find themselves searching for ways to supplement their income through side hustles aligned with their skills and interests.

The good news is lawyers have highly transferable skill sets, making them well equipped to take on lucrative side gigs outside of traditional legal roles. Whether preparing contracts, teaching, consulting, or building an audience online, lawyers have no shortage of side hustle ideas.

This article will explore the top 10 most popular and profitable side hustles for lawyers along with actionable tips on getting started. We’ll also address important considerations around ethics and work-life balance when taking on legal side gigs. Read on to discover smart ways to increase your income as a lawyer.

Why Consider a Side Hustle as a Lawyer

With the high costs associated with law school and establishing a legal career, many lawyers carry significant student loan debt. In fact, over 70% of law school graduates have educational debt exceeding $100,000 according to a 2018 study by the AccessLex Institute.

Given this financial reality, side hustles are an attractive option to supplement income from a legal career. Top reasons for lawyers to consider side gigs include:

  • Pay Down Debt Faster: Side hustle income creates extra cash flow to pay down student loans quicker.
  • Save Up: Money from a side hustle allows lawyers to save up for major purchases, retirement, or future career transitions.
  • Gain Valuable Skills: Side gigs let lawyers develop new skills transferable to legal practice like marketing, technology, writing, etc.
  • Explore Other Passions: Having a side hustle allows lawyers to tap into passions beyond traditional legal work.
  • Enjoy Greater Career Flexibility: Multiple income streams give lawyers more flexibility to take career risks and manage busy seasons.

While side hustles require juggling multiple professional responsibilities, the pay-off in faster financial freedom and career development make it worthwhile for many lawyers.

10 of the Best Side Hustles for Lawyers

10 of the Best Side Hustles for Lawyers

The legal profession equips lawyers with many transferable skills from analytical thinking to persuasive communication. Lawyers can leverage these capabilities to take on a variety of lucrative and rewarding side gigs.

Here are 10 of the best side hustle ideas for lawyers looking to supplement their income:

1. Freelance Legal Services

Offering legal services like contract drafting, document review, and legal research on a freelance basis leverages a lawyer’s core skill set. Top freelance gigs include:

  • Contract drafting and review – Assist clients with creating customized contracts and reviewing agreements.
  • Legal writing – Produce legal briefs, research memos, case summaries, and other legal documents for attorneys or law firms needing extra help.
  • Legal research – Conduct in-depth legal research and analysis for other legal professionals.
  • Document review – Review legal documents and materials to classify responsiveness, privileges, and redactions.

Freelance legal consultants can earn $25-$100 per hour depending on their specialty according to Upwork. By setting up a legal consulting side hustle, lawyers can easily clear an extra $1,000-$3,000 per month.

2. Become an LSAT or Bar Exam Tutor

Helping aspiring lawyers prepare for law school and bar admission exams leverages in-depth legal knowledge. Many lawyers find tutoring extremely rewarding. Typical LSAT tutoring rates range from $70-$250 per hour according to PowerScore. With some lawyers charging over $300 per hour for specialized bar exam tutoring according to Pass Bar, this side hustle can quickly add up.

3. Teach as an Adjunct Law Professor

Experienced lawyers can teach a law school course in an area of expertise as an adjunct professor. In addition to imparting valuable skills to the next generation of legal professionals, adjunct law professors earn approximately $2,000-$5,000 per course depending on the institution according to Learn How to Become. Teaching one course per semester provides both personal fulfillment and a consistent income stream.

4. Offer Mediation or Arbitration Services

Lawyers equipped to facilitate dispute resolution can offer services as a mediator or arbitrator. While earning potential varies, top mediators charge $300-$700 per hour according to JAMS. With flexibility to set your own schedule, this side hustle nicely complements a legal career.

5. Create Online Legal Courses

Building an online legal education business allows lawyers to share their expertise with students around the world. While launching a course requires significant upfront effort, one course can generate ongoing passive revenue. Top platforms like Udemy pay instructors $14.50-$42 per course sale, enabling substantial earnings over time.

6. Start a Legal Blog or Podcast

Blogging and podcasting represent accessible ways for lawyers to establish themselves as thought leaders while potentially earning substantial income. By providing quality legal commentary and analysis, lawyers can monetize online audiences through advertising, sponsorships, affiliate marketing, and selling digital products. Top legal bloggers generate over $50k per year according to Lawyerist.

7. Sell Legal Forms & Templates

Creating quality legal documents like contracts, wills, and incorporation forms can provide ongoing “mailbox money” when sold online. Top-selling legal form creators on sites like RocketLawyer earn over $100k annually. By identifying high demand legal documents, lawyers can build a lucrative passive income selling online legal forms.

8. Offer Consulting Services

Specialized legal consulting leverages niche expertise while allowing lawyers to set their own rates. Consulting fees often range from $100-$500 per hour depending on the field and complexity according to AllBusiness. Lawyers might consider consulting in areas like immigration law, data privacy, employment law, mergers and acquisitions, patent law, and others.

9. Become an Expert Witness

Leveraging legal expertise to provide expert testimony represents a potentially lucrative side hustle. Expert witnesses typically earn $150-$500 per hour depending on experience levels and specialty according to The Expert Institute. While competitive, building a reputation as a quality expert witness enables lawyers to earn substantial income driving impact through the legal process.

10. Join the Gig Economy

Finally, lawyers can always tap into popular side hustles like ride-sharing, food and grocery delivery, manual labor apps, and other gig economy opportunities. While not leveraging legal skills directly, these app-based income sources offer quick cash flow during spare hours with minimal barriers to entry. Lawyers can easily clear an extra $1,000 or more per month through gig economy side hustles.

Comparison Table

Side HustleEarning Potential (1-10)Ease to Start (1-10)Difficulty to Manage (1-10)
Freelance Legal Services854
LSAT or Bar Exam Tutor943
Adjunct Law Professor735
Mediation or Arbitration Services944
Create Online Legal Courses837
Start a Legal Blog or Podcast766
Sell Legal Forms & Templates953
Offer Consulting Services855
Become an Expert Witness835
Join the Gig Economy6102

Analysis:

  • Freelance Legal Services: High earning potential given the expertise required, moderate to start because it depends on building a client base, and somewhat moderate to manage due to the need for ongoing client interactions and legal updates.
  • LSAT or Bar Exam Tutor: Very high earning potential with specialized knowledge, slightly harder to start due to the need for credibility and finding students, but easier to manage with predictable scheduling.
  • Adjunct Law Professor: Good earning on a per-course basis, but starting can be challenging due to requirements for positions at educational institutions, and managing can be moderate due to academic responsibilities.
  • Mediation or Arbitration Services: High earning potential due to professional fees, moderate ease of start-up with the need for certification or credentials, and moderate difficulty in management depending on case complexity.
  • Create Online Legal Courses: High potential for passive income over time, but difficult to start and manage due to the need for comprehensive content creation and platform management.
  • Start a Legal Blog or Podcast: Good potential for a substantial income through various monetization strategies, relatively easy to start but can be challenging to manage consistently to grow and maintain an audience.
  • Sell Legal Forms & Templates: Very high earning potential if successful, moderate ease to start by identifying market needs, and relatively easy to manage with digital sales.
  • Offer Consulting Services: High earning potential from specialist knowledge, moderate to start by establishing a market presence, and moderate management involving client and case complexities.
  • Become an Expert Witness: High earning potential based on expertise and demand, challenging to start as it requires recognition and credibility, and moderate management due to case and legal complexities.
  • Join the Gig Economy: Lower relative earning potential without utilizing legal skills, but very easy to start and low in management complexity.

Key Considerations for Legal Side Hustles

Key Considerations for Legal Side Hustles

While legal side hustles offer financial upside, they require careful thought to avoid ethical issues or burnout. Here are some key considerations:

Maintaining Industry Standards & Ethics

As licensed legal professionals, the same ethical standards apply when providing legal services as a side hustle. Lawyers must continue to meet expectations around confidentiality, conflicts of interest, candor towards any tribunal, fairness, and professional independence when taking on side gigs.

Consulting with your state bar association to understand the professional conduct requirements for legal side hustles is wise. Above all, the same commitment to ethical legal practice transfers to any side work lawyers undertake.

Avoiding Burnout

Balancing a legal career with side hustles increases the risk of burnout…

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Considering Insurance Needs

Evaluate if your legal malpractice insurance covers the services offered through a side hustle. Most policies for attorneys exclude external business activities beyond the lawyer’s firm. Purchasing a malpractice policy tailored to your legal side hustle provides essential protection for both you and your clients.

Leveraging Your Niche

The most lucrative legal side hustles tap into specialized, in-demand skill sets. Critically evaluating your niche legal expertise and unique value is key. Develop side hustles playing to your differentiated strengths and interests within the law.

Promoting Your Services

Generating interest often represents the biggest hurdle when starting a legal side hustle. Lawyers may consider pro bono work initially to build credibility and a portfolio before promoting their services. Content marketing showcasing your expertise also attracts ideal clients.

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Wrapping Up: Find Your Fulfilling Legal Side Hustle

Rather than a grind, the right legal side hustle aligns with your passion. It leverages your talents to create positive change in the world while providing income and fulfillment.

This article highlighted 10 of the most popular and profitable side hustles for lawyers looking to supplement their income. However, don’t limit yourself. Get creative in identifying opportunities aligned with your unique interests and abilities.

With thoughtfulness around work-life balance, ethics and niche expertise, a fruitful legal side hustle awaits. Here’s to finding yours.

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