9 Side Hustles for Lawyers

Author: Elon Glucklich

Elon Glucklich

Elon Glucklich

7 min. read

Updated April 30, 2024

As a lawyer, you’re used to dealing with pressure and sticking to a demanding schedule.

But did you know that the same skills that you’ve developed in your legal work can be put to use creating additional income or pursuing new career paths?

Finding the right side hustle for lawyers can help you save money to open your own practice. It can provide an additional source of income for personal expenses. Or it can help you build a path to an early retirement. It might even allow you to lighten your main caseload for a more sustainable career pace.

Here are nine side hustles for lawyers to help you achieve your financial and professional goals.

A natural side hustle for lawyers is to offer their services on a freelance basis. It’s a bit of a no-brainer: you already have the expertise in research, analysis, and drafting legal documents. 

This could be for other law firms or directly for clients — although you’ll need to ensure that taking on freelance projects doesn’t create any legal issues or professional conflicts with your main work.

If you’re looking for freelance legal opportunities, these popular sites are good places to start:

  • LAWCLERK Freelance Marketplace: Offering remote freelance legal services to law firms of all sizes. For freelancers, it offers short-term remote work opportunities on a project or hourly basis.
  • Montage Legal Group: A nationwide platform for freelance lawyers to offer their services to law firms and in-house legal departments.
  • Legably: A freelance talent marketplace connecting attorneys, paralegals and law students with law firms and legal staffing companies for project-based work.
  • UpCounsel: A network of experienced lawyers available for on-demand business legal services.
  • Contract Counselors: A marketplace for law firms to connect with over 2,000 attorneys across the U.S. for short and long-term work.

If you’re a fast typer with a good ear, taking on some legal transcription work is another natural extension of your current work.

Legal proceedings generate substantial amounts of audio recordings. Whether from court arguments, depositions, or interviews, they all need to be translated into accurate written documents.

Transcribing work can be done by someone outside of the legal field. But your familiarity with legal terminology can set you apart on freelance transcription sites like Ditto Transcripts and Allegis Transcription, as well as UpWork. The work is typically done remotely, which is a nice bit of flexibility that allows you to take the work in your spare time.

3. Adjunct instructor

Law school and the bar exam are rights of passage for attorneys. If you’ve built up enough experience in your career, you may have valuable insights for the next generation of lawyers. 

Law schools and universities often seek practicing lawyers to teach specialized courses or offer practical insights into their field. 

Most law schools post adjunct instructor opening on their websites. And the Association of American Law Schools provides resources for entry-level teaching candidates. 

A part-time teaching role will lock you into some time commitments, so this isn’t the most flexible side hustle. But it’s a great source of steady, and potentially significant, extra income.

4. Bar prep tutoring

Remember how stressful studying for the bar was?

The bar exam is a $30 billion industry, full of exam preparation courses, training materials, and entire companies founded to meet the demand for bar preparation. 

Many law students look for extra help come exam time, which can make bar prep tutoring a lucrative side hustle.

Websites like Wyzant and Varsity Tutors let you create profiles and advertise bar exam tutoring services. If you live near a law school, you can post flyers in public spaces on campus marketing your services, or promote yourself on social media.

5. Bar prep essay grading

Grading bar exam essays is another potential side hustle for lawyers skilled in legal analysis and written communication. Bar prep companies like BARBRI, Themis Bar Review, and Helix Bar Review hire qualified legal professionals to evaluate practice essays.

You’ll likely need to demonstrate that you performed well on the bar exam and have experience in the tested subjects. But it’s a highly flexible way to bring in some extra money on your own time.

Lawyers spend hours after hours researching case law and legal precedents relevant to their clients’ cases. If you have strong analytical skills and the ability to navigate online legal databases, you can offer that same rigorous research as a side hustle to organizations looking to better understand regulations or barriers to their success.

Businesses that operate in highly regulated industries — think medical device startups or high-tech manufacturers — need the specialized skills and knowledge you bring to the table to navigate complex patent applications and approval processes.

Finding those paid research opportunities can be a challenge. If you’ve been in the legal profession for some time, you may be able to tap your network of clients and associates for work. Otherwise, simply searching online for freelance legal research work is a decent place to start. Just make sure that the results you surface are credible.

7. Freelance writer

Maybe you have a talent for writing powerful and persuasive legal arguments. The same skills that make you effective at articulating your point of view on issues are also in demand from a variety of publications.

You can offer your expertise to websites, blogs, legal publications, and businesses that need clear and concise legal content. Freelance sites like Upwork contain hundreds of requests for legal writing services, from startups needing help with their incorporating documents to individuals trying to file legal responses in civil or small claims court.

It takes time to build traction as a freelance writer. You may need to offer some free guest posts at first to get your name out. But once you’ve established yourself as a skilled legal writer, it can open the door to recurring engagements and consistent income.

8. Contract reviewer

Whatever your area of legal expertise, you’ve probably seen some type of contract. Maybe you’ve even drafted or reviewed contracts as part of your work as a lawyer.

From employment contracts to real estate deals, there are many types of binding legal agreements made between parties that need to be ironed out. If you have a sharp eye for detail and an understanding of the relevant terms and conditions, reviewing contracts can be a quick and flexible side hustle.

Companies like LegalZoom accept applications from experienced attorneys to provide contract review services to their network of small business, family and individual clients.  

9. The true gig economy

Maybe you’re just looking for a few extra bucks to save for a vacation, or help pay for that home renovation you’ve been planning. If that’s the case, consider looking outside of the legal profession.

If you have free time in the evenings, consider:

  • Picking up work as an Uber, Lyft, or food delivery driver.
  • Offering your services as a dog walker. 
  • Passive income opportunities like offering a room as short-term rental through Airbnb or another site.

Considerations before starting your side hustle

To determine if one of these side hustles — or a different one — is right for you, take some time to reflect on your strengths as a lawyer. Explore the pros and cons of each and how they would work with your schedule. Find one that aligns with your interests and goals, and start looking for opportunities. 

Keep your goals in mind, as well. Are you trying to save a certain amount of money? Are you hoping to open your own law firm one day, or are you thinking about positioning yourself for a career change a few years down the road?

Like any demanding profession, the legal field carries a risk of burnout. So you’ll need to honestly assess your capacity. But in today’s gig economy, having multiple income streams is increasingly possible even for busy legal professionals.  

Get your side hustle started

No matter what type of side hustle you choose, you should start by creating a plan. We recommend writing a one-page business plan, which will help you quickly validate your idea and identify your target market. You can download our free one-page business plan template to get started now.
If your goal is to save up to start your own law firm, learn how to write a law firm business plan, and then download our free law firm business plan sample, which you can customize to fit your own business plan.

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Content Author: Elon Glucklich

Elon is a marketing specialist at Palo Alto Software, working with consultants, accountants, business instructors and others who use LivePlan at scale. He has a bachelor's degree in journalism and an MBA from the University of Oregon.