Hiring freeze! These two words are dreaded by the entire in-house legal community, including, of course, anyone looking for work. Notably, I hear the most vocal hiring freeze frustrations from general counsels who are short-staffed and stressed out. Many worry that reduced capacity and budget constraints lead to unfinished work, sloppy compliance and, ultimately, their companies' exposure to liability. One inside counsel told me recently, "I just hope I'm not committing malpractice."
Economic disruption leads to more legal work, not less, for even the healthiest of companies. Challenges faced by any of your customers, suppliers, distributors or other business partners tend to result in contract breaches. And companies undergoing any kind of reorganization or consolidation must deal with a myriad of legal issues, such as labor law compliance and customer complaints.
3. The 1099: You may know an excellent attorney, perhaps even a colleague at one point, to whom you have said, "I wish I could hire you." Well, agree on an hourly rate, give the guy or gal a visitor's pass and e-mail access, and you are off and running. Using independent contractor status to end run a hiring freeze is a classic strategy that works.
Pro: Increase inside capacity, and get quality work from someone you know. Con: If this attorney works in your department for any length of time, you will be vulnerable to the IRS 20-part test for true independent contractor status.