Paul Elst, one of my readers, wrote me. He is an attorney in the Netherlands and has an interesting story that probably has counterparts in many countries of the world.
I work as legal counsel on a freelance basis. In Dutch:” interim jurist”. In the past 7 years I have worked for 12 different companies in the Netherlands. In August I finished an 8 month assignment at one company to replace a person on pregnancy leave. And now I am working for Getronics, a company not free to add head count but free to buy in legal services from me and two other interim-jurists. Contract, IP, and competition law are my main responsibilities.
There are a growing number of experienced lawyers in the Netherlands, now some 400-500, that prefer to work as legal counsel on a freelance basis.
Although most of them try to work directly for companies, in practice most of the work is placed via search firms that take 20-30% of the fee.