The points made in "The New Malpractice" (June) add to the reasons why small businesses increasingly hire independent contractors rather than traditional "employees." In addition to saving employment taxes and overhead, the small business owner may sidestep significant exposure to legal liability by avoiding the classic employer-employee relationship.

While daily control cannot be exercised over an independent contractor, the end result of his or her work can be specified. With careful planning, far greater use of this status could be made by the typical enterprise to the benefit of both parties.

Naturally, each independent contractor should sign a contract that clearly states both his or her rights and responsibilities as well as those of the business owner.

Joseph R. Oliver, San Antonio