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8 Reasons Why Accepting A Locum Legal Position Is A Great Idea

  • September 20, 2019

Temporary legal roles are becoming more and more popular. There is an increasing demand for interim or contracting Solicitors and Lawyers (locum legal professionals) as a result of the current candidate-driven legal marketplace. Due to this spike in demand, many legal professionals are beginning to consider the advantages of becoming a locum.

Sometimes it isn’t easy to find the right legal position. It could be that you are relatively new to the legal marketplace; you could have been made redundant or just be looking for a change in your legal career. Making sure you get the right permanent job is not always straightforward.

On occasions like this, it’s wise to consider a locum legal position.

After all, some of the highest achievers in business started out in temporary roles – even the likes of Steve Jobs!

Working in temporary positions has increased in popularity since the recession of 2007, with 800,000 temporary staff now part of the workforce, a new report has found.

This marks an astonishing 40 per cent rise over the past ten years, according to research carried out by the Resolution Foundation.

The main advantage to law firms in hiring locums is an easily scalable workforce, but there are many benefits for the individual choosing to take a locum position too.

Temporary work is a good way for unemployed legal professionals to get back into employment and of course, there is the advantage that the interim role you take on could become permanent. Although there is no guarantee that this will happen, locum work offers distinct advantages that can aid your legal career, so you should seriously consider these when wondering if you should take a temporary role.

Advantages of locum legal positions include:

1. A Psychological Boost

Being unemployed can take its toll; eating into your self-confidence and motivation. So, a locum position can raise your morale and give a sense of structure and meaning to your day.

And if you take several locum positions, you will soon become adept at starting new jobs and taking everything in your stride, thus building your confidence.

2. Flexibility

Locum positions provide the perfect way to get more flexibility in your life. If you want to study and gain further legal qualifications, if you provide care for someone else, or have interests you would like to devote more time to, temporary work is ideal.

Locums also have the advantage of being able to often negotiate their working hours, shifting the work-life balance to suit their lifestyles.

Additionally, the nature of locum work, where you will be exposed to a variety of different roles and tasks, means that no two days are likely to be the same so that you can enjoy increased diversity in your work.

3. Continuous Employment on Your CV

When you go for a permanent post, it doesn’t look good if you have long gaps between jobs.

An interviewer is likely to ask you what you’ve been doing since your last job, and you don’t want to admit to watching endless daytime TV or reorganising the kitchen cupboards.

It looks so much better if you can say you’ve been in temporary work to keep up to date with industry standards, training and upskilling to put you in a good position for permanent legal work.

Not only does this show your commitment to finding a job, but it also demonstrates that you are a naturally upbeat and positive person who makes their own luck – the type of colleague who would be a bonus to any law firm.

4. Opportunity for Work Experience

Locum work is a great way to get a varied and diverse range of experience – and fast.

If you are looking to change direction or upskill in your legal career, say you are thinking of retraining in property law, locum roles are a great way to gain experience and ability in a variety of roles and arm yourself with additional, critical soft skills such as communication, adaptability and attention to detail.

A locum role also allows you to keep up to date with your current skills and provides a chance to learn new hard skills such as the latest software packages or developing your presentation abilities.

Additionally, legal professionals with many years’ experience already under their belts offer employers the benefit of their valuable knowledge. Your experience will build your credibility and reputation in the marketplace, making you a desirable and in-demand employee as law firms recognise the benefits an experienced locum can bring to their firm.

5. Test the Waters

Locum work is also an excellent way to try before you buy.

So, if you are interested in working for a particular law firm taking a temporary role will enable you to see what they are like to work for, what the company culture is, what their staff development commitments are, as well as allowing you to get a general ‘feel’ for the firm.

If you want to try several firms, temping also offer a low-obligation way to assess each one and try several different roles. This gives you the space to think about where you want to go next before committing yourself to a permanent position.

6. Build Your Network

Locum work is the dream way to quickly build your network.

It allows you to rapidly grow contacts across a wide range of law firms and legal connections as well as establish links with the recruitment company that placed you in the role. This can play to your advantage as you can use the same recruitment company to access future locum roles!

7. Temporary to Permanent

Make a great impression, and your role may become permanent. Even if it doesn’t, already being in the firm and showing you can do a good job could put you first in line for consideration if a full-time legal role comes up, as you already have experience of working for the firm and they know you.

Starting out as a locum and ending up in a full-time position can be extremely rewarding. The advantages include not having to go through a period of being on probation, already being part of the team, acclimatised to your law firm’s culture and knowing your colleagues.

8. Work-Life Balance

Of course, not everyone enters locum positions as a stopgap before something permanent comes their way.

Locum roles offer the chance to have greater control over your career.

I see many candidates who prefer to temp on a permanent basis to avoid the stress and burn out which is so prevalent in many legal professions where individuals regularly work long hours.

Locum work can offer flexibility and the experience of meeting a wide range of people and doing different things. Learning about the various law firms you work for and gaining skills and knowledge quickly can be rewarding.

Additionally, temporary work can enable you to use this knowledge to move to more senior locum positions while still allowing you to choose when and where you work, resulting in a great work-life balance.

Finding the Right Locum Position

If you’re looking for a locum position, a knowledgeable specialist recruitment agency such as Clayton Legal can help steer you in the right direction.

We know the legal marketplace inside out and are familiar with working with individuals looking for temporary positions and clients seeking to engage temporary staff. Working with one contact, we will get to know you well: your interests, skills and qualifications and your preferences so we can make sure you find your dream locum role – or roles!

Next Steps

If you’re reading this article because you are looking for the next move in your legal career, call one of the Clayton Legal team on 01772 259 121 and let’s have a conversation to explore your options. With our help, your transition can be smoother and quicker.

About Clayton Legal

Clayton Legal has been partnering with law firms across the country since 1999 and during that time has built up an enviable reputation for trust and reliability. We have made over 5,000 placements from partners to legal executives, solicitors to paralegals and legal IT personnel to practice managers.

If you are building your legal team or looking for your next career move, we can help. Call us on 01772 259 121 or email us here.

If you would like to know more about recruiting trends in the legal sector this year, download our latest guide here.

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