How to make your temporary legal job permanent

Temporary legal jobs are becoming more common and with increasingly less stigma attached, as law firms are noticing the benefits that lie in hiring temporary legal professionals.

If you are considering signing up with a specialist legal recruitment agency in the hope of acquiring a temporary legal job, you could still be in with a chance of a permanent role within the firm.

Unlike temporary contracts outside the legal industry, there will not be a ‘temp to perm’ option, but your recruitment agency will have been approached to find a suitably qualified candidate for a temporary period of time. This might be to cover maternity or holiday leave, or as is becoming more frequent, firms are turning to locum solicitors as an immediate resource to reduce the pressure when a firm is in the process of expansion, in cases of unexpected resignation and at peak periods of activity.

Taking a temporary legal job

If you are seeking a temporary legal job, it is important that you demonstrate your ability to be flexible with both your time and location to the recruitment agency and any potential employer. The attraction in hiring locum solicitors lies in the implied belief that you are willing to go that extra mile; a necessity if your aim is to become a permanent member of the team.

The benefits for you are numerous:

  • If the firm is not the right fit for you, you only have to stay until the end of your contract
  • You can add valuable legal skills and experience to your CV
  • You will be making an abundance of contacts within the industry you want to work in
  • You will be earning an hourly rate, which dependent on your level of experience could surpass a salary rate

Why employers want you

Firms have begun to perceive temporary legal professionals as a valued resource in recent years, as they not only provide flexibility but often have an in-depth knowledge of various areas of the law from their interim experience.

If you know you can provide this level of knowledge and skills to a firm it is imperative that you exemplify your worth to your employer if your wish is to become permanent.

As the recession has hit the UK, firms have begun to see the advantages in recruiting temporary solicitors throughout busy periods instead of adding a permanent solicitor onto the payroll. From a financial point of view for the firm, you are a cost-effective, immediate solution to a change in workload or an increase in market demands. However, by showing your value to a firm from the outset it may be that they consider your expertise worth bringing into the firm permanently.

Showing what you can do

It is not only important to show how much you can offer the firm in your legal expertise, but also in the way you conduct yourself professionally. Consider your temporary period at a firm as an extended job interview; this may help you pay attention to small details that can easily slip through the cracks the more comfortable you become in your role.

Prove yourself to your potential employer by taking the following steps:

  • Research the firm in advance - know how they work, their goals for the future and show how you are the perfect fit for their ongoing vision.
  • Dress impeccably – the majority of your colleagues will be dressed well and in professional attire on a daily basis, you must ensure your standards are equal if not better as you represent their firm.
  • Always be punctual – Be 10 minutes early to the office and ensure you are known for your willingness to be flexible whenever possible.
  • Communicate – One of your advantages of being a temporary solicitor is making connections in the work place, by establishing solid working relationships early on you will be helping yourself whether you are taken on permanently or not.

If you have further concerns regarding your temporary employment status discuss your future with your specialist legal recruitment agency, they will have the most information and tailored advice to enable you to get the best outcome out of your situation.

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