Working as an Interim Lawyer
Interim Lawyers are in Demand
Interim work is a growing opportunity for lawyers. As firms plan for factors such as varying workloads, maternity cover, specialist expertise for short-term projects and market uncertainty, hiring interim staff is increasingly their preferred option.
A Flexible Option
If you’re looking for flexibility an interim position makes sense. You can earn a good salary without having to commit to a permanent contract. At the same time there’s the opportunity to learn new skills, explore a different discipline and gain new experience. Contracts can be for as little as a week, a few months or a year or more. For overseas candidates, interim work can deliver valuable UK work experience.
Pay levels for interim lawyers depend on factors such as specialism, qualifications and experience. The remuneration is usually on a par with permanent staff in similar roles. In the majority of cases private practice pays more than in-house.
The Difference Between Temporary and Contract Assignments
Temporary and interim assignments - They’re usually much more short term than contract arrangements and also tend to feature shorter notice periods. The contractor is paid by the hour, submitting timesheets each week to the client for approval. The contractor’s agency is responsible for payment. All payroll administration is handled between the agency and contractor.
Contract assignments – These are often used when the need stretches over a longer timeframe – for instance maternity cover, long term sickness leave or a specific period of increased workload. Recruitment is similar in nature to that for a permanent role. Start and end dates are set, and the candidate is paid a salary and receives benefits from the firm or company.
Tax and NI Matters
PAYE – Your tax and National Insurance will be deducted from the system of the company you’re working for. This applies whether you’re classed as a temporary worker or on a fixed-term contract and considered employed by a ifrm.
Working through a limited company or providing your services as a limited company means this entity pays you, and is responsible for deducting your
tax and NI. You can’t work on a fixed contract basis for a firm through a limited company – tax and NI must be paid by the company you’re contracted to.
Typical BCL Interim Candidate Profile and Experience
Candidates for our interim opportunities must be available to start at short notice. By their nature most Interim assignments are meeting an urgent need, so your existing notice period should be no longer than four weeks.
An interim role will suit you if you want some time to consider your future career path, or wish to explore a new specialism. Sometimes employers use interim positions to ‘try out’ lawyers before offering permanent employment. Some people prefer being a ‘career locum’, because the arrangement gives them the flexibility and freedom to do other things.
Register here if you would like to receive regular updates on interim opportunities as they arise.
Document Review Advice
Document review work is usually performed by lawyers and paralegals with extensive and specific litigation experience. Along with UK-wide document review opportunities, BCL has specialist expertise in placing people with ‘high end’ London firms.
Our connections include US, Magic and Silver Circle firms, and smaller ‘boutique’ practices. Many of our candidates find gaining a document review position is an effective ‘foot in the door’ with some of the most prestigious firms.
The crucial candidate criteria include:
As much litigation work crosses boundaries, you may also need to have worked in several different jurisdictions, and bi or multi-lingual skills can be a real advantage.