Articles From the Team
How do I become an interim lawyer?
I have worked as an interim legal recruiter for over ten years and during this time I have seen the landscape for interim lawyers within the legal field become increasingly popular. Realistically it is an option for mid and senior level lawyers who for a variety of reasons no longer want permanent work, however still want to practice law and work for periods of time that suits them. From a law firm perspective this is the ideal solution for them to bridge a gap within their team temporarily with a capable pair of hands.
We often get asked by lawyers who haven’t worked as interim lawyers before “how do I become an interim lawyer?” For those seeking to work as interim lawyers my top tips are:-
- Make sure you are available at short notice. Ideally you need to be within a couple of weeks or maximum one month’s notice, as law firms will usually want to move quickly and in cases of covering maternity leave they prefer a handover period.
- Be open minded and don’t make assumptions about what you think you will or will not consider. Most often recruiters are given very limited information about exactly what the role will entail, so my advice is if the firm is of interest, put your hat in the ring and go and meet them. By doing this you will be in a much stronger position to make an informed decision and rule a role in or out.
- Be flexible with your salary expectations and mode of pay. Quite often lawyers expect to be paid an hourly rate and will not be flexible beyond this expectation. Whilst working on an hourly rate can be very lucrative some firms just won’t accept that arrangement, especially when it’s a longer term fixed term contract for six or twelve months. Remember the benefits package and bonus available if the role is salaried and you are employed directly by the firm.
- Keep your CV updated with a detailed summary and dates of each role you have worked in. Quite often the interim market moves fast so its best practice to ensure your CV is updated regularly so you don’t miss out on new roles.
- Avoid huge gaps or down time when you are not working. Interim lawyers most often prefer working this way so that they can take periods of time off between roles to travel, spend time with the family etc., which is absolutely fine. Three and six month gaps are perfectly acceptable, however anything over a year can become a problem as your experience and skills become dated.
- Register with more than one agency. Whilst some agencies will get roles exclusively most law firms have multiple agencies that they work with your more likely to hear about all of the interim opportunities available if you are in touch with multiple agencies.
- Keep of note of which roles you have applied for and agency that is representing you to avoid any issues of duplicate applications to the same firm.