Tom  Shaw
Tom Shaw
Associate: In House

Articles From the Team

Locum solicitor jobs: how to transition from a perm role

Locum solicitor jobs are in heavy demand and making the switch from a permanent role can be an exciting, rewarding and lucrative experience. It requires a great deal of dynamism to assimilate quickly with a business’s team, get to grips with their short term needs and provide the best possible service; daunting for those on the verge of their first interim role.

Below are some tips to make the early days that little bit easier.

Remember why you’re there

It’s important you keep things in perspective and focus on the immediate needs of the business; this ensures both you and the company get the most from the experience.

Typically, locums are brought in for one of two reasons: to provide additional support on a project or heavy workload; or to provide cover for a permanent member of staff who’s leaving (such as maternity leave or permanently exiting the business).

Establishing the ‘why’ behind your contract will keep you on track with the goals you set out to achieve, giving you direction and allowing you to have maximum impact.

Play to your strengths and acknowledge your weaknesses

Typically this point is more important if you’re providing cover for an individual who’s taking a break from the business, such as someone taking maternity leave.

It’s easy to become overwhelmed in this situation and worry you’re not performing at the same level and as efficiently as the person leaving. The key here is to remember you’re not there to replace that person or work at their level, given they’re likely to have had a number of years getting to know the business, its peculiarities and workings. You’re there to steady the ship and keep things ticking over as best as you can until they return.

Don’t compare yourself to the person who has greater knowledge and a substantial understanding of their role. Do the best you can with the skills you have and recognise the fact that you won’t be able to cover all bases; that way you can acknowledge where you’ll need extra assistance from the rest of the business.

Build relationships quickly

This feeds into my earlier point. You’re new to the business and you need to utilise all the knowledge and help that’s on hand to get to grips with the business’s needs and workings. It’s important to be as proactive as possible on this point as you won’t be afforded the luxury of a lengthy ‘bedding in’ period. Businesses require interims at a time when their needs are immediate so acknowledge this and build your relationships as swiftly as possible, particularly with the rest of the legal team and key management. They will be invaluable throughout the term.

Be flexible and say “yes”

After recognising your strengths and weaknesses, it might feel easy to avoid stepping out of your comfort zone where the role necessitates it. Again, it’s important to keep the business’ needs in mind and recognise why they needed interim support in the first place -they needed the spare hands. It’s a great opportunity to muck in and have a key impact, helping out in areas you might not have as much exposure to. The business will thank you for it and it’s all part of the fun of taking on a locum role.

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