Temporary Legal Employment

Pursuing Temporary Employment

Contract, or temporary, legal employment has become increasingly popular over the past decade. A contract attorney is usually hired to handle legal matters in a shorter time frame than a full-time associate or employee, which creates an economic benefit for an employer.

The reasons for pursuing contract or temporary employment vary. Some attorneys seek the work as they search for full-time employment, while others find this type of work allows them to use their legal skills while creating more time and freedom to pursue other professional or personal interests. Some solo practitioners building their law practices supplement their income by performing hourly contract work for other lawyers.

While seeking a full-time position, you may wish to secure temporary or contract legal work to help you make some additional money during your job search. As you consider temporary or contract legal work, keep in mind that these positions are structured with an end date and rarely lead to a more permanent position with that employer.

Law firms with large document review projects are the most likely to use contract attorneys, and the assignments and time commitments will vary. Some assignments may be part-time, some may last several weeks, while still others may require a longer time commitment. Therefore, if you are seeking full-time employment, it is important to manage your schedule appropriately to allow yourself time to conduct a thorough and effective full-time job search.

Finding Openings

Many temporary assignments are posted through temporary legal agencies, and it is a good idea to register with several of these agencies. Some temporary positions are competitive so be sure to carefully prepare your application materials. Given the vast number of resumes these agencies receive, it is important to maintain contact with the agency. After you submit your materials, always call to follow up. If there are no immediate positions that fit your qualifications, plan to follow up every few weeks as new opportunities arise.

Once you accept a temporary assignment, treat it as a professional experience, even as you continue to seek a full time job. Ideally you may develop a relationship with one of the supervising attorneys, who may be able to provide you with a reference.

The following sites contain listings of legal search firms: