“I earn more, work fewer hours, I am my own boss, and I have huge flexibility and in turn job satisfaction”
Having spent 15 years with a full service, private practice law firm in Dorset and progressing from Trainee Solicitor to Director and Head of Private Client, I asked my candidate Lisa why 2022 was the right time for her to venture into the locum market.
Bianca: During your training did you always expect to qualify into private client?
Lisa: Absolutely not! I started off as a litigator.
Bianca: What were the main reasons for you choosing this area of law?
Lisa: It is one area of practice where there is a lot of work available, the work is often good quality, and the fees are easily attainable. I also find it generally a low stress area of practice.
Bianca: What do you think are the biggest challenges for a private client lawyer?
Lisa: IT and the changes/reforms, the ability to sell your services to clients who think that they can do the work themselves. Being price competitive but knowing your worth.
Bianca: What advice would you give to aspiring lawyers considering qualifying into private client?
Lisa: Get plenty of experience at a high level, work for a good, well-respected firm/lawyer. Embark on the STEP diploma.
Bianca: What benefits do you see from working as an interim lawyer?
Lisa: Flexibility, increase in earnings, the ability to see how other firms work. A change is absolutely as good as a rest!
Bianca: What difference does this way of working make to your lifestyle?
Lisa: I earn more, work fewer hours, I am my own boss, and I have huge flexibility and in turn job satisfaction!
Bianca: What has been your best experience working as an interim lawyer?
Lisa: The opportunity to work for an amazing firm to gain experience of high-level work working alongside an excellent, very experienced and well-respected lawyer.
Bianca: What challenges have you faced?
Lisa: Making the decision to leave a long-standing permanent role that I was happy in.
Bianca: What advice would you give to friends or colleagues who are considering becoming an interim lawyer?
Lisa: Speak to Bianca! See what is on offer, what experience is required, and do the maths. Do you want to have guaranteed paid holiday/sickness and a fixed sum at the end of the month or do you want to see a bit of the world and potentially earn a lot more?!
Bianca: What have been the benefits of working with Chadwick Nott?
Lisa: They are a well-respected agency which made the process of finding an interim role easier. They are efficient with their systems and super friendly!
Bianca: The last 2 years have been challenging and extremely busy for most lawyers including all private client solicitors - what do you think the future has in store for your profession?
Lisa: We are not just lawyers but salespeople; gone are the days when people would put lawyers on a pedestal. We must demonstrate our worth to our clients and communicate with them well. You need to invest in yourself - be up to speed with CPD, ensure your communication skills are excellent. Overall, solicitors are focusing on more specialist areas of practice, so we need to ensure we are the experts.
I have been working with interim/locum lawyers across the South West and South East regions at Chadwick Nott for eight years. Throughout this time, I have worked with and placed a variety of candidates, from paralegals through to partners, but I can honestly say that private client lawyers have never been more in demand!
Each interim lawyer that I speak to has their own reasons for why they choose to work on an interim basis but work/life balance is so frequently cited as the main one.
It’s great to see that working on an interim basis is not only a choice made by those wanting a career break or for those who have retired from permanent positions, but also for a large proportion of people who see interim work as a genuine and sustainable career option.
If you, like Lisa, would like a change, flexibility to choose your own work schedule (full time, part time, remote working or consultancy/fee-sharing), an opportunity to travel and stay in different locations, extended periods of time off, and ultimate job satisfaction, then please do contact me for a confidential discussion.
Likewise, if you are a temporary/interim lawyer with availability and would like to add additional assignments to your diary, I’d be delighted to hear from you.