Whether you are thinking of changing careers, in search of a permanent legal job at a law firm, or looking for better work/life balance, don't overlook work as a contract lawyer as a viable short- or long-term employment option.
More and more attorneys are realizing the benefits to working on a project basis as a contract lawyer, including diverse assignments and the opportunity to work with a variety of employers. Here are four reasons why you should consider working as a contract attorney:
1. The variety of work will enhance your skills and deepen your legal knowledge.
For many, working as a contract lawyer can not only provide a source of income but also the opportunity to keep skills and legal knowledge fresh. Contract lawyer work also can be a way for enterprising attorneys who are hanging out their own shingle to earn steady income while growing their practice. These assignments also might lead to a full-time position at a law firm or as part of an in-house legal team.
Employers looking to hire contract attorneys differ, and so do the types of work they offer, including litigation support and the ediscovery process, contract administration, and mergers and acquisitions-related matters. For example, an employer may need help drafting pleadings or contracts, analyzing data for ediscovery, or preparing for litigation by taking depositions or interviewing witnesses. Or an attorney may need extra help handling a high number of court appearances. Working as a contract attorney can provide you with a wide variety of work experiences.
2. You can select assignments that suit your legal professional needs and better balance your personal obligations.
Contract lawyer work is not just a path to full-time work, however. Because of its many benefits, some attorneys choose to work in project-based positions for years, largely because of the flexibility such work provides. One assignment might entail 50 hours a week for three weeks; another, 60 hours a week for eight months, depending on the nature of the job. While such unpredictability might be unsettling for some, many attorneys prize this kind of flexibility and find it enables them to achieve greater work/life balance, sign up for classes that support legal continuing education or pursue other interests.
3. You'll have an opportunity to connect with a diverse array of employers.
Contract attorney work provides you with an opportunity to make connections in the legal community. Over time, you are likely to work with numerous attorneys and legal professionals at different firms. These connections can prove invaluable if you’re looking for a full-time position and often can help to connect you with legal job opportunities or leads. Another advantage of project work is that attorneys can choose when and where they want to work. After one assignment ends, they’re free to move on to another or take a break.
4. Staffing agencies for legal employment can do the legwork for you.
Consider signing up for email notifications from your local bar association's legal job board or industry websites. If you're a recent graduate, your law school’s career services office should be able to provide you with a list of relevant resources. Also, searching for contract or temporary attorney positions on career websites, legal-based or not, can produce valuable job leads.
You also can find a contract attorney position by working with a specialized staffing firm. If you choose to take this approach, there will likely be an initial interview process, after which you’ll receive information regarding projects for which you’re qualified. Staffing agencies for legal employment can help to simplify your search by doing the legwork for you. And the best legal staffing companies have extensive networks to help them match you with the best and most appropriate opportunities.
For more information regarding contract lawyer positions, visit our website.