Whether you are thinking of changing careers, searching for a permanent legal job at a law firm or corporate legal department, 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 of working on a project or interim basis as a contract lawyer, including the opportunity to work on a variety of assignments and with different firms. Legal employers recovering from pandemic-related disruption also see the advantages of bringing in contract professionals to support their core teams. In a Robert Half survey, more than 6 in 10 lawyers (61%) said their law firm or corporate legal department planned to increase the number of interim, project-based or contract employees in 2022.
Clearly, the opportunities are out there. But is this kind of work right for you? Here are three reasons you should consider working as a contract attorney:
1. The variety of work will enhance your skills
For many, working as a contract lawyer can provide not only 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 thinking of hanging out their own shingle to earn steady income while planning 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 eDiscovery, contract management and 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.
Read about how Non-Traditional Jobs in the Legal Field Offer Diverse Options.
2. You have flexibility as a contract lawyer
You can select assignments that suit your legal professional needs and better balance your personal obligations. However, contract lawyer work is not just a path to permanent work. Because of its many benefits, some attorneys choose to work in project-based positions for years, largely because of the flexibility it provides. One assignment might entail more than 60 hours a week for three weeks, while another might require 35 hours a week for eight months. It depends on the nature of the job.
While such unpredictability might be unsettling for some, many attorneys have come to prize this kind of flexibility. And depending on the nature of the project and employer policies, there also may be the possibility of working remotely, which can contribute to improved work-life balance.
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3. You'll have an opportunity to make connections
Contract attorney work provides you with an opportunity to work with a diverse array of employers in the legal community. The connections you make working with numerous attorneys and legal professionals at different firms can prove invaluable if you're a legal job seeker.
You can find a contract attorney position by working with a talent solutions firm specializing in legal positions. The best firms have extensive networks to help them match you with opportunities targeted to your career priorities and work location preferences. They can help to simplify your search by doing the legwork for you.
At Robert Half, our legal recruiting specialists bring decades of experience helping job seekers find great career opportunities. Let us help you find the right job for you.