The Interim Solution
The recruitment landscape is constantly changing and in the last few years we have seen the legal world adapt to changes in the economy, funding and in legal reform across private practice, industry and public sector. Nowhere has this had a greater effect than the interim market. We have seen organisations of all types and size move towards interim recruitment as a means of ensuring adequate resource in uncertain times.
Practices are relatively bullish about future fees, with most expecting a 3% rise in 2012 but all are still keeping a tight reign on overheads. In addition, changes to the legal aid system, the Jackson reforms and continually increasing competition from alternative business structures have given some private practices cause for caution. In an effort to recruit responsibly some of our clients have turned to more flexible contracts in the knowledge that these can be extended or made permanent at any time. Many are recruiting posts on a 6-12 month basis with an eye to assessing the situation further down the line. This has the added benefit of allowing both parties to assess fit in a real working situation.
Similarly within in-house legal teams interim recruitment is on the rise as a means of covering traditional maternity and sickness leave but also to allow the addition of specialist commercial lawyers who can assist during joint ventures and projects. This can act as a fantastic introduction to industry or can allow an experienced in-house lawyer to gain exposure to a range of sectors at pivotal times in a company’s development. Secondees from private practice are rising in cost again and the ability to bring in a talented lawyer with the option to extend the time period or to offer a permanent contract appeals to many of our clients.
Public sector organisations have historically used temporary lawyers for a wide variety of reasons and this trend continues. We have also started to receive instructions for fixed term contract recruitment as well as temporary roles as this allows tight control over budget and work levels over a longer period of time. Following the Comprehensive Spending Review budgets were considerably reduced but front line legal services still demand that headcount is maintained as the spotlight remains on the standard of our public services.
Of course, recruiting on an interim basis isn’t always the best solution and permanent recruitment will always remain a key part of an organisation’s development. It is important, however, to acknowledge the role which interim lawyers play in the workplace and the fact that they can offer real value. If an organisation needs staffing flexibility, has volatile workloads, or need to control costs, it may want to look at temporary hires.
If you are considering entering the interim market or if this type of recruitment is of interest to your business please contact Alison or Gemma for a further discussion on 0161 832 5147.