find the latest legal job
Corporate Counsel and Company Secretary
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: Newcastle, Maitland & Hunter NSW
· Highly-respected, innovative and entrepreneurial Not-for-Profit · Competency based Board
View details
Chief Counsel and Company Secretary
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: Newcastle, Maitland & Hunter NSW
· Dynamic, high growth organisation · ASX listed market leader
View details
In-house Projects Lawyer | Renewables / Solar | 2-5 Years PQE
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: All Australia
· Help design the future · NASDAQ Listed
View details
Insurance Lawyer (1-3 PAE)
Category: Insurance and Superannuation Law | Location: Sydney NSW 2000
· Join a dynamic Firm · Excellent career growth opportunity
View details
In-house lawyer 1-4 PAE
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: Adelaide SA 5000
· Leading Brand · Report to a Dynamic Legal Counsel
View details
Sign on the dotted line

Sign on the dotted line

Lawyers have traditionally been reluctant to take up contract positions in the past, but in a downturn, this option can provide a foot in the door and lead to further opportunities, writes Mark…

Lawyers have traditionally been reluctant to take up contract positions in the past, but in a downturn, this option can provide a foot in the door and lead to further opportunities, writes Mark Harrison

The current financial crisis has seen an Australian-wide proliferation of headcount freezes, restructurings, redundancies and risk-averse recruitment strategies. The legal job market has significantly contracted and many private practice, in-house and government lawyers are feeling the effects. Recent forecasts grimly point to these trends persisting for at least the remainder of 2009.

Nevertheless, the silver lining to this miserable cloud hanging over the legal industry is that more employers are now looking to utilise contractors in their organisations.

Contracting provides numerous benefits to employers in a recessionary environment - including the ability to circumvent headcount freezes, tailor workforces to workloads, minimise the risk of poor recruitment by "trialling" potential employees and increased flexibility surrounding work hours and pay grades. Contracting is also cost-effective, because it is cheaper than secondments and more easily terminable than permanent employment.

Traditionally, many lawyers have been reluctant to accept contracting roles. This is now changing. Pragmatic lawyers who are recently unemployed or returning from overseas are jumping at the opportunities presenting themselves. The emerging view is that contracting is a positive opportunity to keep oneself in the market and a great foot in the door which can lead to further possibilities.

Even safely entrenched lawyers are considering those contracting roles which will allow them to take that next step in their career. Other lawyers, looking to change direction in their career, are finding employers more willing to take a chance on them when a contract is involved.

When it comes to contracting, the most successful candidates are those who tailor their CV to the specific role, are flexible regarding salary and hours worked and who can plausibly justify their interest in the role and their intention to fulfill the duration of a fixed-term contract. The resulting success stories are numerous. For a lawyer with a pragmatic approach in this recessionary environment, contracting may just be the next step to advancing their career in the right direction.

Mark Harrison is a consultant at Hudson Legal.

Like this story? Read more:

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

The legal budget breakdown 2017

Sign on the dotted line
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Unite
Aug 22 2017
Professionals unite in support of marriage equality
The presidents of representative bodies for solicitors, barristers and doctors in NSW have come toge...
Aug 21 2017
Is your firm on the right track for gig economy gains?
Promoted by Crowd & Co. The way we do business, where we work, how we engage with workers, ev...
Scales of Justice, Victorian County Court, retiring judges
Aug 21 2017
Replacements named for retired Vic judges
Two new judicial officers have been appointed in the Victorian County Court, following the retire...
APPOINTMENTS
Allens managing partner Richard Spurio, image courtesy Allens' website
Jun 21 2017
Promo season at Allens
A group of lawyers at Allens have received promotions across its PNG and Australian offices. ...
May 11 2017
Partner exits for in-house role
A Victorian lawyer has left the partnership of a national firm to start a new gig with state governm...
Esteban Gomez
May 11 2017
National firm recruits ‘major asset’
A national law firm has announced it has appointed a new corporate partner who brings over 15 years'...
opinion
Nicole Rich
May 16 2017
Access to justice for young transgender Australians
Reform is looming for the process that young transgender Australians and their families must current...
Geoff Roberson
May 11 2017
The lighter side of the law: when law and comedy collide
On the face of it, there doesn’t seem to be much that is amusing about the law, writes Geoff Rober...
Help
May 10 2017
Advocate’s immunity – without fear or without favour but not both
On 29 March 2017, the High Court handed down its decision in David Kendirjian v Eugene Lepore & ...