Locum Solicitor Agency 0800 246 5001

Employers

Looking for a Locum?

Register an assignment by clicking here, call our locum recruitment specialists on 0800 246 5001 to discuss your requirements, or email jobs@interimlawyers.co.uk.

Interim Lawyers can save you money and time. We provide a fast, efficient service to law firms, businesses and in house legal departments across the UK and offshore. With over 1,100 solicitors and legal executives available to assist in all fields of law, we are sure to be able to help you or your business.

Thank you for your assistance and I will use you again when the need arises, I find you a very efficient and friendly company.

Senior Partner, South Coast, June 2023

We provide locum/temporary solicitors, in house counsel, lawyers for business, legal executives, legal cashiers and licensed conveyancers. Our locums can cover full time, part time, short term and long term assignments as well as working as consultants on an ad hoc basis.

For permanent/salaried recruitment, please visit the main Ten Percent Legal Recruitment site.

FAQs

No, you don’t. Professional indemnity insurance is specialist insurance to cover you in cases where your company has provided negligent advice or services to a customer, and the customer seeks redress for your failings.

Solicitors who work out of a solicitors firm have to hold high levels of professional indemnity insurance, which usually costs many thousands of pounds, but this is because they are providing advice to members of the public and individual clients, and regulators have determined that clients need lots of protection in case of incompetence on the part of their professional advisers.

If you have your own in-house legal adviser working directly for you on a part-time, ad-hoc or fulltime basis, then they are providing you specifically with legal advice for you to act upon if you wish. If you decide to act upon it and the advice as negligent, then that is your own issue and nobody else’s.

If someone else acts upon the advice of your in-house lawyer, i.e., a third party, then this is where the insurance kicks in. However, because you are using an in-house lawyer who is specifically providing you with advice, and not third parties, you do not need professional indemnity insurance.

In fact, most in-house lawyers across the country who work for firms big and small, do not usually have their own professional indemnity insurance, simply because they do not need it. Quite a few will not have a practising certificate, because again they don’t actually need to practise and provide advice to individuals if they’re working on an in-house basis providing advice specifically to their employer or contractor (i.e. if they are a sub-contractor).

It seems to be a bit of a red herring for quite a few companies who seem to think they need professional indemnity insurance to take on an in-house lawyer. Funnily enough, they don’t think the same when taking on an accountant or some other professional working in the business, but only solicitors. I think part of the problem with this is that there is so much information online about professional indemnity insurance for solicitors that there is a considerable amount of confusion as to exactly what is needed and why.

The easiest way to sum it up is to say that professional indemnity insurance is in place in solicitors firms, and solicitors charge an hourly rate based on the fact that if they get the advice wrong to you and you act upon it, and suffer finance loss, you have a claim against them for negligence. If an in-house lawyer provides you with duff advice and you act upon it, then chances are you will not be able to get any compensation for it, because you were the person who recruited the in-house lawyer in the first place. This is why there is such a substantial difference in the hourly rates of solicitors firms compared with hourly rates of individual solicitors working for you as a contractor or part-time employee on an in-house basis.

So, essentially your decision on whether to take on an in-house lawyer or use an external firm of solicitors should not be based on whether or not one has professional indemnity insurance and one does not, but more on the relative skill levels you are going to get from each of the two options, and whether or not you want recompense if things go wrong.

If you would like to discuss using an in-house lawyer on an ad-hoc basis, please get in touch with interimlawyers.co.uk, specialists for in-house and private practice solicitors for over 20 years.

Sometimes, and it is a fairly rare occurrence, we get a law firm who go through the whole process of finding, interviewing and accepting a locum to work for them, usually fairly long term, and everything looks good. The locum goes through the whole process of booking themselves out for a period of time, providing all their documentation, dealing with all the various queries and issues and starting work.

On the first day of work the firm welcome the locum with open arms, but after an hour or so inform them that there’s been a change of plan and rather than them working 9:30am to 5:30pm they will instead be working 10:00am until 4:00pm. This is usually because someone in the management team has worked out that if they cut one or two hours a day they will save the firm money each week.

This sounds great for the firm and you would imagine that the locum would be delighted as well because they will be working less hours and have more time to spend on other things. Nothing could usually be further from the truth. Very often the locum will be quite annoyed, whether or not the changed hours suit them. You can almost guarantee that within a matter of weeks the locum will be thinking about assignments to move on to. All because someone in the management team has decided they can save themselves a bit of money simply by cutting the hours of the locum without telling them first.

So is it a good idea to unilaterally cut locum hours?

No, absolutely not. Any firm who do this almost immediately label themselves as a problem to the locum and damage their relationship.

Locum = B2B Relationship

Unilaterally changing hours of locums is an extremely bad idea and never goes well. Locums see it as arrogance on the part of the firm, that they think they can treat them like this but not taking into account that a locum is self-employed and in control of their own circumstances (one of the many reasons lawyers turn to locuming). If locums don’t like a firm or the assignment they will simply leave and find another one.

If you consult with the locum, advise them after a short or medium period of time that circumstances have changed and you don’t actually need a locum for a full day but instead just need them for a bit of a day and ask them for their thoughts on it, this may all have a different response.

You may find that the locum is quite pleased and says, “No problem at all, I’ll source work for the other time when I’m not needed at your practice,” or is pleased that they can avoid the rush hour at the start and finish of the day, or simply that they would rather just work less hours if at all possible. It just has to be done very carefully and with an eye on the needs of the locum as well as on your firm.

Do not expect a locum to be happy about a reduction in hours if you notify them of it on their first or second day. Just think about the time you have spent recruiting a locum and how long it is going to take you to find another one when your current locum is so annoyed with you that they simply leave and find another assignment. It is really important to look after your relationship with a locum because you just never know how long you’re going to need them for, or how hard it is going to be to find someone else to replace them.

So if you have a locum working with you and you are thinking about reducing the hours, please speak to the locum and tell them your thoughts and ask for their opinion on it. You may be pleasantly surprised and find that the locum is quite happy with you changing the hours; similarly the locum might have another suggestion for you which works just as well for your practice and avoids any awkwardness.

Category: Employers

Q: How are locums screened – what qualifications do they have?

A: Our recruitment process involves all locums being thoroughly screened before being registered. We always obtain two professional references and get proof of ID/residence plus a copy of a practising certificate before arranging an assignment for a locum. Sometimes we do introduce locums who are available at short notice and then try and get the above documents over as quickly as possible. The skills sets of our locums vary so please let us know if you require any specific qualifications or accreditations and we’ll make sure that we find a locum who matches your requirements.

Q: How can I be sure you will send a fully qualified Locum Solicitor?

A: We use a thorough registration process for all our locum staff. During this, we request proof of ID, proof of residence, a copy of their practising certificate, confirmation that they have no conditions on their practising certificate and at least two references from recent employers or from recent assignments.

At the end of each assignment we request full feedback from our clients on the performance of the locum, including issues such as:

  • Punctuality
  • Appearance (we don’t want locums working for us who turn up in shellsuits!)
  • Ability
  • Client interaction
  • Staff interaction
  • Management Skills
  • Time Management
  • Efficiency
  • Overall impression

Any locum who receives a low score in this process will not get future work from Interim Lawyers. We are aware that sometimes the requirements of employers for a locum are a little excessive and we do bear this in mind when evaluating our returns. An example of this would be a low score for punctuality where the locum has turned up 30 minutes late on one occasion due to a signalling failure on the train line.

For non-qualified staff we are more dependent on references to demonstrate ability.

From time to time we supply new legal locums to clients for very short notice assignments, and we are not always able to get references immediately. However, from the moment we know a locum is going to work on an assignment we endeavour to obtain these and forward them through asap.

Category: Employers

Very easily! Simply click this link, download the form, fill it out and email or post it to us. We welcome all feedback on locum assignments, whether positive or negative.

Q: How far ahead can I plan my Locum cover for holidays or pre-arranged annual leave?

A: As far ahead as you wish.  It is a good idea to always plan ahead wherever possible as locum cover can be difficult to arrange at short notice in the busy periods of the year like the summer or around Christmas. However, the vast majority of locum contracts are arranged with as little as 24 hours notice (sometimes a lot less) and we try to assist.

If you know about annual leave coming up in say 3 months time, it is definitely worth speaking to us now rather than waiting. Just drop us an email over to jobs@interimlawyers.co.uk and tell us the following information:

  • Name of the law firm or in house legal department
  • Email address and telephone number
  • Type of law
  • Budget (optional)
  • Level of experience needed and whether you will recruit a solicitor or a solicitor/legal executive/experienced fee earner
  • Start date and end date
Category: Employers

When a law firm or business uses our services to procure a locum solicitor, we charge a monthly introduction fee, which is calculated as a percentage of monies paid to the locum during their time working with your business.

The question that quite often arises is how long this fee is applicable for, and we know this has been subject to court proceedings in the past via other companies because we have been approached to comment on it and advise on our own experience. As far as we are aware, all our competitors charge their fees ad infinitum (and beyond).

Interim Lawyers will only request a fee for a set period of time from the date the locum or consultant invoices you for the first time. 

We have decided that it is much easier and fairer for everyone if there is a set limit to how long we enforce our fees for.

This arrangement works particularly well if you take locums on repeat bookings or want to use a consultant for ad hoc work.

You may want to ask our competitors how long their agreements will last for. Expect a Buzz Lightyear answer (to infinity and beyond for anyone who hasn’t watched Toy Story!).

Q: How many locum agencies should I register our firm’s assignment with?

A: We rarely get asked this question, but we know that quite a few practice managers or junior partners at medium-sized law firms will get asked to secure the services of a locum or provisionally find out what is available out there in case of need. The practice manager will call around 6 or 7 agencies and ask for a locum.

We know that the practice manager has called round 6-7 recruitment agencies to ask for a locum because our locums email us and let us know!

Professional locums tend to register with a good number of agencies to make sure they have been considered for every locum assignment available on the market. The problem with blanket calling a load of agencies is that firstly you will be inundated with phone calls from very excited agents all thinking they have the assignment wrapped up and pushing you for a response, and secondly you will be wasting your time on the whole because a good number of employment agencies have very similar locum lists.

It is certainly true that we all have certain locums we use regularly, and that these locums will favour one particular agency over another, but it still means you will have caused each locum to get 6-7 different telephone calls from agencies, which can be very annoying for the locums concerned!

Our advice is to call one agency, give them a deadline of when you expect to see CVs, and if none are forthcoming or not suitable, move onto the next legal recruitment agency.

Category: Employers

Q: How quickly can you respond to emergency requests?

A: We open the Interim Lawyers office at 08.30 hrs every weekday and we are able to respond very rapidly to requests for emergency cover for locum solicitors and lawyers. We can dispatch solicitors and lawyers within minutes of a call being made, although naturally, every call depends on the current availability and status of our locum teams.

Our out of hours service is operated by email. We regularly check for emergency cover requests throughout the evening as well as early morning, so if you need someone at short notice please email us at jobs@interimlawyers.co.uk if you get in touch after 5pm or before 8.30am.

Q: I am a sole practitioner and need ongoing cover for annual leave or emergencies – can you help?

A: Yes, absolutely. Usually, we get calls from sole practitioners asking us to provide details of a locum who can assist on an ongoing basis with any requirements for annual leave, increased workload, emergency illness cover and urgent staff cover.

We can always assist with these, but it is difficult to give a definite locum availability unless the assignment is longer than 4 weeks or we are able to indicate at least 2-4 blocks of booking rather than just one. The reason for this is because most locums will not commit to a week in a year when something much more lucrative could come up that they then have to turn down because they have already booked themselves in for your annual leave cover etc..

If you have a 2-week summer break to cover, simply drop us an email whenever you can to jobs@interimlawyers.co.uk and we will confirm the dates. About 6 weeks before you go we will supply you with availability for our locums so that you can agree to cover with us and an individual locum. It is often best to get the person in for a day before you go so that you both know what needs covering and what can be left for your return. Please note that you will have to pay for the locum on this day unless the solicitor in question lives just around the corner and is feeling particularly generous with their time!

Providing ongoing cover is always possible and you simply need to get in touch when you need assistance. Emergencies are similarly covered. Provided you are looking to pay a reasonable hourly rate (we can advise on this for solicitors and legal support staff) we will be able to arrange cover for you.

Category: Employers

Q: I am provisionally seeking locum cover for my firm, what do I need to do?

A: Drop us an email over with your requirements but make sure you tell us it is very provisional. It is always helpful to know exactly how likely the assignment is to go ahead.

We have two law firms on our books who are marked with a big black cross. Our locums will not give consent to a CV being released to them and we rarely bother very much when we get their assignments emailed over.

The reason for this is because the practice managers at these solicitors’ firms will spend a lot of time giving us their assignments, specify dates, hourly rates, types of work etc.. and tell us that the vacancies are urgent. We contact our locum solicitors, agree on hourly rates, provisionally book them in, send a CV over….. and hear absolutely nothing back despite calling and emailing.

Whilst we expect this from time to time and appreciate the pressure law firms and their staff are under, there are a few firms out there who have earned their black cross from doing this more than three times in a row.

If you tell us the post is provisional we can let our locums know as well. This stops them provisionally booking the assignment into their diaries and then bombarding us with calls when another assignment comes in elsewhere that they are unable to accept in the meantime.

Please bear this in mind when looking on a provisional basis. We are very happy to help and can often provide details of locums definitely available at a particular point in time, but if you don’t tell us how possible an assignment is to actually happen it causes us and our locums real problems.

Category: Employers

Q: The locum I had at my law firm was not as good as expected, what can I do?

A: It is always disappointing when a locum does not live up to expectations and we as an agency would like to know if this is the case. Sometimes if we feel that our clients have received poor service from a locum we offer a discount on future assignments (this is not a contractual obligation). We can very often supply an alternative locum solicitor or fee earner at short notice.

After all, the beauty of using a locum solicitor is that you can quickly terminate any arrangement and hire another one without too many issues arising.

We do ask for feedback after each assignment and do not offer poorly performing locums future assignments.

Locums are assessed on:

  • Punctuality
  • Appearance
  • Ability
  • Client interaction
  • Staff interaction
  • Management Skills
  • Time Management
  • Efficiency
  • Overall impression
Category: Employers
Tag: bad locum

Q: We are a Limited Company looking to use a Solicitor. Is having a locum or interim lawyer handling a case a cheaper option than using a law firm?

A: Yes, in a nutshell, but using a locum solicitor is a slightly different experience to engaging a solicitors firm to do the work for you.

Firstly, you will need to be aware that if your contracted solicitor makes a mistake, you will not have any recompense against the solicitor individually if they are acting as your company representative.

Secondly, you will be restricted to the knowledge an individual solicitor is able to provide rather than a law firm.

Thirdly, the solicitor will need to be contracted to you and will not be an independent lawyer per se.

Fourthly, you will need to check that an in house contracted lawyer can do the same things a solicitors firm can when dealing with your matter.

Whilst it is correct that the hourly rate is going to be dramatically different – budget for about £30-40 per hour for a locum or interim lawyer compared with £175-225 per hour for a solicitors firm, there are reasons for this – the main one being that if a mistake is made, you will have recompense against a law firm – they have professional indemnity insurance.

You cannot employ your own solicitor on a private basis for most types of work, but a limited company can indeed save substantial amounts by using an interim lawyer or locum solicitor. It really depends on the work you want them to do as to how they can assist.

Please note that we do not supply locums to defend winding up actions against your company or similar litigation. It is unlikely also that a locum would be prepared to handle professional negligence claims on your behalf. We credit check every limited company before accepting an assignment.

Get in touch with us to discuss your assignment, and we can advise as to whether using an interim lawyer will be the best course of action or cost-effective.

jobs@interimlawyers.co.uk