There are a number of professional locum solicitors in the UK who solely specialise in producing short-term cover to firms on an annual basis, and very often get a range of repeat bookings. There are also a number of semi-retired solicitors who undertake ad-hoc assignments as and when they come up, simply to a) keep their hand in and b) give them something to do and c) earn a bit of money.
As far as we know there are no locums in the UK who have guaranteed sources of work throughout the year. There are plenty who seem to go from one assignment to the next and have bookings constantly for certain times of the year, but none of it is ever guaranteed and they are often in need of work here and there, and hence are registered with the various locum agencies including ourselves.
So the answer to the question is no there is no guarantee of locum work for any field of law.
What we can say however is that there are certain areas of law where locums traditionally have been in more demand than others, providing you are able to travel to cover assignments. The main two of these are Conveyancing and Wills & Probate.
If you are a solicitor or legal executive who has about 3 to 5 years of residential conveyancing experience or wills and probate experience, then chances are you will pick up locum work across the UK on a regular basis, and, if you are any good, you will attract repeat bookings.
However, if you are a commercial litigation lawyer, it is very likely that you will be doing ad-hoc locum work as and when it comes up.
The only time that locum work as a career move is a good idea is if you are not in need of a regular income to pay the mortgage and want to work on an ad hoc basis. This applies to all areas of law, whether this is conveyancing or family because no locum work is ever guaranteed and any assignments can be cancelled without any notice at all.
Do not listen to anyone who claims that they earn hundreds of thousands of pounds from doing locum work and pick up constant bookings. We certainly have not met any locums who do this, and we know of over 700 in the UK. We do get phone calls fairly regularly from solicitors who say “I’ve heard from Lance the Locum that you can earn £150k a year doing locum work in solicitors’ firms. How do I get a piece of the action?”