Q: Can NQ Solicitors work as Locums?
A: No, not really.
In most areas of law, solicitors firms are looking for experienced lawyers to cover annual leave, sick leave, long term absence, change of personnel, increase in workload, etc.. etc… The locum is expected to go into a department, pick up a caseload and start working on it without anyone else needing to tell him or her what needs doing.
Unfortunately for most NQ solicitors, you need fairly close supervision and it is rare to get a newly qualified solicitor who is able to work on their own initiative throughout the day without someone else assisting you.
However – sometimes we do get requests for an NQ (newly qualified) Solicitor to join a solicitors firm as a locum as they have a large case that they need help with for example, or alternatively another NQ Solicitor is off work ill. In these circumstances, it is possible that an NQ Solicitor can pick up locum work, but these types of roles are few and far between. We are not even sure we would recommend to an NQ that it is a good idea to work as a locum as it can affect your career prospects and future opportunities – some firms seem to hold it against you if you have a locum assignment on your CV.