The definition of a conveyancing locum is a lawyer who provides temporary or short term cover in a solicitors firm or licensed conveyancing practice when a fee earner (a fee earner is anyone who generates fees in a law firm), goes on annual leave, is taken ill or leaves the firm without them recruiting a new member of staff.
So a locum will be used to come in and provide a service as a contractor.
Invariably the conveyancing locum will be working as a business themselves, providing their expertise as a professional advisor to the law firm. They are usually covered by the professional indemnity insurance arrangements of the hiring business and will provide the cover during hours agreed.
The work will involve handling the caseload of the conveyancer who is absent, which will include dealing with queries on files, progressing matters to exchange or completion, handling new queries, opening new files, closing old files, dealing with completion, dealing with matters post-completion, completing SDLT forms, processing information returned by clients and solicitors or lawyers acting for the other side selling or buying the properties, and all matters involved in working in residential conveyancing.
The key point for using the services of a conveyancing locum is that they will not generate new work, they will not undertake marketing, they will not deal usually with complaints against the firm and they will not generally get involved in any internal management of the business other than to keep everything going on a day to day basis. They are there basically to ensure that cases are continued to be progressed and do not stop in the absence of a fee earner dealing with them. This is very important to bear in mind if you are a partner of a law firm and looking for locum assistance. Locums are good at what they do, but you must understand the limitations.
To become a conveyancing locum you simply need to have extensive experience in residential conveyancing and be prepared to work in different locations, sometimes at short notice. To find out all about becoming an interim lawyer or locum solicitor please visit www.interimlawyers.co.uk and read our detailed guide.