There is no difference between a locum lawyer and an interim lawyer. It is just a question of language. We set up Interim Lawyers many years ago simply because all other domain names of a similar nature have been taken! Interim lawyers are exactly the same as locum lawyers; they work on an interim or temporary basis.
In-house interim lawyers work in the same way. There has been some confusion at times because of the way local authorities use the word locum when looking for staff, and in the past, there has been a distinction between lawyers working on a fixed-term basis to cover say annual leave for two weeks, and lawyers working on an ongoing basis covering specific cases or caseloads as and when required.
Some recruitment agencies have referred to lawyers working on an ad-hoc basis but ongoing as “interim lawyers”, and lawyers working on a fixed-term basis covering annual leave or similar as “locum lawyers”.
In reality, there is no difference between the two, but the differentiation has been made because of the way some locum solicitors are paid for their work.
Some recruitment agencies have a commission deal with umbrella companies (not to be confused with a dodgy backhander of course), whereby if a locum signs with a specific umbrella company, the locum agency gets paid a fee. Locums sign up to umbrella companies to get paid for work on a fixed-term basis and the umbrella company pays them as an employee of their own limited company. We have been offered £200.00 per introduction by umbrella companies, so we can only presume that there is some considerable profit to be made in their use. Umbrella companies however are really only relevant to locums who are working on a fixed-term basis, rather than ad-hoc as and when required. Our company does not recommend using them – they are, for most people, an unwanted administrative expense. We think this is why the terms have differed with some agencies – umbrella companies are not really relevant for ad hoc interim solicitor roles and more suited to a fixed term.