Locums Covering More Than One Field of Law
in Employers, Job Applications

Locums Covering More Than One Field of Law

Pick and Mix

We often get partners of law firms contacting us to request details of locums who are able to do conveyancing and wills and probate, residential and commercial conveyancing, family and litigation, employment and personal injury, commercial litigation and civil litigation, and many more besides.

Sometimes we get requests such as a corporate commercial solicitor who is able to deal with shipping or a construction solicitor who is able to cover a little bit of family law, or a Lithuanian speaking wills and probate solicitor who is able to cover a family role in Ipswich for three mornings each week. You name it, we’ve heard the lot in terms of combinations!

Locums Cover One Area of Law

When considering getting locum cover for a fee earner, it is a good idea to bear in mind a golden rule of locuming which is that most locums only do one field of law. Those that do more than one field are highly likely to simply dabble rather than have any specific level of skill or experience.

Jack of All Trades

The feedback after a placement for some generalist locums covering multiple areas of law is that they could cover a file in one particular area of law well, but they were not able to do a lot with others. Of course there are some amazing multi-skilled locums out there (you know who you are!), but numbers tend to be very limited.

It is quite common for firms to get in touch with us to request details of candidates who are specifically able to cover for a fee earner who deals with various fields of law within the practice, such as residential conveyancing, commercial conveyancing, wills and probate and family law. By requesting someone to cover all these areas or anything more than one area you narrow down your choices so considerably it can often make it virtually impossible to recruit.

By way of example, we have about 380 active conveyancing locums registered with us and about 145 wills and probate locums. If you had a remote working wills and probate role available we would probably have about 10 to 15 interested locums. If you had a remote working conveyancing locum role available we would probably have up to 20 candidates for you to consider.

If you had a conveyancing and wills and probate role it is highly likely we would only have one candidate available on a remote working basis. If you transpose those figures into office based then you are looking at the possibility of having maybe one candidate anywhere in the country who would be available at a particular time to cover. Prices also tend to reflect this scarcity!

One or More Area? Book More Than One Locum

So the better way of thinking about locum cover if there is more than one area is to have a think about which is the more important area, and whether or not you can survive without somebody specifically covering the other area of law so that you can at least get a locum in to cover one area. Perhaps there aren’t so many files in one of the fields of law and perhaps they can be covered by someone else?

Failing that, you could look at getting two locums on a part-time or ad hoc basis. The opportunities for remote working have thrown open much larger markets for available consultants who can assist, as more and more lawyers start to appreciate the benefits of working from home and assisting firms anywhere in the UK. This means that a consultant can be working for four different firms at once undertaking cases and not having to be tied down to one and working out of an office. This means that in an example where the caseload is primarily residential conveyancing but there is the occasional bit of wills and probate, you could outsource the wills and probate to a remote working consultant to cover and use the services of a residential conveyancing locum to deal with the property caseload.

This would mean that there was somebody able to check in and make sure everything was okay with the wills and probate caseload but not necessarily be working full or part time, nor be based in your offices.

Jonathan Fagan

Jonathan Fagan LLM FIRP is Managing Director of Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment. He has been recruiting solicitors and legal support staff for law firms and in house legal departments for over 20 years and handles roles from junior fee earners through to partners and law firm sales/purchases. A non-practising solicitor on the Roll since 2000, he is also the author of a number of legal career books, which are available at www.ten-percent.uk. You can contact Jonathan at cv@ten-percent.co.uk