4 Tips in Finding Temp Legal Professionals, Paralegals & Legal Assistants

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Temporary employees can be very useful to a company that does not have the need or ability to hire full-time employees. The temporary employee, unlike a full-time employee, generally works for a predetermined, finite period. Also, she generally does not receive the same level of benefits (assign from perhaps compensation) that a permanent employee would receive. As such, the temporary employee can fill an operational gap without increasing the company’s obligations significantly. Legal recruitment can be time well spent.

This article provides advice on successfully working with a temporary legal professional and using legal temp agencies. Working with a temporary legal professionals does entail some difficulties. The following tips will help you make your work with a temporary legal professional successful.

Understand what the temporary employee can bring to the company.

Identify the types of legal professional(s) you should be hiring.

Identify the positives and negatives of hiring a temporary professional.

Plan for how you will bring on the temporary employee.

Plan exactly what you need from the temporary employee

A temporary employee may bring a great deal of skill and competence to a company position. However, it’s incumbent upon the company to make certain they are hiring the right temporary employee for the position. Start by making certain that you understand your needs. Explain these needs thoroughly in the position description. This will help you in setting performance standards.

You should also begin planning for on boarding the temporary employee. The employee will not have the benefit of prior work with the company or an internal network. She will need to get up to speed on company processes as quickly as possible. For this reason, you should make the transition into the position as smooth as possible in this regard. At a bare minimum, you should provide the company structure, reporting structure, decision-making process, and points of contact for specific information.

Identify the types of legal professional(s) you should be hiring

There are several types of legal professional that may fit the needs of the company. Each type has its own specialty. The following are the primary types of legal profession:

  • Attorney – Attorneys are knowledgeable in substantive areas of law. Some attorneys specialize and are experts in a particular legal field. Other attorneys are generalists. Which type of attorney is the best temporary employee for your company will depend upon the nature of the company’s legal needs.
  • Legal Researcher – Legal researchers, as the name implies, research legal issues to identify the relevant law or legal standards to apply to a situation. Attorneys should also have legal research skills, but the legal researcher may be more adept at research methods. The legal researcher become experts in substantive areas of law. The difference between the legal researcher and the attorney is the attorney is generally better trained to spot novel legal issues. The legal researcher will also have less ability to carry out the procedural functions associated with practicing law. The attorney is licensed to represent the company in such legal matters.
  • Paralegal – A paralegal is an expert in the procedural aspects of legal practice. They generally have exposure to substantive law, but the have less proficiency in legal research. Further, like the legal researcher, the paralegal does not have the ability to represent the company in legal matters. Paralegals and legal assistants are very similar positions.
  • Legal Secretary – A legal secretary serves an administrative purpose. She will generally focus on facilitating the procedural aspects of legal practice. This might include assembling specific legal documents in addition to the routine responsibilities of a secretary.

Understanding of the training and abilities of a legal professional, will help a company make staffing decisions.

Identify the positives and negatives of hiring a temporary professional

The positive aspects of hiring a temporary legal professional include:

  • Lower cost
  • No long-term employment commitment
  • No or little obligation for employee benefits
  • Easier process for hiring and firing
  • Can employ more specialized individuals for temporary projects.

The constraints associated with hiring a temporary legal professional include:

  • Lack of prior knowledge about the company operations or processes
  • No long-term continuity of work or knowledge
  • Lower level of dependability from employee
  • Less vetting can lead to lower quality of employee work performance

In addition to making staffing decision, weighing the benefits against the constraints will allow the company to achieve the greatest value in its staffing decision.

Plan for how you will bring on the temporary employee

When employing a temporary legal professional, the company has the option of hiring an individual directly as an independent contractor or working with an employee placement firm. Hiring a temporary employee from legal temp agencies directly requires many of the same actions as hiring a permanent employee. The company must generally put out a position announcement, conduct interviews, and make a hiring offer. While the company does not have to be concerned with the various benefits typically offered to permanent employees, the hiring process can be burdensome. Further, hiring an individual who fails to perform or is not a good fit in the company can result in a great deal of effort if employment is terminated.

Legal staffing agencies make this process much easier. These firms identify the legal professionals the company needs and conducts the interview and hiring process for the company. Of course, the company has the authority to reject any employees proposed or put forward by the staffing company. Relieving the administrative burden of hiring, however, is a major benefit for the company. Most notably, identifying qualified legal professionals is a major benefit. Being able to end the temporary employee’s employment without administrative burden provides the company with a great deal of control. The greatest downside to this relationship is the cost of working with a legal staffing firm is higher. The legal staffing agency will generally take a percentage of salary or a placement fee for finding the appropriate legal professional. A legal agency can offer several candidates to help you find the right one.

LawTrades Knows Temp Employees

Bringing on a temporary employee is loaded with legal and operational considerations. LawTrades is your resource for understanding the process and the various factors. We can help make your temporary employment experience successful.