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FAQs: Hiring a locum for the first time

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by Michael Bailey | 06 September 2018

Looking into hiring a legal locum can be a completely new experience for clients as it is a very different recruiting process to taking on permanent hires. I regularly get asked a number of common questions so I thought I would put a some frequently asked questions (FAQs) together to help if you have thought about locums but are not 100 percent sure they are right for your business.

  • Why do I need a locum?

Locums are available at short notice and are able to parachute into firms to assist in times of real need. This could be to cover; sickness, holidays, extended leave, maternity leave, project work, an influx of work or cover whilst the firm is recruiting permanently. This can be a great way to bring a legal professional in without having to commit to a permanent full-time member of staff. The locum will only stay as long as you require them helping you relieve pressures on your business.

  • What’s the history of a locum?

Our locum candidates usually have around 5 years PQE and are all highly experienced legal professionals. This is to make sure they have a wide range of experience in their practice area and will be able to hit the ground running with minimal supervision to progress matters quickly. When deciding on a locum you will be given a copy of their CV and details of the assignments they have completed for us previously so you can make sure they are the fight fit for your business. We will also ensure all major checks are completed before we send a candidate to you including; references, right to work, payment set up and checked their history with the SRA (finding or conditions).

  • How much will a locum cost?

You will be charged an all-inclusive hourly rate plus VAT, this includes everything (their pay, our fee, holiday pay, national insurance, apprenticeship levy, pension contributions and benefits etc). As they work on a flat hourly rate, you only pay for the hours completed and have no hidden extras such as sick pay, holiday pay, bank holidays, as these are all included in the rate we give to you. We will also pay the candidate so you don’t have to worry about adding them to your own payroll making the process as simple for you as possible.

  • Do they have their own insurance?

No. Legal locums will always be covered under your professional indemnity insurance. Depending on your insurance, you may need to inform your insurance company that you are taking on a locum so it is best to check what their process is. Some insurance providers may ask for their CV, practicing certificate or a questionnaire to be completed etc.

  • How quickly can I get someone in?

Very quickly! Giving us plenty of notice about the need is always preferred but in a lot of circumstances it is impossible to tell when you will need a locum as your needs will change on a daily basis. We often get new instructions for a locum to start the following day so we can turn everything around very quickly.

  • We’re a little different to other firms, will the candidate be able to adapt?

Absolutely. Most of our locums have been professional locums for years meaning they have worked in many different sized firms across the UK. They have seen and heard it all, from firms that still don’t use emails to ultra-modern firms that have systems and new technologies in place. Our candidates will be able to work anywhere and usually we will be able to find you someone that has experience working in a similar firm to you.

  • Do I have to give notice to end the contract?

No. As the candidate is self-employed you do not have an employment contract. If you have booked the candidate in for specific dates and need to end the contract early, we would just ask you give us as much notice as possible so we can secure them their next contract. When you cancel the contract it ends immediately.

  • I’m only looking for someone part-time, would that be an issue?

Not at all. We have a wide selection of candidates that are all looking for roles that suit their requirements. If you only need someone 3 days per week, there will be a candidate that is only looking for 3 days. Similarly, if you need a full-time candidates we will have a locum to suit your exacting requirements.

  • What will the candidate actually do whilst in post?

It is completely up to you. Some firms only require someone in the office to answer the phones, return emails and sort out any very urgent matters, and some firms require that person to run a caseload an act as a permanent member of staff. Our locum candidates can incept new files, progress matters and close matters. They will do whatever you need whilst they are in contract with you.

These are just some of the usual questions I am asked. If you have any more or would like to discuss employing your next legal locum I’m on the other end of the phone. Please give me a call on 0203 741 8189 or feel free to email me at michael.bailey@sellickpartnerhsip.co.uk. Alternatively you can check out more of our legal Insights here.