Updates and advice for attorneys and law departments.

General Counsel Tips to Manage Temporary Attorneys

When you work with a temporary attorney, your team gains the experience of a lawyer who can help them understand unusual legal issues, meet key deadlines, or explain complex legal concepts. Integrating this attorney onto your team is an essential part of ensuring their success.

Here are four tips for general counsel seeking to work with a temporary attorney.

  1. Provide detailed job descriptions.

General counsel who seek temporary attorneys nearly always do so because they need help with a specific legal matter or set of legal matters. In other words, you need a specialist, not a generalist.

In a job posting, clarify the skills you need a temporary attorney to have. Include a description of the work to be done. When the job description is clear and detailed, candidates find it easier to imagine themselves in the role – making them more inclined to apply.

  1. Start with a clear explanation of the job and its responsibilities.

Temporary attorneys can find themselves feeling adrift at the start of a new job if their role isn’t clearly defined. Without a clear understanding of their tasks and place on the team, temporary attorneys may inadvertently waste time or become involved in interpersonal conflicts.

Before hiring a temporary attorney, take time to think about which tasks they need to do and how long these are expected to take. Give them a clear chain of command for questions and a code of conduct.

  1. Gather information to serve as a reference.

During your time with the temporary attorney, file away information that can be used to give a reference to the attorney when they move to their next position.

Providing references helps you maintain a relationship with the temporary attorney and to build a relationship with other law firms and legal departments. This same information can also be used to make a case for hiring an outstanding temporary attorney on a more permanent basis.

  1. Don’t skimp on conflict of interest reviews.

A temporary attorney may be present only a few weeks or months, but any conflicts of interest between them and another party may render their presence moot – or even set your team back. Ask about conflicts of interest during the interview, or work with a recruiter who can help review potential conflicts before you hire.

At Assigned Counsel, our recruiters help our clients find the temporary attorneys they need to provide outstanding legal services while maintaining a balanced staffing budget. To learn more, contact us today.

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