We are currently living and working in a thriving economy with a low unemployment rate. A low unemployment rate means the availability of the perfect candidate to fill your legal team’s needs may feel like finding a needle in a haystack. And when you are hiring interim legal talent, your options significantly decrease because candidates get scooped up quickly for contract and temporary assignments—making a diminished talent pool even smaller.
The thing is hiring interim talent for your legal team does not need to be—and should not be—treated like hiring a full-time person. With interim hiring, your hiring window is much smaller than with a full-time hire. Toiling over your first set of interviews and debating if you should see more options may result in those first options taking other opportunities and you losing out. In these cases, you need to make quick decisions and be flexible with your requirements. Asking to see more resumes or interview more candidates just is not always feasible.
Contract attorneys have taken a different career path than your more traditional law firm associate or in-house counsel. More often than not they have a more varied background with a wider range of skill sets and experiences. The likelihood of finding your perfect 10 out of 10 contract attorney candidate is slim—those candidates probably are not in the market right now. But a contract position, which is usually set for a specific period of time with a specific end date, allows you to audition a candidate—and them to audition you as well.
During this finite timeframe, both sides have an opportunity to see what the other is truly made of. You may discover a great fit for your team with skills and talents you never knew you needed but have found very beneficial. Of course, there is always the possibility it won’t be a good match, but there is less risk with a contract attorney who you only planned on managing for a fixed period of time.
Contract attorneys are experienced lawyers who prefer an alternative work style. If you wait too long to make the hire, you will miss out. The right legal talent for your team is out there. He or she may not check all the boxes you had envisioned, but that’s the beauty of interim talent: you may find what you never knew you were missing.