How to Make the Hire of a Locum Lawyer a Success

Hiring a locum lawyer can be a strategic move for law firms needing temporary legal expertise or support. However, to ensure the success of this engagement, careful planning and execution are essential. Here’s a guide on how to make the hire of a locum lawyer a successful experience for both the firm and the locum.

1. Define Your Needs Clearly

Before hiring a locum lawyer, clearly define the scope of work and the specific expertise required. Determine the duration of the assignment, the legal areas involved, and any specific qualifications or experience needed. This clarity helps in selecting the right candidate who can meet your firm’s needs effectively. Some firms hire a locum expecting them to be able to cover the files, but without actually checking that the locum can deal with them. Take new build conveyancing – it is not a given that every conveyancers has got experience or wants to deal with a large caseload of new build files..

2. Choose the Right Recruitment Agency

Partnering with a reputable recruitment agency like Interim Lawyers can streamline the hiring process. Specialist agencies have access to a pool of vetted and experienced locum lawyers, making it easier and a heck of a lot faster to find candidates who match your requirements. Contacting locums individually via LinkedIn can take hours! A decent agency also handles the initial screening, saving you time and effort. This goes without saying and yes we are blowing our own trumpet!

3. Conduct Thorough Interviews (via Zoom)

Even if the locum comes highly recommended, conducting thorough interviews is crucial. Evaluate their legal expertise, experience, and cultural fit with your firm. Discuss their previous locum assignments to understand how they adapt to new environments and handle various legal challenges. Ensure they have the necessary qualifications and practising certificates. Do not expect face to face interviews – locums will rarely travel anywhere for these – after all why would they unless you are paying them?

4. Plan a Comprehensive Induction

A well-planned induction helps the locum integrate quickly and start contributing effectively. Provide an overview of your firm’s policies, procedures, and expectations. Introduce them to key team members and give them access to necessary resources, including IT systems and administrative support. Clear communication at the outset sets the tone for a successful engagement. Dumping locums in a room with a desktop PC and expecting them to get on with it rarely works out well..

5. Set Clear Expectations and Objectives

Define clear goals and expectations for the locum lawyer’s role. Outline their responsibilities, key performance indicators (KPIs), and deadlines. Regularly review their progress and provide feedback to ensure they are on track. This clarity helps the locum understand their role and aligns their efforts with the firm’s objectives. Some locums want to firefight, others are happy to get completely immersed in the role. What do you want the locum to do?

6. Facilitate Open Communication

Foster an environment of open communication between the locum lawyer and your team. Regular check-ins and meetings help address any issues promptly and keep everyone informed. Encourage the locum to ask questions and provide them with constructive feedback. Effective communication is key to resolving potential challenges and ensuring smooth collaboration. Make sure your support staff understand that the locums are senior lawyers and will require them to follow instructions. We do get instances of support staff being extremely rude to or uncooperative with locums – making sure the staff understand the position of the locum at the outset is very important.

7. Provide Adequate Support and Resources

Ensure the locum lawyer has access to all necessary resources to perform their duties effectively. This includes legal research tools, case files, and administrative support. Providing a point of contact for any queries can help them navigate the firm’s processes more easily and focus on their legal work. Locums are not miracle workers. If you don’t give them access to resources, they can’t necessarily work very well!

8. Monitor Performance and Offer Feedback

Regularly monitor the locum’s performance and provide constructive feedback. Acknowledge their achievements and address any areas for improvement. Performance reviews help in maintaining high standards of work and motivate the locum to deliver their best. Locums always appreciate feedback – its often hard to come by, so if you do give it the locum will be grateful.

9. Ensure Compliance with Legal Standards

Verify that the locum lawyer complies with all relevant regulatory and professional standards. This includes confirming their practising certificate, and adherence to the firm’s confidentiality and data protection policies. Compliance ensures legal and ethical standards are maintained throughout the engagement. Obviously the locum solicitor needs to know about all of these in order to comply with them!

10. Evaluate the Engagement

At the end of the assignment, conduct a thorough evaluation of the locum lawyer’s performance and the overall engagement. Gather feedback from team members and clients to assess the locum’s contributions and identify any areas for improvement. This evaluation provides valuable insights for future locum hires and helps refine the hiring process. Discuss the use of locums within the team – what worked, what didn’t, how can things be improved next time?


Making the hire of a locum lawyer a success requires clear planning, effective communication, and ongoing support. By defining your needs, choosing the right recruitment agency (us!), and providing a comprehensive induction, you can ensure a smooth integration of the locum into your firm. For more assistance with hiring locum lawyers, consider reaching out to Interim Lawyers, a trusted recruitment agency specialising in connecting law firms with experienced locum solicitors and legal professionals.