Julie Q. Brush, Solutus Legal Search . ()
Q: The best way to find part-time and flexible-schedule jobs!
A: Millennials, working mothers, lawyers re-entering the workforce, sun-setting their careers, live far away or those who simply want/need a kinder, gentler work schedule: In today’s legal profession, an increasing number of lawyers in diverse demographics are seeking employment situations that allow for a more flexible or part-time work schedule. Technology has enabled greater connectivity, dependability and productivity, which bode well for the alternatively scheduled lawyer. But finding these type of work dynamics can still prove challenging. So, where to look? If you are a lawyer seeking a flexible or part-time work schedule, below are a few suggestions and suggested places to look:
Firms That Specialize In Project And Part Time Work.
Rising out of the changing legal profession are firms that specialize in project and part time work. These firms work with companies and provide lawyers who will work on a temporary/project basis. The projects can last anywhere between a few weeks to several months and provide the client with the “option to renew” the project at the end of the project period. The day-to-day schedule tends to be of full time nature, with perhaps a little flexibility, but not a ton. The focus here: practicing on a project-to-project basis—and working with diverse clients. On the law firm side, there are an emerging number of project firms that service law firms of all sizes and practice areas. Some of the big staffing companies may have these opportunities, but the majority are high quality boutiques.
Law firm and corporate clients will occasionally hire search firms when they need part time/project lawyers. In addition, many cultures (particularly in-house) are migrating to more of a flexible schedule dynamic for full time legal roles. Once a lawyer proves him/herself, it is likely they are allowed more latitude on the face time requirement. So let your recruiter know that you would be open to interesting positions with a flexible schedule aspect to it. Also, make sure to define what “flexible” means to you so the recruiter doesn’t waste your time with the wrong profiles.
Law Firm Partners.
They are a main artery into an in house legal department—and are frequently tapped for talent recommendations by their or the firm’s clients. So if your goal includes working in a corporate legal department, let the law firm partners know what you are seeking and to keep you on their radar. If you’re lacking contacts in among this constituency, it’s time to start adding them to your list.
Law School Career Services.
With the rising number of working mothers who need alternative work schedules and/or are re-entering the profession, law schools are creating programs designed to support and assist women in this category. Many are closely connected to law firm and corporate employers and have a line on a variety of job opportunities. There are other professional profiles that fit in this category as well. So contact your alma mater or the law school nearest you and inquire about assistance.
Professional Organizations and Email Groups.
Every geographic region in the world has professional organizations that cater to and support lawyers. Being an active part of the legal community is a good career plan as a general matter. But your affiliation can give you access to people, information; and opportunities that can help you find what you are seeking. Many of these organizations have their own email list groups through Yahoo! or Gmail which lawyers use to tap the members for various needs and networking … including jobs.
Law School Alumni Groups.
Law School alumni groups are terrific resources for finding “nontraditional” employment opportunities. If you aren’t already a member, join today and spread the word about the type of job you seek.
Contacting an Employer Directly.
Take control of your destiny and do what is within your power to create the job of your dreams. Are there companies or law firms that you admire? Would love to work for? Are passionate about their product/service? Are located five minutes from your home? Make your wish list and reach out to Legal with a brief introduction of your background and desire to make a connection. Don’t be afraid to inquire about the possibility of part-time/flexible work.
Your Current Network.
Friends, colleagues, former colleagues, acquaintances, clients, former clients—good networks produce the greatest number of job opportunities if they are leveraged wisely. Don’t be bashful to use yours.
Online Job Boards.
Job opportunities are littered on the internet. So naturally, perusing online job boards is a good idea when looking for flexible, project or part time legal positions. What are some sites to check out? LinkedIn, ACC (Associate of Corporate Counsel), Indeed, bar association websites, CareerBuilder, Glassdoor, Craigslist, your local legal newspaper online classifieds, other legal publication websites, legal recruiting firm websites, company and law firm websites.
The times they are a-changin’—and the legal profession is part of the evolution. Part time, flexible and project roles are more popular than ever among today’s lawyers. But despite their popularity, one can sometimes be at a loss on where to find these positions. No need to worry: The resources are out there … and hopefully the suggestions above are helpful to put you at ease and kick-start your search.