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Locuming versus a Permanent Role

Locuming versus a Permanent Role – what should you do if you are given the opportunity to locum, should you take it?

A locum is a person who temporarily fulfils the duties of another. Source – Wikipedia

The word locum is short for the Latin phrase locum tenens (lit. “place holder”, akin to the French lieutenant). The abbreviated form “locum” is common in Australia, Canada, Ireland, Malaysia, Singapore, New Zealand, South Africa and the United Kingdom; unlike in Latin its plural is locums. In the United States, the full length “locum tenens” (plural: locum tenentes) is preferred, though for some particular roles, alternative expressions (e.g., “substitute teacher“) may be more commonly used.

You may have always been sceptical about locuming however, it can be very lucrative. Locuming has many advantages and businesses are increasingly leaning towards recruiting on locum basis down to both economic uncertainty. Within some disciplines locum roles are much more lucrative than the equivalent permanent opportunities currently available. They also provide a much faster income stream as the turnaround times of the recruitment process are much quicker to meet the immediate needs of the client. Have a look on our website as this provides some additional information with regards to frequently asked questions.

Typically, locums are hired to work on specific projects, to cover maternity or sickness leave, to work a caseload whilst a permanent employee is sought or to cover annual leave. Busy areas at the moment continue to be conveyancing, commercial property and private client work. Assignment lengths can vary from 3 days to 3 months and perhaps longer. Locuming allows you to experience a range of work and environments which a permanent employee may not encounter. As well as providing the opportunity to control your work life balance, with a high degree of flexibility, it can open up a diverse range of opportunities with varying challenges and within different environments.

Locum work is a channel for networking, as well as a reputation building exercise and can therefore often lead to further work and even repeat bookings for the same client. The main disadvantage with locuming is that you can find yourself without work for a few weeks or perhaps months throughout the year. Most locums get into the mind set of working for 8 months of the year and then being off for 4 months (the 4 months being out of choice or there’s no work available in their chosen field).

Why should I become a Locum?

There are many reasons why you should locum:

  • Retirement or Time for Change Many retired solicitors decide to locum as a way of continuing in the law after they retire from the commitment of full time employment. Alternately if a Solicitor finds themselves in a redundancy situation this is a way of finding an immediate role and continuing with employment whilst deciding on the best option to move forward.
  • Offering a better lifestyle You can fit in locum, temporary and contract assignments around your personal lifestyle – this can mean shorter days or weeks and longer holidays.
  • The opportunity of flexibility By choosing to work on a locum basis means that you can decide where and when you work, and for how long.
  • Control Completing locum assignments can be enjoyable – you get to experience different caseloads, firms and cities whilst still maintaining your professional knowledge. A locum will usually be expected to pick up a caseload and run with it, sorting out anything urgent for anything not requiring work on it, and very often they are left to their own devices to get on with it.
  • Diversity Many locums have worked in a variety of different sectors and enjoy the variety of caseloads and environments.
  • Financials

Locuming can be very lucrative and provides a much faster income stream as the turnaround times of the recruitment process are much quicker to meet the immediate needs of the client. It does lack the security of a permanent job.

Guaranteed work?

We would not mislead you and guarantee that you will be in work all year round. All industries have peaks and troughs and it also depends in your area of specialism. There are many plus points in locuming, so if you are looking to get into locum work then please call Christine Brannigan at Law Consultants on 01279 464455 or e-mail and we can discuss your move into the locum market. All calls are in the strictest of confidence. Alternatively, if you are already in the locum field and would like an update of the market place then please get in touch. You can also find details of our current locum assignments at

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