The temporary market has boomed in recent years, making it a career option for all solicitors and a resourcing solution for employers. However, there are questions left unanswered.

The market has changed markedly to allow solicitors and paralegals to be the decision-makers when it comes to where and when they work. The flexibility of temporary and contract recruitment has been especially heralded in the financial services market during the recent credit crisis as a solution for work piling up but resources being reduced.

The known advantage of a temporary worker to an employer is the flexibility: they are ideal for projects, an unforeseen influx of work or just covering absent staff. Nowadays, however, they also provide a desperately needed source of candidates who aren’t available in the permanent market.

The list of benefits for the temp solicitor are just as long as in any other sector. You can work for nine months of the year and travel for three; supplement your income while considering other personal projects; or more simply try the job before committing. The employer also has the ideal scenario of time to decide whether the candidate is right for the post and to sell the long-term benefits.

Those considering temporary work often ask what the key areas of demand are from law firms, but there is no clear answer. London firms recruit up to senior solicitor level to deal with their most lucrative corporate transactions, but recruit from junior International Swaps and Derivatives Association negotiators to asset finance and structured products lawyers, who will be required to hit the ground running.

The only trend is what is happening in the economy and that is no different for permanent recruitment. With further market changes imminent, it is imperative the legal market think outside the box to meet business needs.

Temporary recruitment has until now been a reactive service – to cover an unexpected resignation or sick leave. Now it is a positive solution to evolving markets and a forward planning initiative to make sure that your own departments are able to continue raising their performance levels.

Alice Hardy, manager, Michael Page International