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  • Writer's pictureThe Legal Digest

Skills that Help you Succeed at Interim Legal Work

Updated: Feb 4, 2022

If you decided to take the leap and switch to interim legal work, you will see the differences between the skillset required compared with a permanent role.

Photo by Ylanite Koppens from Pexels

You don’t have to impress your colleagues in the same way as in a permanent role but you will want to feel like you are giving them added value and able to do the work that you are tasked with whether you are at the early stages of your career or hold a senior position.

1. Ask questions

As you will be the new team member and only in that role for a fixed period of time there won’t be a huge amount of time to get to know your colleagues. Asking the right questions early on will help you get up to speed with the business and who are your key stakeholders.

You will want to know what existing practices are relevant to your work for example, in contract reviews you will want to understand what the parameters are for contract negotiations so that you are able to quickly deal with negotiation or pick up queries on your own.

Understanding what the business views as they key risks will also help you to understand how to prioritise your work and when to pick up on issues that come your way. Being curious and willing to hear what is going on will help your team to gain confidence and trust in your ability to perform to their expectations.

2. Adapt

Interim legal work presents lots of change as you work with different businesses and may also work in private practice so being able to adapt to constant change will help you to get used to this type of work. One of the ways you can do this is not being emotionally invested in your work, you are just there to perform a particular role which could grow during your time there but from my experience the important thing I have gained is working with different colleagues as each work in different ways and bring something new to the table.

I don’t think we ever know everything, we just over time become confident in our ability to handle situations and know where to go to find the solutions. You essentially become good at problem solving. If you remove that pressure of feeling like you have to bring technical expertise to your role you will become more relaxed and find it easier to adapt each time.

3. Focus on what you were hired to do

You could be tasked with doing project work only or perhaps some of the more mundane tasks that the team hasn’t got time to do or it could be both. Whatever you are brought in to do focus on meeting those deadlines and prioritising your objectives. The challenge will be figuring out how achieve those objectives within the time that you are there.

4. Decide on your approach

Some people take the approach of not rocking the boat and going along with what the rest of the team does and whether you take this approach will depend on what you are there to do. Are you performing a leadership role or support to the team? If you do decide to rock the boat then you’ll have to be prepared for your colleagues to not like the change and could face some setbacks in any new processes you implement. On the other hand, if you are providing support only then you will want to be seen as trusted, reliable and create a personal connection with your team members.


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