“Temp-to-Permanent” Best Hiring Practices
Contract attorneys are a useful and cost-effective way to protect your clients’ operations. In fact, some of these partnerships are so successful that sometimes temporary attorneys become full-time lawyers for the company. With that said, using best practices in the temporary to permanent hiring process can minimize your clients’ Employment Practices Liability.
According to Inside Counsel, most law departments make use of on-site contract attorneys, either regularly or periodically. Usually, the purpose is to cover during a staff absence, attack a specific one-time project, or to simply end headcount restrictions and take to work in-house.
While not all law departments approach contract lawyers with the intention of hiring them full-time, if the expectations are met and there are more advantages to keeping them permanently, a new contract can be devised.
First and foremost, find a contract attorney whose capabilities mirror current employees. Especially if the contract employee is meant to take over for someone on leave, this can help the process run more smoothly in terms of culture, fit, and credentials.
Next, try handing the contract attorney at least one assignment that reaches beyond their scope in order to test their competence and willingness to succeed. If they perform well and are enthusiastic about the opportunity, this could mean they are a good fit for a permanent position should one become available.
Lastly, ensure the contract attorney feels welcome. Even if they are hired on as temporary assistance, let them know they are still part of the team and are appreciated and respected. Sit down and have lunch with them early on and get to know them.
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