At the end of an Orbit assignment, we ask our lawyers what the top three things they will be looking for in their next contract are. The results of the FY19 surveys highlight many of the benefits offered though a career as a contract lawyer.
Not surprisingly, remuneration ranked as the top driver for 71% of respondents. Many lawyers are attracted to contract work with Orbit as they are in control of the price they set for their services for each assignment. With this level of control, very few express the salary frustrations felt by lawyers in private firms that use lock-step driven remuneration models.
Interesting and challenging work also rates highly in the responses, with 47% listing it in their top three drivers. The desire for quality work often prompts lawyers to consider contract work as it offers a wide range of experiences in relatively short periods of time. One lawyer recently commented:
“This has been a great way to get commercial experience and broaden my skill set quickly. My career is now on fast-track”
Flexibility is also valued highly, with 41% of respondents ranking flexible work options in the top three attributes they seek. Contracting offers a great deal of flexibility through role durations, availability and working hours. For example, a number of lawyers working with Orbit choose not to work over the summer holidays to spend time with their children. Given there are usually 12 weeks of school holidays, this flexibility can help take pressure off families with younger children.
Like most of us, contract lawyers are keen to find assignments in companies that offer a good cultural fit. In the survey responses, this driver was rated in the top three by 41% of respondents. Similarly, 35% of respondents are looking for roles that offer a good fit with their experience and expertise. At Orbit, we carefully match contract lawyers to client opportunities by getting to know the lawyers and by knowing our clients well. This process is enhanced by the Corrs partners who interview all Orbit candidates initially, as well as for many of the senior contract assignments. The partners also regularly share their deep knowledge of Corrs’ clients with the Orbit team, as they are committed to making every Orbit assignment they refer a success.
The location of the assignment was also very important to 29% of the contract lawyers surveyed. An article in The Sydney Morning Herald (“How to tell when it's time to reassess your work situation”, 11 May 2019), observed that having a manageable commute was an important component in having “an all-round positive employee experience in the workplace”. That position is further supported the annual Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) Survey, which was cited in a recent article in by the ABC (“Commuting times soar, with house prices and population boom blamed for gridlock”, 30 July 2019). The article stated: “workers now spend on average 4.5 hours a week getting to and from work — a rise of 23 per cent since 2002.” The article further quoted the HILDA report, saying there is: “a correlation between longer commute times and a desire to switch jobs, with everything from satisfaction around pay, flexibility and working hours all lower for those who travelled for longer.”
Individuals have different priorities and requirements in their professional lives that can change depending on the stage of life they are in. These survey results are pleasing as they suggest that most of the lawyers surveyed are finding what they are looking for with Orbit, given approximately 65% of them have been engaged in more than one Orbit assignment in the past two years.
We have opportunities available for exceptional lawyers with 5+ PQE. You must be established as an ILP or sole practitioner, carry an unrestricted practising certificate and have PI insurance. Email or call Greg for a confidential conversation on how legal contracting can work for you.
Head of Orbit
Phone: +61 3 9672 3187