Over the past several years in my role recruiting and placing professionals for ElevateFlex, I have seen a steady and consistent increase in the demand for interim legal talent amongst both law firms and law departments. To me, the advantages of using flex arrangements are obvious – yet many law organisations still consider them a novel approach. For those entities still unsure about the impact and benefits interim resources provide, it’s helpful to look at the key issues our customers point to in using ElevateFlex.
When an organisation first decides to use flex resources, often it is because they face an urgent need – a document review, an M&A project, or other pressing matter. But the hiring cycle for permanent positions remains relatively long – both because the talent in a particular speciality may be scarce and because the process of identifying, screening, and interviewing candidates typically takes weeks, if not months. For many of our first-time customers, they cannot wait for the perfect candidate.
ElevateFlex has a pool of experienced, pre-vetted, and readily available interims at all times. The fact that our interim resources can generally start on very short notice – sometimes within a couple of days – is a decisive factor for many first-time customers. The quick ramp-up means no downtime or negative impact to the team or external parties.
Sometimes the need for talent is of limited duration, for instance, when an existing team member takes parental leave. A permanent replacement is not necessary. Rather, the organisation needs to secure coverage until the team member returns. Flexible resources are perfect for such situations because they can provide coverage for as long as necessary.
ElevateFlex’s pool of candidates are experienced career interims who have already worked for different organisations. They are adept at integrating themselves into an existing team, acclimating to a new corporate culture, and coming up to speed on a new matter. This means that they add value quickly and effectively. The ability of our flex talent to “hit the ground running” stands in sharp contrast to new permanent hires or secondments who have limited experience “jumping in” somewhere new.
Another benefit of turning to interim professionals is that you can specify the experience or skillset you require. That way, you can augment an existing team with the particular specialisations necessary for the matter at hand, secure in the knowledge that you can “ramp up” or “ramp down” use of that professional as your needs evolve.
The recent associate salary increases of numerous law firms have highlighted the issue of cost. Hiring a permanent employee imposes substantial costs without any guarantee there will be an adequate return on that investment. Beyond salary, benefits, IT, and administrative support expenses, there are the upfront costs of advertising for a position and finders fees/referral bonuses. There’s also the often overlooked opportunity cost of having a position unfilled while recruiting for it: work remains uncompleted, team morale often suffers, and clients and customers are left waiting. Interim resources allow an organisation to avoid all of these costs while enjoying an immediate return on bringing on a flex professional.
It All Adds Up
French novelist Victor Hugo is credited with saying that “nothing is more powerful than an idea whose time has come.” Such is the case with using flex professionals. Taken together, the four factors described above – availability, flexibility, specialisation, and cost – make it easy to understand why more and more law firms and law departments are turning to interim resources to meet their staffing needs.
The four factors described above – availability, flexibility, specialisation, and cost – make it easy to understand why more and more law firms and law departments are turning to interim resources to meet their staffing needs.