The past several months have seen many articles reporting the rise in associate salaries to unprecedented levels. The lure of higher pay might seem irresistible, yet at ElevateFlex, we continue to attract and retain superb legal professionals. What explains the enduring appeal of flex work?
The answer begins with recognising that an evolution has occurred over the past decade or so, whereby a viable career path has become possible under the flex paradigm. Gone are the days when the “one-firm-for-life” model reigned supreme. Today, laterals abound, and it is not uncommon for a lawyer to depart a firm for an in-house role. Moreover, legal professionals can craft fulfilling career journeys that expose them to a variety of settings and a more diverse set of matters than they might otherwise get working their way up the ranks of large law firms or an in-house department.
For legal professionals, the decision to work in a flex capacity usually reflects four interconnected considerations: work/life balance, variety of work, career development, and financial considerations.
Flexibility. Perhaps the most attractive factor for any legal professional entering the world of “Interim” is its flexibility. Flex work arrangements allow individuals to adjust their work/life balance to fit their needs. From the outset, a flex professional has the opportunity to set parameters and exercise control around work schedules. This includes specifying working hours or days from the start of an assignment, more control over work location, and ensuring that work does not encroach on personal time or commitments. Flex professionals enjoy great control when they work – and, consequently, when they do not. Extended breaks in between assignments – for a vacation, to meet childcare responsibilities, or investing in further professional development – are readily possible with a flex career. The result is professionals who enjoy their work more than peers who have little or no control over, for example, working hours, work location, or timing of time off.
Variety of Work. Another benefit of becoming a Legal Flex Resource is the variety of work available. Because flex professionals work on shorter-term assignments, they can select specific types of projects, practice areas, or client groups. They also can gain experience in different industries, whether through work with a firm or a law department. All of this provides broader professional experience than is possible when working as a member of a practice group with a narrow focus and serving clients in a single industry. Some projects may be a full role but time-limited, such as covering an extended absence due to illness or parental leave. Other times, one’s role is limited to a specific aspect of a matter or to help handle surges in workload. Either way, flex resources are rarely involved in (or distracted by) an organisation’s administrative requirements, office politics, or hierarchy. This allows for focusing one’s energies on the work at hand without distraction.
Career Development. Flex work also benefits a professional’s career trajectory. Expertise and skill develop rapidly with exposure to multiple projects, practice areas, people, and work cultures in a short space of time. Flex professionals learn to add value instantly and effectively; they become adept at hitting the ground running on new projects and starting work with a new organisation. Likewise, they enjoy the opportunity to learn from working with or under a variety of different leaders. They also build a broader and deeper professional network and have a better opportunity to establish a personal brand by working with a range of clients. As the demand for expertise in particular fields waxes and wanes, flex professionals are able to pivot to new opportunities to ensure their skills and profile remain relevant and in demand.
Financial. What a legal professional can earn as an interim depends on many factors that vary from one assignment to another. In-house and private practice roles pay differently, as do specific areas of legal practice. Flex professionals can choose to focus on time-intensive, high-priority projects that typically provide a higher daily/hourly rate. Or they may prefer assignments where lower pay comes with much greater flexibility in working hours, location, etc. (Often in those assignments, opportunities for overtime arise – which may result in being paid at a higher rate than permanent colleagues.)
It All Adds Up. Taken together, these four factors – flexibility, variety, career development, and financial considerations – have proven to be highly alluring to premier legal talent. At ElevateFlex, we have seen a growing need and interest from our customers for experienced Legal Flex Resources, so if pursuing a career as an interim professional sounds interesting to you, please get in touch with us!
These four factors – flexibility, variety, career development, and financial considerations – have proven to be highly alluring to premier legal talent.