Changing World for Locums

I very recently read an article in the magazine for the Chartered Institute of legal executives where three or four recruitment consultants were discussing the current market and positioning of locums in the current climate.
Having spent some 38 years in the profession during which time I have occasionally acted as a locum until the last three years when I have been continuously engaged as one, I feel reasonably qualified to make some comments of my own with regard to legal locums.
I suspect that the image that many employers (I prefer to call on them clients) have a rather “dusty” view of locums viewing them as usually semi retired and just out to make a bit of pin money.
It is a changing world out there and nothing like that could be further from the truth.  
Most locums entering the market these days and certainly those that are established are highly professional and have up to date IT and management skills in addition to a high level of skill in their own particular discipline.  
They must be totally adaptable and able to integrate quickly and effectively with such systems and staff as they may find in whatever assignment they have undertaken.
If any lawyer is contemplating acting as a locum either on the temporary short or long-term basis or to make a career/business of locuming, then they will need the above qualities in spades but equally importantly, they will need to be mobile.  Work is not always found of your own doorstep and the locum may well need to travel some distance to assignments or even take local accommodation while that assignment is undertaken.
Anyone hoping to make a career/business out of being a locum should consider very carefully whether they are likely to obtain work.  Acquaintances and contacts within the profession always useful and no opportunity should be in this to spread the word.
An effective website is essential as is a mail out campaign.
A word of caution here, however.  Would-be locums should not place a heavy reliance on recruitment consultancies/agencies to find work.
Many recruitment consultancies do not have a dedicated locum consultant or section and unfortunately very few recruiters have an understanding of their own clients needs so far as a locum is concerned and indeed of locum work themselves.  I suspect that many recruiters regard locums as “damaged goods” (I have seen one use that expression in an article)
Locum assignments can vary significantly in reality from the job spec appearing in an advertisement or described by a recruiter.
Adaptability is the keyword, be prepared to make the tea, why be proud, you’re going to get paid for it!
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