What does 2011 hold for locums?

Paul Murden, a locum provides his view on what 2011 holds for locum conveyancers….
To state what is probably the very obvious, the future for Conveyancing locums looks very bleak. What was always, perhaps, a limited market will be pressured by the predominant  economic effect on the property market causing SMS firms to either a) close their residential conveyancing depts) or b) close all together. Those surviving will probably get by requiring fee earners to cover for absent colleagues without aid and demanding greater input from secretaries who can (possibly) deal with higher levels of responsibility if pushed.
In addition, many of our no longer working colleagues affected by the above will be thinking about finding locum posts because permanent employment won’t be there. More fish in the evaporating pool.
Sad but true, it was always the sole practitioners and 2/3 partner practices that were the biggest employers of locums. Perversely, in these days of demand for “quality” it is likely that the service provided by the profession may suffer because of uncovered absences or excessive workload.
All may not be gloom and doom however. Locums may find themselves regenerated as “outsource facility” and find niche work (although probably on a subject to workload basis) with larger firms and new ABS businesses. Be warned though: Only the most adaptable will survive. Complete IT fluency including strong keyboard skills and the ability to be completely flexible in the hours and places they work will be the order of the day. Secretarial support will be a thing of the past and if you didn’t do Case management then now’s the time to star leaning and quickly.
Could be the time for locums to consider re-branding.
Good Luck and a Happy New Year
Paul Murden is a Fellow of the Institute of Legal Executives admitted in 1978 and qualified as a Licensed Conveyancer in 1986, a practising lawyer with over 25 years of Conveyancing (Domestic & Commercial) experience gained with significant South East solicitors practices as well as having ran his own practice until 1990.
He now practices as a Conveyancing locum, Compliance auditor and Case management consultant for law practices largely in south east England but “has dictation machine will travel”. Further details on www.locum-conveyancer.co.uk
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