Adjunct Law Prof Blog

Editor: Mitchell H. Rubinstein
New York Law School

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Should a lawyer Accept a Temporary Job?

Our sister blog, Legal Skills Prof Blog (which is edited by Jim Levy who is a contributing editor of this blog) ran an interesting story on Nov. 23, 2010, which you have to read to believe. Jim cites to two sources who question whether an out of work lawyer should accept temporary work. The concern is that this type of work would not look good on a resume. Jim does not  comment on this; but I commented on his blog and will comment here. 

The worst thing on a resume is a gap because that implies that the person was fired. Whether that is true or not that is simply the implication. So, what is a person suppose to do? Getting a job as a temp shows that the person is willing to work and is not concerned with titles or form. 

Sure, no one wants to be in this situation; but given the economy many lawyers find themselves in this situation. The responsible thing to do is to try to get out of it anyway you can. 

Mitchell H. Rubinstein

Lawyer Employment, Lawyers | Permalink


There are ways to avoid the resume gaps (one of the really great things about being a lawyer, actually).

Hang a shingle and do temp work on the side, but mention only your practice work/exclude the temp work on your resume.
Do pro bono work (gets you experience, meet other attorneys and nobody needs to know you're not being paid).

Either option gets you out meeting other attorneys, gets you experience, and avoids the resume gaps. And who may eventually make enough with your own clients to not need the temp work!

Posted by: Scott Ledford | Nov 30, 2010 5:38:13 AM

I agree with Rubinstein that not working is worse than doing a temp position. The problem for attorneys is when the "contract" attorney position becomes an ongoing series of placements. Temporary has become permanent.
I don't agree with Scott about not mentioning the temp work on resume--you will certainly have to mention the clients for these temp positions when you are fortunate enough to get hired by a firm and go through conflicts. When those clients show up and are not ones you represented in your solo gig--problems could arise.

Posted by: Anonymous Contract Lawyer | Dec 2, 2010 4:35:32 PM

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