Temping in the Law

My colleague Danice Kowalczyk in BCG’s New York office offers some interesting thoughts about when it makes sense to take a job as a legal temp. Temping has been around for a while now in the legal profession. Temping arrangements can be a win/win for firms who need to quickly build an army or fill an empty slot and lawyers who wants to work in the profession without the long hours and ongoing commitments that come with partnership track.

But it is a mistake to think that taking a temp job is an entree into a large law firm position. Over the years, I have spoken to a number of staff attorneys who are stuck in dead end positions doing document review.

On the other hand, temping can be a good foot in the door if the work is more substantive. This is more likely to happen at a smaller firm and more likely to occur if you seek out temp work directly through aggressive networking. Agencies may be able to find you work more quickly; but it is less likely to be substantive. This may not be a bad thing if you need to generate income. But as Danice nicely points out, it is important to know what you are getting yourself into.

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