“I’m concerned that taking on an interim contract role will reflect poorly on my resume.”5 PQE Real estate lawyer contemplating a move in-house
“I think this 6 months’ contract role came at an opportune time – it was between this, or taking a sabbatical just to figure out what I want for myself. At least this gave me a chance to test if I still had enough fuel in my tank to survive an in-house transactional role at a PE; if not, I would have then been able to make an informed decision that it was definitely time to pivot towards a less demanding role with less time-sensitive deals to work on.”7 PQE M&A lawyer deciding if a transactional or generalist corporate commercial in-house role was better suited for her
Speaking with lawyers in Singapore recently have shown us that opinions are divided on whether contract roles will be beneficial for them or not. The outdated assumption is that contract roles are only for lawyers who have taken a break for personal reasons and want to ease back into the workforce. As legal search specialists in Singapore, we are happy to report that this is not just what contract roles are for – there is great value to taking up a contract role, and below are three of such reasons –
Gaining new institutional knowledge
Being part of a new organisation entails grasping new ways of doing things – protocols, processes, and peculiarities. Change is never easy, but often necessary, in uncovering best practices within the legal profession. Contract roles offer fresh insights into how different organisations work and the beauty of its tenure is that candidates have the autonomy to move on after the contract period ends, without the pressures of tendering their resignations should they find the place unsuitable for the long term.
Diversifying your skill sets
As a newly-qualified attorney, we know you may not have had the luxury of choosing your practice area, especially true for those fresh out of law school during the start of the pandemic in 2020. There are many who have trained in a particular area of law with hopes of transferring departments; the reality though, is that it often warrants taking a slight cut in PQE for said moves, which translates to reduced salaries. On the flipside, contracting has proven to be a viable alternative for these lawyers as long as they are working with hiring managers who are open to training in-house.
Building your network
Author of The Connectworker, Michele Jennae, opined that “networking is not about just connecting people. It’s about connecting people with people, people with ideas, and people with opportunities.” While contract jobs are temporary, we have seen meaningful partnerships and long-term relationships established as a result of such contract placements. Though brief, you never know who you might meet in these roles that would tangibly shape how the rest of your professional career plays out in the legal and commercial world.