By Beverly Aarons
11 December 2012

For law firms experiencing a shortage of attorneys or a spike in workload, hiring an attorney as a temp is an expedient and cheap solution. But how does the arrangement work for an attorney for whom a temporary job is only a pit-stop? Below we examine the pros and cons of temping:

  1. Quick money.  Working a temp job can provide a fast, but temporary influx of cash. This is especially helpful to attorneys who’ve been out of work for a long time.
  2. Opportunity for permanent work. Sometimes a temporary job can lead to a permanent position. But it really depends on the situation of the law firm. If the firm is actively looking for workers and is just using a contractor as a stop-gap solution, this could mean an opportunity for the temporary worker.
  3. New skills. For attorneys switching careers and new law school graduates, temporary work can offer an opportunity to learn new skills. These skills can be leveraged to gain permanent employment.


  1. Loss of status. Taking one or two temporary jobs for a short period of time won’t ruin your career, but long-term temp work could cause you to lose status. Some employers are not attracted to job candidates who have spent too much of their time doing contract work.
  2. Loss of skills. If you’re doing temp work that fails to utilize your skills, you could suffer from skill degradation. 
  3. Loss of opportunities. One of the drawbacks of taking temporary work is that it can distract you from your job search.  Failure to maintain an aggressive job search could cause you to miss valuable opportunities to find permanent work.

If you’re considering temp work, assess the pros/cons and decide how you will avoid getting caught in a contract work loop.
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