LOCUMS – WHAT DO THEY DO?
A Locum lawyer (‘Locum’) usually works for a short fixed period. Locums provide cover where the Principal of a law firm needs/requires a break for recreational, health or family reasons.
For issues such as absence of staff, work overload, or "hard files" a Consultant is required. The qualifications and requirements of a Consultant are different from those of a Locum.
Click here for a list of Locums.
WHO CAN BE A LOCUM?
Someone who is qualified to practice on his/her own account AND (if the Practitioner seeking the Locum runs a Trust Account) is Trust Account Management qualified.
WHAT DOES A LOCUM DO?
There are no rules restricting what a Locum does (apart from the qualifications detailed above) while sitting in your chair. That is up to you and your requirements. You need someone with all those qualifications to actually run the practice. This includes supervising the staff - whoever the staff members are. There may be no staff i.e. a true sole practitioner, or there may one or more e.g. a receptionist, a secretary or two, one or some legal executives, an accounts person, other solicitors.
WHAT DO YOU LOOK FOR IN A LOCUM?
That depends on what you want. Look at what areas your practice practises in. If it is predominantly in litigation and debt collection don't look for an employment law Locum. Many smaller practices practise in many areas rather than restrict their business to a narrow specialist area. For specialist advice the practitioner will seek a specialist. For generalist advice the practitioner will seek a generalist.
WHERE DO YOU SOURCE THIS LOCUM?
You will find contacts for Locums here or in the New Zealand Lawyers Directory (around page 330). There is also a list on the NZLS website.
You may receive a word of mouth recommendation or you can "phone a friend" i.e. ask around.
DO LOCUMS HAVE A STANDARD LOCUM CONTRACT?
No, there is no standard Locum contract. Everything depends on what you require and what the Locum will "give". Some Locums/practitioners require a formal written contract while others cover the essential points and seldom have written documentation.