Guide to working as a contract lawyer
Everything you need to know about becoming an on-demand lawyer by Charlie Harris of Contax Law
• Introduction to Contax Law
• Working in London
• Your company
• Day rate
• Other jurisdictions
In 2016, Nicholas Scott established a Contract/Flexible Lawyer business called Contax Law.
Contax Law provides a supported solution, for quality lawyers who wish to achieve more flexibility and control over their working lives. Our Contax Law platform offers short and long term assignments, at high day rates of pay with in-house departments of corporate and financial services clients, or as a secondee with our law firm arrangements.
The Contax Law community is there to fully support you at all times. While your relationship manager takes care of your career progress and assignment allocation, the community will provide you with outstanding opportunities to expand your skill set.
Clients in London
The world’s major banks and corporates tend to have their most significant offices in London. Our specialist recruitment team, based in Central London have developed contacts within the top UK and US firms, banks, asset management firms and other financial institutions with offices in London.
We also work with in-house corporates, PLCs and private companies and companies using Contax Pool lawyers for their ‘In House Lawyer’ service. We maintain an active database of assignments generated by our client partners which provides our pool of lawyers with a constant flow of high-quality work.
How we work
In order to join the Contax Pool, we will require you to complete our interview and onboarding processes and provide us with the relevant documentation/references. We will then look to provide you with assignments that best suit your skills set and needs, and we will endeavour to keep your desired schedule as full as possible.
Our clients rely on Contax Law to select only the most relevant individuals from the pool for each assignment. You are under no obligation to accept an assignment that doesn’t suit your personal/professional requirements.
Assignments – London, rest of UK and internationally
Contax Law receives assignments from all over the UK, as well as internationally. Recent international assignments offered to Contax Pool Lawyers include Australia, South Africa and Germany. The majority of our assignments, however, are based in London.
Looking for any common law-qualified lawyers
We welcome applications from lawyers qualified in other common law jurisdictions such as Scotland, Australia, New Zealand, the United States and Canada.
Contax Pool lawyers provide their services to Contax Law as an independent business via one of two methods:
1. Umbrella Company
2. Personal Service Company (PSC)
By operating via an umbrella company you are effectively a PAYE employee of that business, however the majority of our lawyers prefer to operate via their own personal services company, as this provides them with greater autonomy and control over their financial and tax advantages.
Contax Law works closely with Carbon Accounting who are regulated chartered accountants. They are available to provide you with advice on company formation, financial paperwork and tax reporting: www.carbonaccounting.co.uk.
Before your company provides Contax Law with services, a ‘Consultancy Contract’ needs to be agreed; this defines the terms of our working relationship. If you choose to operate via an umbrella company, it will agree the terms on your behalf. Before each assignment we will confirm the specific terms for that individual mandate; e.g. client details, location, assignment period, nature of role and rates.
You are responsible for ensuring you have an up-to-date practising certificate – your Contax Law relationship manager will require a copy for our records. To ensure that you are considered for assignments from all of the Contax Law clients we suggest that our pool lawyers continue to complete a minimum of 16 hours accredited CPD each year.
Your rate of pay will be determined before each assignment and will be quoted as a ‘Day Rate’. Contax Law continually monitor industry salaries and London contract rates and pay our pool lawyers at top City levels. Our aim is for you to be able to earn in nine months what it would usually take 12 months to achieve if you were in a traditional salaried position. You should think of this as the ‘Snowboard Option’.
You will be required to maintain a timesheet record for each completed day. All clients have their own time recording requirements and you will be expected to follow their procedures in this regard. If you work over what you consider to be reasonable daily hours for a role, let us know so that we can agree a solution with the client.
Invoicing and payment
We expect to receive an invoice from your company in arrears on a monthly basis, on or around the 1st of the following month. We will ensure that your time records have been authorised by our client, and we aim for you to receive the payment from us within five working days of receipt.
To join our community and find the latest contract positions available please visit www.contaxlaw.com
As a member of the community you can keep updated with new positions as they are posted, you can share your views with other like-minded lawyers and get access to blogposts written by professionals on life as a consultant, stress management, work-life balance or specialised articles.
Once a job matching your skills becomes available, you can enquire about it through the website, or we can get in touch with you directly.
Charlie Harris is managing director at Contax Law, a division of Nicholas Scott Global Legal Recruitment, the exclusive provider of jobs for The Global Legal Post. If you would like more information about working as a contract lawyer please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call: (+44) (0) 203 865 0196