When Jennifer joined Orbit, one of her motivations was the opportunity to move contract to contract to work in new client environments. As well as being an Orbit lawyer, Jennifer runs her own practice which she has been able to ramp-down or park for interesting fixed term contracts. These contracts are normally somewhere between a few weeks and a few months each – with some full-time and some ad hoc by the hour. Generally, the full-time work is based in the client’s office, which Jennifer likes because she quickly becomes part of the team and learns about the client’s business. From Jennifer: “it’s a great way to meet new people, work in new industries and take you out of our comfort zone.”
Jennifer’s experience is a common one at Orbit – where a variety of working arrangements are possible in different contract roles.
In April this year, the Diversity Council of Australia highlighted some of the myths and misconceptions about flexible working, noting that flexible working “increases teamwork, reciprocity and ownership of the solution, reduces management time, and speeds decision-making”.
At Orbit we talk to our lawyers about the flexibility they are looking for – whether it’s in the duration of contracts, the hours or days worked, or the location of the work. This discussion is as important as the one we have with them to understand their practice skills because it allows us to better tailor the opportunities for them. It also helps us match our lawyers’ legal and business skills with our clients’ working cultures.
In every part of our business, we promote and encourage flexible work experiences because they work for our clients and our lawyers.
The most obvious flexibility contract lawyers enjoy is the opportunity to take on a variety of contracts across practice areas and sectors. This diverse exposure, often to quite distinct businesses, means that Orbit lawyers can build skills quickly. These include legal, business and behavioural skills – like learning to adapt quickly to work with different individuals and within a variety of reporting lines, in different environments and workplace cultures.
This versatility is valued by our clients. Indeed, one of the reasons clients come to Orbit is because our lawyers are reliable professionals who know how to parachute into organisations, work well with new teams, and get straight into the work.
Time management and communication skills
Having flexibility as to when you work is important for most of us, regardless of our gender. This may be a desire for shorter working days or weeks, full-time positions in which work is performed over flexible hours, or compressed working weeks.
Flexibility for some of our lawyers means working traditional hours through contracts, but taking breaks in between. This allows them to enjoy longer periods of leave through the year, but to work intensively when they’re on contract. Taking rolling full-time contracts is a great way both to accelerate your career and to build in some space to meet your personal commitments.
Clients are often looking for full or part-time contractors because they need to add temporary capacity, or because they have a niche issue that can’t be managed by the in-house team. They’re drawn to contract lawyers because they recognise that lawyers who work flexible hours and days, and those who are used to working on short-term contracts, generally have efficient time management, work practice and communication skills.
The contract legal market is a national one – and increasingly clients are using the skills of lawyers where they find them. That includes city-based clients drawing on the skills of regional contract lawyers, and clients finding the skills they need interstate.
Technology has made remote working more efficient, more secure and more fluid. While Orbit lawyers are usually located in clients’ premises, they are often able to work remotely using a range of technologies including laptops, videoconferencing software and smart phones.
The market is as flexible and diverse as the lawyers who serve it.
With the experience of working in a variety of environments our lawyers quickly build their technological and relationship-building skills. They become highly adaptable and proficient at working within new operational and technological environments, merging quickly into teams, and skilfully managing relationships.
Those skills are highly valued by clients and make it possible for an increasingly flexible workforce to thrive in the office, off-site, or at home.
We have opportunities available for exceptional lawyers with 5+ PQE. You must be established as an ILP or sole practitioner, carry an unrestricted practising certificate and have PI insurance. Email or call Greg for a confidential conversation on how legal contracting can work for you.
Head of Orbit
Phone: +61 3 9672 3187