Balancing your career and family responsibilities as a working mother can be challenging — but not entirely impossible. To start, a previous post entitled ‘5 Tips for Juggling Freelancing with Motherhood’ guides self-employed mums in maximising their income while still having time for their children. These tips include saving a few months’ wages before going freelance and ensuring they have access to childcare while working with multiple clients and deadlines.
While working mums in fields like business, marketing, and creative arts can offer freelance services, self-employed arrangements can look different for the legal profession — where about 52% of solicitors in regular law firms are women while 33% have primary caring responsibilities, according to a report by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. Instead of freelancing, they can be locum solicitors who work on a short-term basis to fill interim roles. If you’re interested in doing locum work as a legal professional, here are its distinct advantages to working mums.
Flexible working hours
Although legal businesses are improving their working cultures to be more inclusive, the Next 100 Years’ research on UK mothers found that working mothers still struggle to balance work with motherhood. Specifically, over half of those who wanted to reduce their working hours to spend more time with their children could not do so due to disagreements with their employers, client demands, and financial pressures.
In contrast, moving to a locum career provides you with the flexibility to adapt your working hours to better accommodate your family’s needs. Having greater control over your schedule also allows you to avoid the fast-paced, stressful workloads typically associated with full-time legal work
Besides being flexible and adaptable, a locum lifestyle also offers financial perks. While legal work in itself is already lucrative, locum solicitors can earn as much or even more than permanent candidates since they have to take up the role on short notice. Additionally, locums are highly in demand during certain times of the year, which can translate into higher pay rates.
However, LHH’s guide to working as a locum solicitor reminds you to know your worth before committing to a short-term contract. Since you’re not paid an annual salary, ensure fair compensation by negotiating a competitive daily or hourly rate, considering unpaid holidays or time off, and seeking professional advice on your self-employed status.
Career fulfilment and development
Locum solicitors also enjoy the privilege of working across various clients, projects, and cases, ensuring a fulfilling and rewarding experience. This diversity and variety can especially be helpful for working mums, as an annual motherhood survey from Workingmums.co.uk found that about two-thirds (67%) of respondents said their careers stalled after having children.
Additionally, taking on a locum role enables working mums to avoid employment gaps in their CVs. Instead, they can update their skills or learn new ones, such as using the latest
Better work-life balance
With improved pay, hours, and working environment, being a locum solicitor ultimately paves the way to a better work-life balance. Considering legal work can compound the stress and burnout from your caring responsibilities, being able to use your knowledge and experience while also choosing when and where you want to work can do wonders for your physical and mental health.
Overall, a locum role can be an excellent opportunity for working mums to thrive and advance in their legal careers without having to sacrifice their personal and familial priorities. As daunting as juggling your work and caring responsibilities may be, Mumernity is here to guide you through every step of the way. Check out the rest of our articles for more informative resources.