Information for Lawyers Seeking Locum Work

Information for Lawyers Seeking Locum Work

Who is eligible to work as a locum lawyer?

Active members of the Law Society of Saskatchewan who are currently entitled to provide legal services or practise law in Saskatchewan are eligible to work as a locum lawyers in Saskatchewan.

 Who should consider working as a locum lawyer?

If you are seeking more flexibility, a greater variety or work or more mobility in your lifestyle, you may want to consider working as a locum lawyer.

Locum work, either full or part-time, may also be a good option for you if you are winding down your career and wish to continue practising but not in a full-time capacity, if you are caring for a small child or ill or elderly family member, or if you have a small practice of your own and are seeking additional work.

Issues to consider for locum lawyers

Satisfy yourself that the contracting firm/lawyer’s client trust account is in order.

Unless the contracting firm/lawyer will be available throughout the locum lawyer’s term to handle trust funds, arrangements must be made to provide the locum lawyer with authority to access the Contracting Lawyer trust account(s). This can be done via a power of attorney or, with bank permission, through the contracting lawyer signing an authorization permitting the locum lawyer to manage his/her trust account for the duration of the contractual term.

As locum lawyer, you will want to satisfy yourself that the contracting lawyer trust account(s) is/are up to date and in order. To this end, you might want to review the current accounting history of all files you will be working on to confirm that the contracting lawyer records are current and accurate. You should consider reviewing the following documents:

  • Most recent trust reconciliation and comparison
  • Trust bank statements
  • Client trust listings and individual client's ledger balances

It is your responsibility to satisfy yourself that you are comfortable taking over the contracting firm/lawyer's accounts. Be sure to address these issues in the locum lawyer contract. You may incur legal liability in relation to managing trust funds. The locum lawyer and contracting firm/lawyer should maintain a current and complete set of records prior to the transfer and return of practice responsibilities.

Consider whether you will be required to sign cheques on the contracting firm/lawyer's general account

If so, make sure that the contracting firm/lawyer has made the proper arrangements in advance for you to have signing authority. Find out the name of the bookkeeper and establish a rapport.

For both general and trust accounts, you may wish to consider a dual-signature signing authority with you as one signatory, and a senior staff member from the office as the other. This protects both the locum lawyer’s and contracting firm’s/lawyer's interests in the financial management of the firm while the contracting firm/lawyer is away. Also consider a cap on how much you can sign for on the general account and include these arrangements in the locum lawyer contract. As most expenses can be dealt with via pre-authorized payment, debit or credit card, you should not need to be involved with payment of routine expenses (e.g. rent, salaries, and utilities).