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'Temp' Careers

September 06, 1987

I read with interest your story concerning temporary workers, which referred primarily to temporary office personnel. There also is an expanding trend involving professionals.

Coming out of the 1982 recession, many corporations and professional service organizations such as legal firms went into the attrition mode by eliminating jobs and coaxing early retirements. Now many contemporary firms like their leaner look and are realizing that one of the easiest ways to remain competitive and enhance their ability to react quickly to opportunities is by flexible professional staffing.

Take the legal field, for example. There are many competent lawyers who love their profession but also desire a balanced life style. They simply don't want to get buried in the partnership foxhole or they just want to slip out of the corporate noose. Thus, temporary assignments--from one week to as long as nine months--suit them just fine.

There are many examples of how temporary assignments are used. In one instance, when a major California bank learned that one of its attorneys was going to take a four-month leave of absence to have her baby, it called on outside assistance and filled the position with a person equally qualified in analytical litigation.

Other instances include a Southland city able to find temporary help to assist with a flurry of 19 depositions in a land-use case, a sole practitioner focusing on immigration cases who is in constant need of supplemental staffing, and a Southern California-based Fortune 100 company which has recently used three professionals temporarily for some of its business litigation.

JOHN S. MEEK

Editor's Note: The writer is the president of Of Counsel Inc., a personnel firm for lawyers in Los Angeles.

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