Freelance Work

The world of work has changed. Forever.

Remote technology, person-centred work environments, and the necessity for businesses to be responsive to change, has led to increasingly flexible working patterns. It’s a whole new world of possibility for legal work, and with a rapidly growing pool of freelance opportunities available internationally within Pinsent Masons teams or in-house with clients, the time is now.

When you join us, we work with you to understand your experience, professional and personal motivations, the legal work you want to be doing, and how you want to do it.

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In parallel, our clients tell us what they need — the business challenge they’re facing, the skills they’re looking for, the type of individual who works well in their company and the period of time for which support will be required. We then discuss the requirements of both parties internally and propose the perfect match. Once everyone is happy with the assignment, we manage the process to agree terms between yourself and the client and integrate you seamlessly into the organisation.

We’ll stay in regular contact with you and our client throughout the contract to ensure both parties have all they need to help the client’s business prosper.

Vario. The possibilities are endless.

VARIO STORIES

STORY 1

Henry Burkitt

Vario and MD of Kraken Travel

Henry has been a member of the Vario community for four years, balancing freelance legal work in Financial Services alongside running his own adventure sailing business.

Read Henry's Story

Story 2

Ruth Chapman

Vario living in Italy and the UK

Ruth is a senior property lawyer and has worked as a Vario for five years, primarily within Pinsent Masons’ teams. She lives across Italy and the UK, and works almost exclusively from home.

Watch Ruth's story

Story 3

Ian Barrie

Vario and MD of Glacius Travel

Ian works on Vario assignments predominately during the summer months, allowing him to fund and run his own independent ski travel business the rest of the year.

Watch Ian's story

Story 4

Elaine Quinn

Vario and founder of The Conscious Lawyer

Elaine joined Vario in 2013 and has experience of both in-house and Pinsent Masons’ internal assignments. Alongside her three-day week as a lawyer, she has launched an online publication exploring a more mindful approach to law.

Read Elaine's Story

Story 5

Andrew McLean

Vario within the Financial Services sector

Andrew has been a Vario for almost three years, and has spent much of that time on assignment with a major bank. Quite a change from his previous life as in-house counsel for a whisky manufacturer!

Read Andrew's Story

Story 6

Kate Halliwell

Vario within Banking and Finance

Having been a Vario for four years, Kate enjoys the flexibility that comes with being a freelance lawyer. In her current full-time role, she works from home one day a week, allowing her to stay involved in family life and achieve the balance that matters to her.

Watch Kate's story

Key Benefits

Vario stands out from the crowd in four vital ways that make a world of difference to you:

  • The quality and diversity of our freelance lawyers is rivalled only by the quality and diversity of our international client base. You gain access to stimulating, challenging and varied work across familiar and new industries.

  • Rather than relying on black-and-white data points, we handpick the right person for the right assignment, assessing personality, temperament and behaviours alongside skillset, experience and knowledge. You arrive at each assignment already confident in your fit with the company, and ready to add value from day one.

  • As an integral part of Pinsent Masons, we’re backed by the full weight of Pinsent Masons’ resources and infrastructure. You benefit from a worklife on your own terms while still accessing the best support and training in the industry.

  • We place absolute priority on enabling life and law to exist in harmony. You join a community of world-class legal professionals who share your outlook and values.

What is a ‘Vario’? And, how does Vario work?

A Vario is a freelance lawyer who has gone through our rigorous assessment process and joined our community. 

Each Vario is a freelance provider, delivering their services to us through a corporate vehicle (generally a ‘personal services’ company or PAYE umbrella company) rather than being contracted as an individual. Once approved by our assessment process, we’ll get you assignment-ready. We’ll then get in touch as soon as a suitable opportunity arises. Our assignments are driven by client need so we can’t guarantee work; however, the more flexible you are, the more opportunities will be available. There is no obligation on you to accept assignments offered to you, and you are free to accept work from other sources. All we ask is that you keep us updated around your availability.

APPLICATION PROCESS: What’s the application process like? What references will I need? What’s the purpose of the online questionnaire?

Process: You’ll complete an online application form on our website. There are then several stages including an online personality profile, interview and references. The full process is outlined on the apply page. We aim to complete the recruitment process within one month, at which point, if successful, you’ll become a Vario.

References: We require two references from you, including at least one short phone call with a previous employer to discuss your work history.

Online Questionnaire: To provide insight into an individual’s natural behaviours, style and personality, and their fit for freelance work. Freelancing requires a different mind-set and a particular set of skills and behaviours, and fantastic lawyers might not always make fantastic freelance lawyers. This questionnaire will also help you understand whether or not freelance work might be right for you.

ASSIGNMENTS: How long does a typical assignment last? How often will I be on assignment? Will I be a part of the team that I’m working with?

This varies tremendously from client to client, however most are three to nine months. In practice the majority of our Vario assignments extend beyond their original end date.

This varies for each Vario depending upon factors such as their location, experience, current market conditions and expected day-rate. The more willing a Vario is to work in a flexible way, the more frequently they tend to be on assignment.

Every client is different and your briefing will include insight into how they tend to integrate freelancers. Whilst there will always be activities reserved for permanent employees, most clients will include you in the majority of team events and will make you feel welcome!

CLIENTS: What type of clients work with Vario? Are all assignments with clients of Pinsent Masons?

A very wide range! Our client base covers sectors from banking to TMT, infrastructure and from global multinationals through to public sector organisations. The common thread is that each client is seeking a flexible legal resource to help them meet their challenges.

A large proportion of Vario assignments are with Pinsent Masons’ clients, although not all. We also offer assignments within Pinsent Masons’ in-house teams where support is required.

HOLIDAY: What holiday can I take?

You will agree any leave days off with the client directly. As a freelancer, you will be responsible for paying yourself during any holidays you take — leave days are not paid.

LOGISTICS: What is a typical working pattern, e.g. location and hours? What locations do most of your assignments come from?

This depends on the specific requirements of the client and assignment. Many Varios do split their time between on site and home working, in agreement with the client, however most (although not all) assignments do require some on site presence. In terms of working hours, this will again be specific to each assignment and will be clear for both parties from the outset. Typically, Varios work a professional working day (including occasionally working above core hours if workload dictates). 

The majority of our assignments are in the South East of England, Scotland and the East coast of Australia, however we are seeing increasing regional and international opportunities as Pinsent Masons grows their global office network.

REMUNERATION: Will a move to freelance work impact my income? How will I be paid? Will my travel be paid for?

We understand the day-rate that each Vario is seeking to meet their personal expectations, and filter opportunities for them accordingly. You remain in control of the decisions you make.

Typically, the freelance market remunerates through the use of daily rates. We agree a day-rate band with each Vario, appropriate to market and individual expectations. Each Vario invoices Pinsent Masons whilst on assignment, and fees are paid by the firm. Overtime policy is also assignment-specific.

Typically you’ll cover travel between your home and a client’s offices. Any expenses incurred in performing a role will typically be recoverable. Expenses policy is assignment-specific and will be discussed at this time.

ROLES: What seniority and type of assignments are on offer? Do I still require a practising certificate?

Our assignments span the breadth of legal experience, from paralegal to Director or General Counsel, all across a number of sectors.

We require all Varios to maintain their own practising certificate.

TRAINING AND SUPPORT: How will I continue my professional training and development? What support do you provide Varios whilst on assignment?

When you join the Vario community, you can subscribe to our newsletter – Vario Life – that includes firm-wide training opportunities, some of which carry CPD credits. We also offer Vario-specific training events whilst on assignment. Finally, many clients support additional training opportunities whilst you are working with them.

When on assignment, Varios are placed on Pinsent Masons’ professional indemnity (PI) policy. We also provide access to a professional support lawyer and access to online legal resources LexisPSL.

Still got questions?

If you still have questions, or need a little more information, feel free to get in touch –
we’d love to hear from you.

VARIO Testimonials

You need to know you’re really, really different from your competitors.  Your processes are slicker, you deal with people in a more personable way and, right from the start, I felt as though I was part of something – part of a team – I felt as though I was a Vario and you were looking out for me.

Having dealt with all of your competitors over the last three months or so, I just really want you to know how much better your approach feels from a candidate’s perspective.

I constantly had the sense that you were looking out for my interests, whether it was by phoning to check how an interview, or a first day at a new role had gone, or by strategically selecting roles for me that would enhance my corporate/commercial experience.