HR Mag., Feb. 2010 at 31, provides definitions of the two kinds of workers: Contract workers are “workers employed by a company that provides them or their services to others under contract. They are usually assigned to only one customer and usually work at the customer’s site.”
As for temps, the term “generally refers to employees of a temporary staffing agency who perform work on a temporary or seasonal basis.”
By these definitions, contract lawyers tend to work longer periods and under a contract and in connection with a certain kind of ultimate employer (See my post of July 17, 2008: contract lawyers with 12 references.). Temporary lawyers have shorter work-spans, handle less demanding tasks, and have a looser affiliation with one or more ultimate employers (See my post of Sept. 9, 2008: temporary staff with 8 references.).