Yes! Congratulations, you’re about to qualify as a solicitor. The culmination of years of education and, if you have qualified through the traditional route, two years of learning the practical applications of the law during your traineeship is about to arrive!
Qualifying as a solicitor is such an exciting time, it can mean changing firms or even starting in a legal discipline you haven’t done before.
But the first thing to think about is the all-important question of - what do you see yourself doing for the rest of your career?
Have you mapped out the next… YAWN!
Boring, that old chestnut I hear you say?! The 5/10 year plan blah, blah blah...
I think the thing is this, though changing legal disciplines is possible, often it is not particularly easy and there are only so many times anyone can pull this off and remain credible.
However, there are some exceptions here, so thinking about your career with a long-term view could help you stay motivated and enable more variety.
When thinking about what direction to take after qualification you should consider the following:
- What area of work did you enjoy the most? Not just whether it was contentious or non-contentious work or what legal disciple but what type of client did you enjoy working with the most?
- Do you have any transferable experience or a seat in this area that an employer may consider valuable?
- Where did your training Partners/Supervisors see your strengths as being? Always play to your strengths where possible, for example - if thinking on your feet came up time and time again, maybe you are best suited to being a court lawyer?
- What is important to you? What motivates you? Do you want to act / work for big brands? Would you prefer working closely with PLC’s, SME’s or individuals? What do you find the most rewarding?
- What lifestyle will make you happy? Happy people thrive at work and at home. Be honest with yourself, do you want the corporate lifestyle or is work life balance and hitting the gym at 6pm everyday more important to you?
So, you now know the overall picture – how do you get there?
Broadening your horizons
I don’t want to be the bearer of bad news, but opportunities are often oversubscribed. This means that not everyone will be lucky enough to secure a role in their chosen legal discipline.
BUT if you are honest with yourself about what you enjoy, what motivates you and what is important to you, you can 100% still have an amazing, rewarding and fulfilling career though possibly in a slightly different area of law to which you had in mind.
Last year we spoke to a number of 2021 qualifying solicitors who really enjoyed employment law but for one reason or another cannot find a role in this area.
We have talked through what other areas they think will give them the underpinning elements that made a career in employment law appealing to them.
In these instances, actually all of the people I am referring to felt that working on commercial contracts and advising clients within the commercial sector would give them that same satisfaction. And, in fact, we are arranging interviews for them as I write this.
This just highlights the benefits of talking things through with someone who is slightly removed from the emotional attachment placed on this important decision. This could be a friend, a family member or your expert legal recruiter.
If you are qualifying in 2022 and have yet to secure a position, please feel free to get in touch for a confidential, no obligation conversation – and we can even meet for a coffee now!
Feel free to get in touch on firstname.lastname@example.org or 0131 278 0000