The legal profession is experiencing huge change and a career change is a reality for many lawyers in the current market. The career model, like the law firm model, was fit for purpose yesterday, but not necessarily tomorrow. There are less partner places, and many associates are ‘caught in the middle’ and won’t achieve partner, some have a different career aspiration than partner wanting a better work life balance and more fulfilment or variety, and some will be pushed out or jump with the ‘up or out’ policy. Many lawyers fell into law, found out it doesn’t suit them and want to do something else, but what and how?
Career change can be a daunting prospect, especially in uncertain times. However people are so close to themselves that they cannot see how resourceful and well-equipped they are to tackle career change. Lawyers’ bright analytical minds can torture them in career change, going round and round in circles.
There is good news! Lawyers do have useful skills and experience to help them create a successful career change.
Here are 14 reasons why lawyers possess skills, qualities and experience that make them well-equipped for career change:
1. Research skill useful to explore new career options;
2. Intelligence to make a good decision;
3. Persistence to make it work, having spent many years training;
4. Society’s perception of lawyers as intelligent professionals to be respected and listened to helps you be considered as a candidate;
5. Rigorous approach analysing and synthesising information and seeing an issue from all angles;
6. Robust risk assessment and looking at different scenarios increases the likelihood of making a sound career change decision;
7. Keeping up to date with changes in the law – new careers are appearing all the time;
8. Love of knowledge and learning – get up to speed with a new area;
9. Commitment to study and learn serves well in getting up to speed in a new career;
10. Flexibility – experience of having different seats and working in different practice areas;
11. Tolerance and resilience acquired when junior working in a law firm;
12. Individualistic in nature – carve out own path in market;
13. Breadth and mix of skills needed to be a lawyer, i.e. critical thinking, client relationship management, negotiation, sharing complex information in a simple way – analysis and synthesis gives a transferable and useful skillset and good mix for becoming self-employed; and
14. CPD requirement to keep up to date with changes in legislation enhances being predisposed to skills refreshment.
Lawyers may not perceive it, but they do have useful skills and experience to make a change and are not the ‘one trick ponies’ than they often they think they are.
It is time for the rigid and linear lawyer career path in law firms to be changed.
We help lawyers to achieve career success – staying in the law and moving out.
Read our blog about how the very training that lawyers undertake can inhibit lawyers in career change:
Read our blog for The Law Society questioning the traditional role of partner:
If you are a lawyer at a career crossroads or a law firm wanting to be more innovative in your career model, e mail us for a confidential/no obligation chat: