Legal services is an incredibly buoyant industry. No matter what the role you’re looking to take within it there are a lot of benefits to committing to working in the sector. So, how do you get started with a legal career?
1. Identify the transferrable skills you already have.
You may have specific sector expertise that would make you an attractive candidate in a legal field. For example, if you’ve been working in engineering this could give you a step up with respect to working in intellectual property law. If you’ve been in a medical profession this could give you some leverage in a field like medical negligence.
2. Upgrade your training.
You don’t necessarily need a qualification to enter the legal sector, depending on the role that you’re looking to pursue. However, it can be helpful and will be necessary for some jobs. As a solicitor, for example you’ll need a degree, an LPC and then to have completed a training contract. If you’re looking to be a paralegal it may be beneficial to have a specific qualification. Find out what you need for the roles you’re interested in and then identify the training programmes that will allow you to meet minimum requirements.
3. Know whether you’re the right fit.
Law can be a challenging profession and not everyone thrives in it. It’s important to make sure you understand your strengths and weaknesses, and whether these are a good fit with the roles that you’re interested in. Be honest about who you are and what you want from your life – do you cope well under pressure, are you willing to put in long hours and are you able to handle a sizeable workload?
4. Make the right choice of role.
It’s really important to identify the job you want to do in law before you put the time and effort into working towards it. Start by researching everything that’s available and narrow down your options based on the information that you find. It can be useful to speak to those already doing the job to get a true perspective on the reality of it.
5. Make sure you’re up to date with the right technology.
From research, to deal management and compliance, the legal sector is becoming increasingly reliant on technology so it’s important that you have the skills and abilities to cope.
6. Network as much as you can.
As with any profession, it’s as much about who you know as what you know. Great networking skills will not only ensure that you hear about job opportunities first but that your name is already familiar to the people who might have a hand in helping you get the job.
7. Find a mentor.
If you’re able to find a mentor who is already in the position you’d like to get to this can be invaluable. They will be able to help you identify opportunities to get ahead and may be able to assist with essential advice and contacts.
8. Apply for job shadowing or an internship.
Not only will you be able to see the reality of the job that you’re looking to do but work shadowing will also enable you to make an impression within the firm where you’d like to work and to start making key contacts.
It can take hard work and dedication to get a role in the legal sector but there are lots of simple ways to get a career like this off the ground.