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Litigator turn management trainee...?

Question :

Dear Doctor

I'm a qualified solicitor practising law for four years. I'm lucky enough to be with one of the best international law firms but the longer I'm in the law the more certain I am that it's not right for me.

In short, I'm looking for a career change at 30 - with no experience in anything other than law (though I do hope whatever transferable skills there are will be taken into account!).  I stumbled upon these management training programmes offered to fresh grads and wonder what are the chances that they would consider me?

Thanks so much.

Posted by bluebluejay on Tuesday, 30 Oct 2012

Comments :


Posted Tuesday 27th November 2012 09:11:00 PM


Agreed with Christopher Aukland. It may be good to read the book "The Monk who Sold His Ferrari" by Robin Sharma. He started as a lawyer but it was not what he wanted after some introspection.

Christopher Aukland - Career Doctor

Posted Wednesday 7th November 2012 09:39:00 PM


The good news is that it is definitely possible to change careers and it sounds like you have some excellent experience. However, I recommend you do a great deal of research and think very carefully about your next career move before making any hasty decisions as it sounds like you have an excellent role in a good organisation. I recommend thinking about what you like/dislike about your current job and identify if, rather than taking the step of re-starting your career, it is possible to change roles, industry focus or company. Perhaps there is an opportunity to do some further study to assist you with securing a role that aligns with your long term goals. You must also consider one of the biggest stumbling blocks that lawyers looking to change career paths come across – the financial rewards outside of the legal profession are significantly lower and the potential pay cut moving away from the legal industry would in the short term be substantial. If you remain convinced that you wish to change careers then you need to first identify what you want to do and how you are going to get there. You mention an interest in management trainee programmes which is certainly a possibility, but you need to work out in which industry and ask yourself where would the trainee programme take you and what is the career track? To get an understanding of this, speak to your peer group, industry professionals and recruitment consultants, attend careers fairs and generally do as much research as possible. As a general rule, management trainee schemes are designed for recent graduates and although there should be no reason why you shouldn’t be considered, realistically you would need to convince hiring managers of your commitment to the industry and willingness to accept lower pay. It’s also likely that many employers hiring at this level would consider you overqualified so networking is very important; when a lawyer successfully makes a change into a new industry it is often through their own direct contacts or network. Examples of the more 'conventional' changes lawyers make include a corporate finance lawyer moving into a front office IBD role or taking on a quasi legal/business related role with an in-house corporate, however these positions would typically require lawyers with mid level seniority and at least 5 to 6 PQE. Other options for a lawyer could be a business development role, usually within or related to the legal industry, a Learning & Development position, legal editorial, or part time teaching at an educational institution. Another option could be to pursue a career in recruitment where knowledge of the legal industry and a network of contacts is considered a major benefit. However, before taking any steps you must first decide what it is you wish to do long term and then plan how to make it happen. Best of luck!

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