Career Advice Career Guidance and Counselling

Think hard before you leave the law

Published on Friday, 31 May 2013

I am a qualified solicitor who has practised for four years and works for one of the best international firms. But the longer I stay in law, the more sure I am it's not for me. I learned of management training programmes for fresh graduates. Will they consider me? bluebluejay

I recommend you do a great deal of research and think very carefully before making any hasty decisions, as it sounds like you have an excellent role in a good company. Think about what you like or dislike about your current job and identify whether you can change roles, industry focus or company. Do research to secure a role that aligns with your long-term goals.

Remember, financial rewards outside the legal profession are significantly lower, and the potential pay cut would in the short term be substantial.

What is the career track for the management trainee programme? Speak to peers, industry professionals and recruitment consultants, attend careers fairs and do more research. Realistically, you need to convince hiring managers of your commitment and willingness to accept lower pay.

Lawyers often make a successful change through their own contacts or networking, such as a corporate finance lawyer taking a front-office IBD or a quasi-legal or business-related role in an in-house corporate. Other options may be a business development role, usually within or related to the legal industry, a learning and development position, legal editorial or part-time teaching.

Another option is recruitment, where knowledge of the legal industry, and a network of contacts, is a major plus. Before taking steps, you must decide what it is you wish to do long term, and then plan how to make it happen.

Christopher Aukland is regional director of Michael Page and Page Personnel in Hong Kong. Michael Page and Page Personnel are part of PageGroup, one of the world’s leading recruitment companies, with operations in 164 offices in 34 countries worldwide.