Tuesday, August 13, 2013

What candidates need to know about jobs in the legal industry

Brought to you by our friends at Roberts Jackson Solicitors

Whether you are looking to start a legal career or switch roles after working in the industry for a few years, having a clear understanding of what law firms look for as they recruit can help you to land the right job role in the right organisation.

What entry level jobs are most available?
Paralegal and administrative training roles are the most needed and popular within the industry.
Legal administrator positions are ideal for those looking to start careers in law. The roles allow you to build up experience in the field, while giving you the opportunity to learn and develop as you support other staff.
Meanwhile, paralegal roles are best if you already have relevant legal education and an understanding of the law and legal system. Some firms won't necessarily require any qualifications, while many do expect candidates to have previous experience working in a law firm. Top salaries for paralegals can reach up to £70,000, so it is a strong legal career path to consider.

Do many legal firms offer career progression?

Legal firms tend to offer development programs and promotions to committed, hardworking professionals, with seniority, partnerships and management positions available. There are often also training opportunities for administrative staff, allowing you to move up to a fee earner role once you have built up the knowledge and skills required.

Ongoing in-house training can sometimes be available to all staff at law firms so that you are able to keep up-to-date with legislation. This can help you to maintain a strong level of legal knowledge, which can prove useful as you move up the career ladder.

Are there plenty of non-entry level vacancies?

During periods of expansion, law firms not only want to hire entry level roles but also look out for lateral hires.

In light of recent legal changes such as LAPSO, where a number of organisations have closed down, there are an increased number of RTA and PI lawyers looking to retrain. With excellent transferable skills accompanied by a strong level of education and experience, growing law firms will often look to make these lateral hires and also recruit professionals with relevant legal knowledge.

What skills are the most valuable to legal firms?

Law firms are businesses, so you should always look to showcase your business acumen during interviews. Being professional and responsible is also key, while a good dose of common sense is essential.
Many organisations focus on a specific area of law, so will always look for candidates with a strong level of knowledge or interest in that field, accompanied by a willingness to learn. Sophie Clark, head of PR at Roberts Jackson, said: "As Roberts Jackson specialises in the niche areas of industrial disease and clinical negligence, we tend to look for candidates with relevant experience or who have studied appropriate electives during university in order to gauge whether or not an applicant is genuinely enthused by our legal area."

Starting your job search
With this valuable insight into what to expect from the legal jobs market as well as the skills, experience and knowledge required from candidates, you can start an informed search for a job in the legal sector. Now, it is imperative that you update your CV and think carefully about your interview techniques to help you land any strong roles that you unearth during your jobs search.

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