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Don’t be afraid to compromise

Some of you may well be avid viewers of the Channel 4 show Location, Location, Location. Others, like me, will no doubt have the programme forced upon by your other half or friends but, whilst watching yet any other episode recently it occurred to me that one of the underlying themes is that of compromise.

When I was first venturing onto the property market all those years ago a friend of mine, who was in the late summer of his life, said that “unless you have the money to buy the land and then employ an architect to design you’re house, you’ll always have to compromise on something”. This has resonated with me spectacularly in the first few weeks of the year whilst speaking with a number of candidates, in particular trainee solicitors, most of whom will qualify imminently. On more than one occasion I’ve discussed with candidates that initially in your career, you’ll have to compromise on something.

Those NQ’s have aspirations to move into a well paid role with a specific firm working on good quality subject matter alongside experienced specialists in their sector to further their long term career objectives. And why not? It’s imperative to have a goal; something to work towards and to keep you motivated. Sadly, like everything in life, nothing’s ever that easy! When your career is in its infancy then the chance of landing the perfect role is slim meaning that you will almost certainly have to compromise on something.

For example, I’ve spoken to candidates who want to move into the clinical negligence sector but have little or no experience of this. This does not categorically mean that such a move cannot be made. It just means that it will take careful planning and perhaps two to three years of enhancing your skillset in order to successfully make the move. Candidates who’ve come from a personal injury background should give very careful consideration to moving onto, say, the catastrophic injury area. In doing so they will gain exposure to technically challenging and complex personal injuries to include, for instance, brain injuries, spinal injuries or amputations with the aim of working on cases with values of £100,000 plus. The benefit? They gain exposure to the type of work mentioned, they hone their skills dealing with expert evidence and become proficient in dealing with complex legal matters such as limitation, dates of knowledge and/or constructive knowledge, as well as issues of causation and breach thereof. After all, a £500,000+ brain injury is still, on the face of it, just that regardless of whether the cause of action emanates from an accident at work of by the negligence of a surgeon. The result? A much more attractive candidate to a prospective clinical negligence employer X amount of years down the line. The obvious compromise of this route is spending a relatively short amount of time practicing an area of law that might not be your first choice to ultimately make the transition to a related sector in which you see your long term future in.

Conversely, if you aren’t being retained on qualification, don’t want to remain with your present firm or aren’t entirely happy with the NQ package on offer, be realistic about your priorities. Can you trade off a role with a new firm paying a higher than expected salary but with a longer commute? Are you happy earning a higher than average salary to work on poor quality work, thus meaning that in years to come your peers, who may have initially earned less than you, now have a more attractive level of experience? Would you work with a firm that’s not your first choice in order to be exposed to technically challenging work? Would you switch from claimant work to defendant work in order to work alongside a renowned specialist in a particular sector?

As with everything, there will always be a compromise when your career is in its infancy. As long as you are clear on where you see yourself in 3, 5 and 10 years time, how you get there, whom you work for and what you earn doing it are factors that may well need to be compromised on in order to achieve your ultimate goal. Remember this when considering the options put to you by a specialist expert recruiter. Compromise now and benefit later.

For more information please contact Matt Robinson or visit our website BCL Legal.

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