Something happened to me the other day which hasn’t happened for some time. No, not that. An acquaintance approached me in the gym and after the usual pleasantries had been exchanged he said “You’re a lawyer aren’t you?’” It was a loaded question and my response “‘technically yes, but I haven’t practised as a lawyer for some time” didn’t act as the deterrent I was hoping it would. I heard a long winded account about a friend of a friend who had mistakenly consumed more alcohol before driving than he’d intended, driven down a one way street the wrong way and upon being stopped by a police officer, was a teeny bit abusive. At the end of this woeful tale, my acquaintance said “so, what can he do to get off?”
This episode was irritating on several levels: Firstly, my gym session was interrupted and whilst I may not be a professional athlete by any stretch of the imagination, I do have my own goals and PBs to strive for which won’t be achieved if I am forced into conversation during critical cardio intensive sessions. Secondly, why does everyone think that if you are a lawyer, you know everything law related from traffic offences to divorce?
That got me thinking about other misconceptions about lawyers. The one that used to annoy me when I was practising was that all lawyers are loaded. Maybe those that work in the City doing corporate finance for US and magic circle firms, but for most of us, not so. And for some of us, shopping in Ted Baker happened once in a blue moon and even then we would be forced to eat beans on toast for the rest of the month until pay day.
Then there’s that old chestnut that we all went to public school, learnt latin and go round saying “righto, golly gosh and yah.’ Err, well actually I did go to public school and I learnt latin but the rest is just utter tosh darrrhling! Most lawyers got to where they are because they are academically able and put in a lot of hard work!
It’s not just lawyers who are judged unfairly. There are many misconceptions about legal recruitment consultants too. Some people might think that we’d sell our own grandmothers to make a fee. Then there’s the misconception that once we get our greasy little mitts on a CV we bombard every potential employer we can think of (including the CV owner’s own employer) with or without their consent.
Speaking as a recruiter at BCL Legal, this is certainly not how we operate. Our core principles are confidentiality, integrity and professionalism and we stick by those principles. The most important thing for us is to build long lasting relationships with our clients and candidates and the way to do that is to provide a high quality, consultative, professional service ensuring that lawyers make a move for the right reasons and secure new jobs that fit with what they are looking to achieve in their new role. Equally, we want our clients to take on lawyers that fit their needs and will fit in with their culture and style.
I could go on ad infinitum but best get on with some work. Carpe diem! (That means seize the day for you non latin speaking plebs).
For more information please contact Georgina Inson or visit our website BCL Legal.