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I entered the legal profession in 2003 in the midst of a property boom, becoming a solicitor in 2005. I began my training in a small firm close to home at what happened to be the beginning of a large growth period for them. In my first couple of years with the firm staffing levels had increased by ten times as had instruction levels, we were cashing in on the property boom. Instruction levels continued to grow and in 2006 I moved with the firm to a new office in London, it was an exciting time to be involved in property. When the global economic crisis hit, the firm’s instructions plummeted and the firm moved its focus to banking and finance litigation however I didn’t feel that this was an area of law that I enjoyed and having spent a good six years living the work hard/play hard lifestyle I decided to leave the UK for Australia. I spent one of the best years of my life in Australia working and travelling and begrudgingly returned to the UK having decided, in the end, that it was just too far away from home. I spent a final care free month travelling around Thailand before arriving back on UK soil earlier this year…
What I found when I began my job hunt back in the UK was that the glory days in property were well and truly over. Solicitor salaries had been pushed right down and although there seemed plenty of opportunities none of the jobs that I was offered really excited me. One of the most enjoyable parts of being a soilcitor had been my heavy involvement in networking and marketing. I would spend my weekends delivering seminars at property events throughout the UK from London up to Edinburgh and across to Dublin and enjoyed the client contact and the buzz of the atmosphere.
I first approached BCL Legal to find me a job within residential property and having looked at my CV and taking into account my experience of networking and marketing and also the sales experience I had gained in Australia they suggested I consider a career in legal recruitment. I had had plenty of dealings with recruitment companies in my previous job and had always found them slightly annoying however I had seen how lucrative the business was and I therefore gave the matter some serious thought.
I didn’t want to waste my knowledge of the law and the legal market so the more I gave the option of becoming a recruitment consultant some serious consideration the more I thought that it could be the perfect alternative. It allowed me to utilise my knowledge of the market whilst offering me an exciting and rewarding alternative to being a solicitor and facing a stack load of files and post every day. I spoke to a number of recruitment consultants at BCL Legal who were former solicitors and none had any regrets about giving up law to start new careers as legal recruitment consultants, in fact it was quite the opposite; they would never go back!
The working day of a recruitment consultant is far less structured than that of a solicitor, you have to work quickly and smartly and you also have to work hard building up your relationships with both your candidates and clients but there is a real emphasis on rewarding you for results so it is a very lucrative career for those that are willing to work hard. It is a real advantage in legal recruitment to have had a career as a solicitor; you understand the legal jargon, you know the firms that you are recruiting into and you can appreciate matters from the candidate’s perspective too.
I would recommend it as a great alternative to any solicitors out there who are considering a change of career. I read an article recently that described becoming a legal recruitment consultant as a ‘little like joining the dark side,’ I can see where they were coming from but would say that it is a little more fun on this side…