Articles From the Team

Is it time Plan B became your Plan A?

Many moons ago I graduated with a BA and instantly regretted not completing a law degree. I’d picked up a few law electives during my course and really enjoyed the theory of law. I went down the path of completing the GDL and began applying for training contracts, but it was the height of the recession. I had a few assessment days, but many rejection letters – some from firms I couldn’t even remember applying to! At the time I didn’t fully understand the options open to me and having spent £1000s on my education I didn’t feel I could afford to take a non-qualified role to work my way up in a law firm. My Plan B was to join the military, but I don’t think this is for everyone!

I see a lot of candidates who have moved from firm to firm simultaneously approaching firms for training contracts and holding out for that golden ticket. These moves are often incited by a lack of progression or being unsatisfied with the level of remuneration. I do appreciate these concerns, but don’t be hasty! A recruiter can discuss with you the prospects available at different firms, looking at ways you can develop your career and advising on the best firms to suit your needs.

The legal job market is evolving though and there are so many options for legal professionals planning their career. A number of our clients at BCL Legal are even developing apprenticeship programmes which will enrol potential solicitors from school onto a seven year programme. This may catch on, it may not. However, the fact is that as a personal injury professional there are few areas that will demand the traditional qualifying route. If you are interested in litigation, insurance, high value cases, your development is not capped as it would be in other disciplines. CILEx and FILEx membership are available as is cross-qualifying post-LPC. These options remove the requirement to complete a training contract with seats in areas you will never work in again. The exception to this at the moment is clinical negligence and working for some panel firms where there are very few opportunities to handle a caseload, but as further Jackson reforms are due to incorporate medical matters this could also change. Litigation experience is key and breaking that barrier from pre-litigated matters to litigated. This is the experience that will take you into the next salary banding; training contract or no training contract.

So, as that time of year comes around again, training contract applications have closed and you may well be feeling dis-heartened if you haven’t secured yours. Is it time to discuss plan B?

For more information contact BCL Legal.

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