Articles From the Team

Last Chance U, Extreme Recruitment Strategies and Lawyers

Imagine my delight as I was flicking through Netflix the other night as I prepared myself for another round of “Seen it, seen it, don’t think I fit their demographic, seen it, how much do we pay for this…?” and so on, when up popped Season Two of “Last Chance U”. In case you are unfamiliar with the show, “Last Chance U” is a documentary series charting the ups and downs of East Mississippi Community College’s Football team (of the American variety). The show has a fascinating array of characters, from Head Coach Buddy Stephens (a man currently wrestling with the conflict between his deep Christian faith and his predilection for bad language) and the super fan who voices his emotions at games by pretending to be a lion. The show also provides a tremendous insight into a part of America and American life we see little of on our screens. It also amazes with just how much time, money and resource a small rural college can plough into its sports programme.

Now, what is truly remarkable about East Mississippi Community College (hereafter referred to as EMCC) is that despite being based in a town called Scooba (population 700), is that they have won the National Junior College Football Championships 3 times in the last 6 years. Much of this success is down to the College’s innovative recruitment policy.

EMCC have a deliberate and proactive strategy of recruiting players who have been expelled from or thrown out of mainstream University football programmes for offences including drug abuse, robbery and violent assault. The players are almost exclusively from underprivileged backgrounds and struggle academically – football, and the prospect of a professional career at the end of college, offers them a way out of a future of economic disadvantage. EMCC gives them a chance to re align their lives, get back on track and re-sign in a year or two for a University programme. From there, a lucrative future in the NFL could materialise. As such, EMCC really does represent the last chance for these young men.

The players get a second chance, EMCC get ridiculously good players whom they mould into a team. As recruitment strategies go, it’s extreme, it’s controversial (the College is almost universally despised by the rest of the Junior College footballing community) and it’s very, very effective. EMCC routinely destroy their opponents in the most ruthless of fashion. They represent an incredible force.

So what’s the link? Well, whilst we at BCL are not necessarily interested in recruiting American college footballers who have committed a felony, we are interested in lawyers who may be coming to the realisation that a career in the Law is possibly not for them. I’d hate to think of a career at BCL legal being anyone’s last chance, but I feel very positive that we can provide a frustrated lawyer with a superb second chance.

There are also links in how EMCC and BCL engage with people. We represent very different environments and very different people, but we both train and coach people well; we both provide an environment where excellence is encouraged; both have strong leadership; both have a deep commitment to the team cause and a strong work ethic. We’re just not quite as shouty or macho as EMCC, and you don’t have to wear spandex sports gear to work!

In conclusion, if you are a Lawyer who is perhaps nearing qualification or looking at another year’s PQE racking up and you still feel unfulfilled by the Law, give me a call or drop me a line to discuss how we might provide you with a great second career– we have a proud track record in helping people transition from the Law to recruitment, where they feel happier, healthier, wealthier and glad they took their second chance.

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