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Decades of change – reflecting on legal careers

by Hannah Cottam | 28 May 2015

Ten years ago Marianne Sellick and I decided to set up Sellick Partnership Legal. With more women becoming lawyers (in total the last decade saw a rise of 80% according to the Law Society), we saw a necessity for a quality base of locum solicitors, who would be essential for businesses and public sector organisations, that were already understanding the increased need for flexible working and maternity cover for a more gender balanced workforce.

Ten years later and our team now consists of two offices in Manchester and Leeds, 20 legal consultant specialists, a nationwide presence in the provision of locum solicitors to private practice and public sector, as well as a strong reputation in the appointment of permanent solicitors in the North West and North East.

As I reflect on the last ten years, I can see how much the profession has changed in this time. Working with solicitors every day and advising them on their careers, not only can I see how the profession has adapted in terms of greater flexibility with working - whether that be with home working or compressed hours - but also in terms of modernising the legal process and the expectation of what being a lawyer actually means. 

But no matter how much change I see, I continue to be in admiration of this most exciting of careers. From the knowledge, commitment and continued development that is required to practice, to the impact that this job has. Legal professionals have the ability to change society, to ensure the safety of our workforces, to guarantee fairness for the vulnerable and most significantly to change history.

As I thought more about this, I realised that conducting research into how the profession has changed over the last three decades would be of great interest to many, as would a reflection on those legal precedents that have most affected the work they undertake. After all, the recruitment business is unrecognisable from the businesses I started working in during the 90s, so how has one of the oldest professions changed in this time?

This week we'll be publishing a series of articles which will reflect on the last 30 years. We'll be interviewing solicitors who've been practicing for 20+ years, as well as those newer to the profession, to get their take on routes to qualification, the cases that made the biggest impact and how the role of solicitor and the expectations upon them have changed.

We start tomorrow looking back to the 1990s - why not make sure you are one of the first to read this, follow our LinkedIn company page. Alternatively, you can access our exclusive eBook which explores the key milestones in the legal landscape here.