Queens Court, 24 Queen Street, Manchester, M2 5HX
- Specialism: Legal
- Sector: Public Sector
- Roles: Locum, fixed-term and permanent
- Location: London and Kent
Type a day in the life of sellick from Alexis Aarons
Last night, I presented to the Society of Asian Lawyers Law students from City, University of London on legal career options beyond university. We covered areas such as alternative legal sectors to the traditional Law firm, or Barrister chambers, as well as discussing other routes to take using a legal degree, out of the legal sector altogether. Areas such as the civil service, retail graduate schemes, banking and accounting graduate schemes, and the Police all welcome law graduates looking for an alternative career. The session ended with a Q&A and here are the questions and answers that came up. Q: What if I don’t have experience when I am applying for roles? A: You can and need to get some. Call your local authority or local high street solicitors practice and ask for a week of work experience in the legal team as you are a law student who would benefit. Send a letter in if needed. Eventually someone will always reply and that experience will be invaluable on your CV. Q: Apart from work experience how else can you stand out? A: Great question! Voluntary experience and charity work will always go down well. It will show you are a diverse and hardworking individual as you have given up your own time for the benefit of others. It highlights an ability to converse at different levels and with different audiences. These skills along with a 2:1 could be more valuable than a stand-alone first class honours degree, when it comes to employability. Q: Do you think the lawyers working in legal government roles enjoy a better work life balance than those in magic circle firm? A: Yes! Magic circle and top tier firms are very high-pressured roles which is why you are remunerated extremely well. It can be unsustainable for some and lawyers can suffer from burn out. In other legal sectors, particularly public sector legal teams, lawyers are often given time back for overtime worked and not called in their personal time. Q: Do agencies recruit paralegals? A: Yes. To be considered paralegal applicants usually need to demonstrate that along with a legal degree, and/or an LPC, they have work experience in an office environment. Even if that experience has been on a voluntary basis they will be considered. Q: What is your opinion on the role of a Chartered Legal Executive? A: Many clients are keen to get a Legal Executive on their team. Often when candidates have taken the CILEX route they have spent 6 years working in a legal setting alongside evening studies whilst qualifying and which is more favourable to some clients than a NQ Solicitor, with often only 2 years of ‘hands on’ legal experience. Q: Where do you hear about in-house legal roles? A: Often clients use agencies for harder to fill or more senior roles but for entry level they often post job information on LinkedIn. Create a profile on the site and subscribe to the job alerts on there and other job boards such as Law Gazette jobs, Totally Legal and Indeed. Once you are setup the profile of jobs you have requested will be emailed to you. Another tip would be to use the Law Society company search function and look at solicitors in the companies you would be keen to work in. You can then search and link in directly with those contacts. Q: What are good ways to network? A: LinkedIn is excellent! I recommend you create a strong profile and join some relevant groups so you can see and hear updates. Connect with relevant individuals and before you know it you are networking! Q: What would you discuss when networking? A: In my experience one topic people enjoy talking about it is themselves. Ask them some questions asking for their experience or opinion. Why did you choose the law? What would you change if you could? What would you ask if you were me? You will open up individuals and learn a lot from the answers. Q: How much do lawyers earn? A: I think there is a real lack of information out there and although magic circle and top tier firms can offer outstanding remuneration I would say the average ranges are: Trainee Solicitor - £24k - £27k NQ Solicitor - £30k - £40k 2 – 10 years PQE - £40k - £70k 10 years+ - £70k+ My thanks go to Sam Harris-Jones, Antonia Clark, of City, University of London, and also thanks to Ranjit Sond, President of Society of Asian Lawyers, for introducing me to this motivated, and ambitious group of Law students. Please feel free to email me with any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Coronavirus panic has gripped the nation and whether this be from the news or social media, you will be acutely aware that every other post is about the virus and its spread across the world. Although the fear of the global pandemic – which we know very little about – should be taken seriously, the influx of anxiety and stress can have a negative impact on all our mental health. Many businesses have also been forced to ask employees to work from home which has added another level of stress to the situation for many people, and we need to be aware of how we can handle this and support people where possible. Working from home definitely has its perks, but it also requires a few adjustments and can take some getting used to if you have never done it before. Generally, the legal sector lends itself well to remote working, but it can be quite a solitary job to do. It is therefore hugely important that lawyers – and everyone else that find themselves currently working from home to find ways to keep themselves motivated, focused and productive; particularly with children, TV, partners and even seeing jobs that need doing around the house! But don’t worry, take a look at my top tips below: Maintain a structured routine Keep your routine as normal as you can, this will help you stay in control during times of uncertainty. It is important to go to bed and wake up as usual, plus taking the time to do things which you enjoy. Why not use the time you would use commuting to go out for an early morning walk/run? I would strongly advise doing this, especially now we have hit the spring mornings and it acts as a psychological boost and keeps your positive energy up for the day. Set clear boundaries between work and play When you are working from home it can be difficult to divide when you are working, and you are out of hours. It is important to set realistic work-life boundaries. TIP – Stick to your daily schedule! Get up, get dressed, eat and drink plenty of water, and most importantly take breaks. You might be tempted to lounge around on the couch or stay in bed with your laptop to work, but this is something you must avoid! Make sure that you build a routine and have a dedicated place where you can work. This will also help you mentally, as it will separate work from your personal life. Take turns to look after your children – and give someone a break Inevitably, you are going to get distracted. If you and your partner are working from home whilst your kids are off school, it can be like a second job trying to entertain them. It is important to take turns on who is on ‘look out’. If you don’t have a partner, is there anybody else who can help with caring for your children whilst you are working? Check in regularly During this time, be mindful of your communication – remember and remind others that we are all in this together! Make time to check in with your family, friends and colleagues via video / phone call. This will help to maintain your daily routines and will avoid you feeling really isolated. Maximise productivity With employees being forced to work from home, it is essential that you try and carry on your work as usual. Pay attention to the time that you would usually be commuting to and from the office, it is thought that this is the time you are most efficient. Identify your most productive times of the day and use these times to tackle the important tasks. For many legal professionals, the work involves drafting of documents and occasional telephone calls, therefore take advantage of the quiet time to concentrate and analyse! It has been highlighted that some courts across the country are postponing hearings, therefore it is important to promote remote court appearances/conference calls instead, where possible. The pandemic has led a lot of questions, but it is important to remember that we cannot control the circumstances of life, but we can change how we choose to see them. Most businesses remain functioning as ‘business as usual’ with only a few limitations to what they can do. Remember to stay in touch with the people you usually speak to throughout the week and stick to a daily routine to keep your mind active and to remain motivated. If you are stuck at home and struggling to stay motivated, give me a call. I would be more than happy to have a chat with you. Alternatively, utilise your time wisely. Check out our latest jobs or have a look at our blogs for the latest goings on in the legal sector.
Are you currently looking for a newly qualified (NQ) position but struggling to find a role that matches to your needs and skillset? We spoke to three qualified legal professionals to find out how they secured their NQ roles, why they chose their current firm, and get their views on what to look for in a legal recruiter. Securing an NQ position can often be a challenging and lengthy process for legal professionals. It can often be difficult to find the right firm, choose a recruiter that will listen and find the perfect role. I speak with candidates that are going through the process every day, and each has their own story to tell. I recently sat down with three legal professionals to find out how they secured their NQ positions and to find out how their experience was dealing with Sellick Partnership throughout the process. What were the first steps you took when beginning your search for an NQ position? Shehnaz Rahman Commercial Property Solicitor at Boyes Turner LLP said: The first and most important aspect of securing an NQ position in my opinion is getting your CV up to scratch, so I attended several CV clinics and spent time getting this ready for applying to roles. I then changed my LinkedIn status to let recruiters know I was open to vacancies and started looking for a recruiter that could help with my search. Rosie Deller, Family Solicitor at Rayden Solicitors said: Firstly, I spoke with a previous trainee from my old firm about the NQ process and how to structure CVs. Getting advice from someone that has been through the process is very helpful. After this I redrafted my CV in-line with a precedent received from an NQ information evening. Once I knew my CV was good enough I started having initial conversations with a couple of recruiters – ones that specialised in the areas I wanted work. Laura Jeal, Chartered Legal Executive at Doyle Clayton Solicitors said: I started by updating my CV, to ensure it reflected the diverse range of skills I had gained as a trainee. I had a vague awareness of other firms in the local area but used the Legal 500 to give myself a general idea of the types of firms I wanted to aim for. I also kept an eye on the legal job sites for NQ vacancies and followed up with any recruiters who contacted me about NQ roles. How did you decide what area of law to qualify into? How soon did you know? Shehnaz said: Before I started my training contract I had an interest in property law but wasn’t sure whether to specialise in commercial or residential. During my training contract I had experience in both and enjoyed commercial property the most. That is why it is important to try and gain as much exposure as possible while training as it will really help make your final decision. Rosie said: During my training contract there were two main practice areas – property and family. Personally, I found property incredibly dry and boring, but family law very interesting. I spoke with a couple of family solicitors that I knew about the profession and what it is like once qualified and it only reconfirmed my decision that family law was the right area for me. Laura said: I’ve wanted to work in employment law ever since I started studying. I worked in a call centre before I began my studies and every email from HR had me questioning whether what they were doing was above board (I now know it was, for the record). Since working in an employment law environment, it has underlined its appeal to me, as it has the perfect mix between contentious and non-contentious work. If you could go back in time, what do you now know that you wish you had known at the start of the process? Shehnaz said: When I first started looking for an NQ role I instructed three recruitment agencies, which was completely unnecessary. I think the best approach is to have initial chats with various recruiters to get an understanding of what they have to offer and whether there is a connection between you and the recruiter, if you like them, then instruct them. I found some recruiters pushy and tried to pressure me to interview with firms which were (a) not in my desired specialism (b) not in my desired location. My advice would be to find a recruiter that has your best interests in mind and stick with them. I also started my search in my final seat, however I would suggest starting your search earlier. Rosie said: Do not panic. The market for NQ solicitors was stagnant when I first started looking, and everyone’s situation is very different, so don’t get down about it. For example, my friend had found a suitable role about six months before he was due to qualify, which was very lucky. I decided early on that I did not want to stay at the firm I was training at and the lack of opportunities when I first started looking did not fill me with much hope that I would be able to move roles. Also, do not accept too many approaches from recruiters on LinkedIn. At the start I accepted any recruiter that wanted to connect with me. Rather than simply just accept, I should have researched into them and the company to determine whether they would be the right fit to assist me. I probably wasted more time having initial conversations with other recruiters who were not right to assist me. Laura said: Be patient with your search! Firms aren’t always hiring, and your dream firm may be just around the corner if you’re willing to wait. What attracted you to the firm you are working at? Shehnaz said: Boyes Turner has an extremely strong reputation in Reading and a lot of people from my training firm had moved there, so it was clearly doing something right! It also has an impressive line-up of developer clients. Having now worked here for almost a year, I can certainly say it was the best move/decision I made. It is extremely friendly, transparent and everyone is very supportive. The Partners here are keen to support and develop your knowledge and train you up. Rosie said: Rayden Solicitors is a highly respected and well-ranked law firm. I spoke with several family solicitors in London and they had all mentioned how great Rayden Solicitors was and that I would be happy and be able to progress with them. I had two offers from two firms on the table and decided to take Rayden’s which was a slightly lower salary due to the reputation and career progression that they could offer. Laura said: There were several factors. Firstly, my previous boss and trainee supervisor both came from Doyle Clayton. I respected both as incredible lawyers and knew that was in part because of the training and support they had received at my firm. In addition, Doyle Clayton are ranked as a tier one firm for employment law for the region, which to me means their advice is valued, and they have a diverse range of clients. When I interviewed there, I felt immediately at home and knew it was where I wanted to work. Why did you decide to choose Sellick Partnership to assist you with the search? Shehnaz said: Faith was the first person to contact me on LinkedIn, before I even started looking for NQ positions. Many recruiters sent generic messages to me, however Faith clearly did her research and her initial message was personal to my experience and location. Faith is extremely diligent and hardworking. In comparison to other recruiters out there, she is one of the best recruiters I have come across. Interview prep and understanding the firm you will interview for, are some of the main concerns NQs have. Faith provided extensive guidance on these, so you feel confident when going into the interview. The NQ recruitment market is highly competitive, so you need a recruiter who is proactive and persevering, and Faith can certainly deliver that. Rosie said: After having an initial chat with you, you completely understood my position and the type of role that I wanted. Other recruiters that I spoke with didn’t really listen to the practice area of law and location that I wanted and continued to press me to consider other roles that weren’t suitable. The market after I first spoke to you was stagnant and there was not a lot of vacancies. Rather than send these to me to try and make me consider them in order to place me as quickly as possible, you waited for the right opportunities. Laura said: Faith and I were already connected, and she posted on LinkedIn to say she was keen to speak to NQs in all areas. I arranged a phone call with Faith and we discussed what I was looking for. I knew from the first call that this would be a useful relationship to have. Faith wasn’t just putting me forward for any old vacancy – she considered the type of firms I was looking at, and was able to talk knowledgeably about each firm, their ethos and way of working. I never received anything less than a personal service. No other recruiter could compare. Next steps If you are about to finish your training contract and are looking for an NQ position they get in touch, Faith would be delighted to work with you to find your perfect role, or for further advice you can check out Faith’s blog here. Alternatively, you can check out our latest live legal jobs here.