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Type a day in the life of sellick from Elizabeth Farry
Asking for help in the workplace can be daunting, and it is something very few of us want to do. As people climb the career ladder, many think that asking for help at work shows a sign of weakness, and perhaps a lack of confidence in your position, however this could not be further than the truth. Asking your colleagues or manager for help can build relationships and even lead to career progression. In this blog, Manager Laura Smith looks at the best way to recognise when you need help and offers her advice on how to seek help in the workplace. I speak with candidates that are looking for their next legal job on a day-to-day basis and three reasons I am often given for why they are looking for a new role include having an unmanageable workload, being given work outside of their area of law or feeling like they cannot get to grips with a new IT system. Each of these scenarios can make somebody feel uncomfortable, and support is needed to ensure they are able to work. How to recognise when you may need to ask for help Many candidates I speak with choose not to raise concerns or ask for help from their line manager as they feel that it will come across that they are not able to cope with their role. This should not be the case and employees should be encouraged to seek help. If you are feeling overwhelmed at work, it is a good idea to pinpoint the problem that you are experiencing. This will ensure you are in control of the situation, and that you are in the best possible position to articulate your issues to a manager or colleague. If you have a lot of work on and are not able to meet the deadlines, this is a clear sign that you may need to ask for help. It could be that you just need to ask for a deadline extension or that you need some extra support in order to meet the deadline. The sooner you discuss this with your manager or colleagues, the better. This way you can manage expectations and ensure you deliver the work within a reasonable amount of time. If you are new to a role, and need some additional help on understanding something, make sure you ask for help sooner rather than later. It’s completely understandable to not know everything when you first start with a new business, so ensure you have all the knowledge available in order for you to effectively complete your work. How to ask for help effectively If you are worried that by asking for help you will look as though you are unable to cope with your work, take time to think about how you word it to your manager, and also a plan for how they can help. If you can identify where and how help could be given, this will show your manager that although you need help, you are still in control and you have thought about the situation thoroughly first. Scheduling a meeting with your manager will ensure that you have enough time to discuss everything in detail, and will show that you have thought everything through. Asking for help can assist in building relationships, improve health and wellbeing in the workplace, increase productivity and provide an opportunity to learn and expand skills. The benefits of accepting you need help and seeking this out within the workplace has so many potentially positive outcomes. What next? If you would like more advice on dealing with a situation in work, please feel free to contact me by emailing email@example.com, or if you are unhappy in work and would like to discuss what opportunities we currently have, please check out our latest legal jobs.
Are you a public sector lawyer and wondering what skills you should be concentrating on in order to be a success in the 21st Century? Chelsey Newsom, Manager and legal recruitment expert gives us some insight into the skills her clients often look for in local government lawyers. She offers her advice on what skills clients should be looking for in candidates, what skills candidates should be developing and how local government can ensure they are attracting and retaining the best legal talent on the market. The legal recruitment market is constantly evolving which can be challenging for candidates trying to keep up. As a result the role of a lawyer in any sector is becoming increasingly difficult and my legal clients are constantly looking for candidates with niche skillsets that have relevant and adaptable soft skills. As we move further into the 21st century this need will only grow, and lawyers will need to ensure their skills and knowledge are up-to-date. In this blog I look at some of the skills that are currently in highest demand, and how I think the role of the lawyer will continue to evolve. It is very evident that local government are under constant financial pressures, especially as there is little clarity on where organisations funding will come from in 2020. Candidates therefore need to be able to adapt to certain surroundings and find innovative ways that they can continue to the service they provide. Local government lawyers need to be versatile and flexible to be able to manage the changes happening in the sector such as shared services, alternative business structures (ABS) and the implementation of new technology across the sector. Skills in demand with local government As local authorities move towards new structures such as shared services and ABS and adopt a way of working similar to that in private practice, they require their lawyers to be able to undertake a range of skills. As a result we have seen an increase in the need for the following skills when recruiting to local authorities across the UK: Client care skills – the ability to manage several clients at one time and build a rapport is becoming essential for any candidate looking to secure a legal role within local government. As pressure increases, lawyers need to be able to work with multiple clients, and effectively manage their expectations whilst delivering the highest level of service. For that reason we often look for legal candidates that have experience in, or show skills in stakeholder management. Technology – technology is constantly changing with the legal sector, and as a result candidates need to be able to learn new systems and adapt. The ability to record key information on case management systems with little to no legal support is often required in local government, therefore efficient typing skills and the ability to confidently use different platforms is essential. Candidates also need to be able to adapt to new technology as and when it is introduced. As the sector continues to evolve, and more technology is introduced to local government, this will become an even more important skillset to have. Niche and specialised skills within a set legal field – generally lawyers will specialise in a key area of law, so having expert insights and knowledge of your chosen sector is essential. Our clients are also often asking for candidates that have very specific skills, so it is important to know what niche skills may be important within your chosen sector. For example, there has been a significant increase in childcare lawyers with strong advocacy skills and an increase in CPO and development experience within planning and property roles. Experience within more than one area of law – candidates who are able to gain experience in multiple areas of law will always be in high demand. We have seen a significant change in the market where the demand for litigation lawyers does not just require housing or civil but clients needing lawyers to be versatile so that they are able to pick up any level or type of work in small teams such as districts or boroughs. There is also a greater need for candidates to be able to conduct advocacy in more than one area of litigation to enable a cost saving exercise to try and reduce spend to external barristers or practice. We have also recently seen a rise in the need for regeneration lawyers, but clients are asking that these candidates possess skills in project experience and knowledge within property, planning and contracts. This gives lawyers with experience in any of these areas an opportunity to develop further and gain work in a different area of law. Adapting skills to remain successful within local government It is not always skills that lawyers need to think about to remain successful in local government. Legal professionals should also be aware of the market, adapt and look at where their skills may be transferable. For example, many local authorities still struggle to recruit for childcare, property, planning and contract positions both on a permanent and on a locum basis. These areas of law are in constant high demand within the market and commercial roles are always in competition with private practice and in-house roles that offer a more competitive salary. There is also a real need for skilled regeneration lawyers. This is a relatively new area of law for local government, and a skill that is increasingly in high demand. There may be lawyers already in local government that have the skillset to deliver these projects, so it is worthwhile considering these roles and looking as to whether your skills are transferable. Local government hiring managers should rethink their approach to recruitment Client retention is also very difficult, especially within the public sector. Within the areas of law that are most difficult to recruit to, clients often focus too much on experience and post qualified experience (PQE), however this is limiting the talent pool available to them. I would strongly advise local authorities to consider those with less PQE as these candidates can be an investment in the long-term and it may be that these skills can be developed which will ultimately lead to a highly skilled lawyer that is committed to the organisation. Finally, if local government organisations want to attract, train and retain future legal talent, they need to invest time in the candidates they employ. Many legal candidates we work with have the right soft skills, but without adequate training within a key area or organisation they cannot grow or flourish. To further discuss the skills you need to be a successful lawyer in the 21st century or for assistance with your recruitment strategy please contact me on 0161 834 1642 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively, browse our latest roles here.
Have you recently started a new legal job and wondered what the etiquette is during your probationary period? To get yourself noticed in the right way and to help you pass your probation, we have put together a list of do’s and don’ts. Rayhaneh Tehrani, Manager and specialist legal recruiter at Sellick Partnership, gives her advice on your probationary period, and what to do when you start a new role. When you start in a new role you may be subject to a probationary period. This is a mutual agreement between you and your employer for a specific period of time, typically between 1-6 months. Your employer may set out some specific targets for you during this time and will assess your overall performance in your new role. However, probationary periods are not just for the employer. It also allows you to terminate your contract of employment without having to abide by the usual lengthy notice period, should the role or business not be right for you. Generally your probationary period is a time in which there is lots of invaluable support and training provided by your employer, to help you to develop and meet the expectations of the role. Therefore this time should be seen as a benefit rather than something to be feared. Do's during your probationary period Although you do not need to ensure you do absolutely everything on this list, making sure you adhere to just a few of these will help you to make a great first impression. Have a thorough understanding of the responsibilities: before you start on your first day, go back through the job description you were given during the interview stage and remind yourself of your daily duties. Usually you will be given an induction schedule for your first few weeks, so make sure you fully understand everything and are aware of the tasks you will be required to undertake. Sit down with your line manager to discuss the expectations set: once you have received your induction schedule and had time to go through each of your activities, pencil some time in with your manager. Make sure your schedule and probationary period expectations are approved and agreed to by both parties in writing. Make sure you have a clear understanding of how the company works: take a look at the company’s website, including their Vision, Mission and Values. Find out what their internal structure is and who the stakeholders are that you will be working with. Knowledge is power, so the more that you know the better it will reflect on you. Depending on your role, you may want to spend some time getting to know your customer/client base: If your role does not require communicating with customers and clients, then make sure you spend some time getting to know internal stakeholders within the business you work for. Introducing yourself will show that you have taken the initiative and will also help you to forge long-term relationships. Remember, always be yourself and be open and honest. Ensure you are actively listening and engaging with your new team: it is very easy to sit and listen to all the information being given, but do not be afraid to ask questions and get to know your new colleagues. The more you interact with everyone, the more comfortable you will feel to ask questions. By understanding how your team works, the easier it will be to work in sync with your new team. If you are not sure about something, ask for help: it is better to ask questions in the early stages. This will also show that you are pro-active and taking an interest in how the business works. Take responsibility: if you do make any errors or mistakes then hold your hands up – people will appreciate your honesty. It is only human to make mistakes, and no one will expect you to be perfect, especially in your first few weeks in a new business. Keep track of any achievements you make during your probationary period: this will help to document the work you have done and allows you to show your manager what you have learned. Don'ts during your probationary period If you want to ensure you pass your probationary period with flying colours, make sure you do not do any of the following points. It could damage your reputation and also prevent you from passing your probationary period. Try not take any holidays during your probationary period: unless it was pre-agreed before you accepted the role. You may have been asked if you had any holidays booked during the interview stage, which is the best time to let your new management know about any commitments you have already agreed to. If you have not mentioned this until your first day, you risk missing out on important training days which may have already been booked in for you. Never turn up late for work: if you are going to be late due to things out of your control e.g. trains being delayed or cancelled, then make sure you inform your manager and team in plenty of time. Never come back late from your lunch break: try not to take excessive breaks throughout the day. This is not to say you cannot take 5 minutes away from your desk, but do not take too many breaks that may be deemed excessive. Try not to get involved in any conflict with stakeholders: if anything does occur, remain neutral and if you are really unsure, speak with your line manager. Avoid gossiping: getting involved in any office gossip will look bad on you, and you could end up with a bad reputation with senior stakeholders, including your manager. These points will not guarantee you pass your probationary period but they will certainly help you along the way. If you need any advice then please don't hesitate to contact us on 0161 834 1642. Still searching for your dream job? Search all our latest jobs here.