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Could A Return To Property Law Be Your Career Answer?

Posted by: Lynn Sedgwick

Yes, you did read the title right. Bear with me while I explain.

Like many of your peers, you invested several years of your life studying, securing a training contract and then specialising in property law.

Then, just as it seemed you could start building your PQE experience, we entered one of the worst economic recessions the country had seen in decades.

For you and, many other colleagues sadly, this meant redundancy.

What followed will have been different for each person. For many, it will have resulted in an element of ‘soul searching’ and asking questions such as:

  • What prompted me to choose a legal career in the first place?
  • Do I want to stay in the profession?
  • What are my options now?

…… and no doubt more questions than I can list here.

For others, it will have been a question of; So where are the opportunities now?

At the time, many conveyancing specialists retrained in areas that were growing at the time, such as commercial debt recovery, and consumer litigation.

Whatever choice you made as you continued to further your legal career, lets fast forward to today.

Perhaps you are now finding yourself thinking that your career isn’t quite where you expected it to be and the ‘Partnership’ you want hasn’t materialised.

Unfortunately, there are few signs you’ll ever secure the Partnership you want either, as you find yourself competing with colleagues who started their career in your current area of expertise and are four to eight years PQE; looking for that first Partner role too.

So what now? The logical choice may seem to be to move to a new firm within your current specialism where you can take the next step up the career ladder….

…….. Or is it?

Fact: There is a desperate shortage of Property lawyers. Clayton Legal’s own Regional Analysis Of Private Practice Latest Report shows an increase in Real Estate roles over the last few years. The data reveals that there are almost double the number of roles compared to the second most buoyant practice area, which is litigation and dispute resolution.

Fact: The lack of property law talent is a direct consequence of law firms failing to invest in training following the recession.

Fact: We have seen a boom in property development over recent years even though major land developers such as British Land and Land Securities Group await the outcome of Brexit.


Here’s a question for you?

Could your original first choice area of legal practice be where your future now lies?

 

What Are The Opportunities?

Property law is a buoyant area of practice, especially during periods of economic growth. While the economy makes its cyclic journey of rising and falling, the value of land, as an asset, has historically been high. Land and property are always being bought, leased, sold and developed.

With opportunities in both Residential and Commercial Property, you could choose to specialise in one or both. As you are fully aware, Commercial Property work involves private and public sector projects which consequently creates scope to provide legal services to a range of individuals from investors, and developers to government and public sector organisations.


How Easy Would It Be To Return To A Property Law Career And How do I go About It?

Let’s answer a few questions that might now be going on in your mind.

Yes, it would mean some update training. Central Law Training provides a range of programmes depending on which specific area of property law you decide to make a return to.

A common question the team at Clayton Legal are asked is, “But I only have three years PQE in property would it be a backward step in my Partner ambitions as I am now eight years PQE.”

It’s a valid question, and the reality is that no, it doesn’t have to. You have already acknowledged that your Partner ambitions are being hindered in your current area of practice, which potentially means so are some of your personal goals and aspirations.

This begs the question: Is it time to step forward and focus on the positives of a return to property law?

Here are some initial steps to take as you consider this potential change.

 

Step 1: Use Your Expertise

Identify your key strengths and transferrable skills which you can convincingly demonstrate to a future employer. You have been operating in your current area of law successfully and will have acquired a wealth of skills that can sometimes be taken for granted. These are often skill areas that a new property law employer would value.

 

Step 2: Make A Decision

Decide which area of property law you wish to return to and specialise in. Now it’s time to start your research and have conversations with colleagues, friends and acquaintances currently working in a property practice. Attend some professional events and begin updating yourself.

The more informed you are, the more it will help you make a decision.

 

Step 3: Your Re training Needs?

Identify what training courses you would be required to attend to return to property law moreover, what’s available in the market?

 

Step 4: Tap Into Your Network

What contacts do you still have in the property sector? How can they help?

Whom do they know who may be recruiting, are they willing to make an introduction to have an exploratory conversation?

Revisit your LinkedIn connections and start re-establishing and nurturing relationships that have lapsed.

As I mentioned above, take the time to do your research so that if and when you decide to go ahead and make a return to your first choice in law that you have set yourself up for success.

 

Step 5: Talk With A Specialist Recruitment Company

Of course, you can search and apply direct for your new role; however, why not tap into the market knowledge and expertise of a specialist recruiter. They are there to answer questions and guide you
as you take a new direction in your career.

A specialist legal recruitment company such as Clayton Legal will have in-depth market insight into Regional opportunities and which roles and firms would be a fit and match for you.

Returning to a specialism isn’t as common as retraining for a new specialism, and it doesn’t mean that it can’t and doesn’t happen. We have clients who are asking weekly, “Do you know any property lawyers who would consider returning to the practice area?”

If you feel your career has stalled and are wondering what’s next, could a return to property law be a solution?

Call one of the Clayton Legal team on 01772 259 121 and let's to have a conversation to explore what’s possible in more detail. With our help, your transition to a revitalised career can be smoother and quicker.

Thanks


Lynn

 

About Clayton Legal

Clayton Legal has been partnering with law firms across the country since 1999 and during that time has built up an enviable reputation for trust and reliability. We have made over 5,000 placements from partners to legal executives, solicitors to paralegals and legal IT personnel to practice managers.

If you are building your legal team or looking for your next career move, we can help. Call us on 01772 259 121 or email us here.

If you would like to know more about recruiting trends in the legal sector this year download our latest guide here.

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