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Facing Redundancy – What Next for Your Legal Career?

The last few months have been a precarious time for the vast majority of people in the UK. And with significant changes in the legal sector, many employees have felt a degree of uncertainty around the future of their career.

The realities of the rise in inflation and the cost of living is now being realised, and for some legal employees, this will, unfortunately, mean redundancy. A new study has shown that nearly 1 in 5 employers are likely to make redundancies over the next year, including law firms and legal services.

But while some areas and some practices have been hit hard, others are flourishing.

Today, we look at what legal employees who are currently facing redundancy should be focusing on now and how to navigate the new situation you could be placed in.

Let’s start with some positivity.

The New Job Mindset

A positive mindset is critical when job seeking, so the first thing that it is essential to remember is that it’s not you that is being made redundant; it’s your role.

There has been so much change, contraction and growth in different areas that there will be inevitable redundancies in some practices as employers try to make sense of the new market.

Legal employees who ‘go it alone’, rather than work with a recruiter, run the risk of losing momentum. This can leave you feeling isolated and discouraged, especially when your job applications aren’t garnering you many responses.

My first piece of advice for a legal candidate facing redundancy is to start working with a legal recruiter as soon as possible. They will be able to provide the career support that you need right now.

So if your position has recently become redundant, there is good news – there are opportunities out there – let’s look at where they are.

What To Do If Your Training Contract Is Terminated

The Law Society have a great article that discusses what your options are if your training contract is terminated before you complete it. Find out more here with guidance from The Law Society and the SRA.

“The SRA states that trainee solicitors are common law apprentices, which means that you cannot be terminated as part of a redundancy process. This gives you enhanced protections under employment law and you should have reference to the SRA’s authorised training provider information pack (2019 regulations)”.

Retraining

One of the first things to consider is if you can retrain in a different legal specialism.

While this might not be the easiest path or the first choice for some individuals, for those that take advantage of the opportunity now could enjoy great benefits.

For example, you might have specialised in personal injury law, and have been operating in this field for some years.

But the market is now changing.

Legal firms are increasingly in need of employees trained in the areas which have boomed since the pandemic struck – property, family and employment law being the main three.

And this isn’t a short-sighted career move. Adding another string to your bow is always a good idea career-wise, and it makes perfect sense to do it now when there are talent shortages in these critical areas.

If you are thinking about changing your legal specialism, there are a few ways you can get started.

First, look for a mentor in your chosen field – this can be a difficult task, but once you find someone who you trust and who can help you shape your career path the way you want, they will be invaluable to you. This can be someone from your chosen field within your current company, or you can reach out to sector specialists on LinkedIn or during trade webinars or seminars, with physical networking not a possibility at this time.

Then take advantages of any courses you can enrol in to bring you closer to your chosen specialism, you can also self-study and work on extra certificates outside working hours – there are lots of online courses available.

If you feel comfortable discussing your chosen career goal with your current employer and feel that they will support you in your chosen field, you can always ask them if they will allow you time to train on the job in another department of the firm.

So let’s look a little closer at the areas in where the opportunities are right now.

Property

As with many unprecedented situations the pandemic caused, the mortgage and rent holidays that were put in place by the government created a boom in property law that hasn’t slowed down.

There is going to be a vast increase in roles in practices that deal with property disputes. And this is set to continue for many months and possibly even years.

Staying with property, the backlog of conveyancing that was caused by the house-move ban has yet to be cleared, which has created more opportunities for growth in this sector.

This, coupled with the fact that the pandemic seems to have inspired many people to move house – a rise of 15.6% in August 2020 – practices with property specialisms have never been busier.

Family

Family law is another area where we have seen a significant increase in opportunities.

There has been a so-called ‘divorce boom’ fuelled by the lockdowns and changes in economic circumstances. The Citizens Advice website saw a 25% increase in divorce guidance searches in September 2020 compared to the previous year.

The BBC spoke to family lawyer Georgina Chase, who commented that 30% of matrimonial enquiries she had received had been from couples separating because of relationship issues being exacerbated due to lockdown which we think will continue to increase as the cost of living continues to squeeze on those relationships.

A new survey by Scottish Law firm MHA Henderson Loggie has predicted lawyers specialising in commercial dispute resolution and family law are anticipating an increase in workload due to Covid-19.

MHA Legal director Christine Rolland commented “It is not known how the courts will cope with the backlog of cases on top of the expected number of new cases over the next 6 months.”

So family law is another area that is crying out for legal talent right now.

Employment

Employment law is another area which is seeing a drastic increase in the wake of Covid-19.

There have been changes to employment law due to the pandemic, with many issues in this field yet to be resolved.

As of late August 2020, there were 39,000 individual employment claims waiting to be heard according to the Ministry of Justice figures.

Barry Clarke, the president of employment tribunals in England and Wales, said he expects the backlog to continue to rise. He said this “would pose huge challenges to the ability of the [employment tribunal] to deliver justice within a reasonable time, which deeply troubled him”.

Conciliation service Acas received 33,000 calls in regards to redundancy in June and July 2020, an increase of 169% on last year.

As you can see, there is a lot of work to be done in this area of law, and practices with this specialism are looking for talent to help clear the backlog.

Private Client

During this time, if you haven’t before, it might be time to consider working with private clients on cases to start to build your own private client portfolio.

Private clients are an international growth industry which can be an extremely good career move for a solicitor to consider.

If you have excellent interpersonal skills, and it is your ambition to work closely with your clients to provide the best outcomes for individuals you have built an excellent relationship with, then becoming a private client solicitor could be for you.

Private client opportunities are currently booming, so now is a great time to make a career change into this area of law if you think you’ve got what it takes.

Looking at the Positives

Facing redundancy can feel daunting, but it is crucial to think of the opportunities that a new role can bring.

You have the chance to work with a legal recruiter to find a role that fits exactly the direction you want your legal career to be going in.

If you aren’t sure about the direction of your legal career and would like to explore the options that are available to you right now, get in contact with us here.

A Different Location?

Finally, expanding your job search is another way to increase your options.

In your legal career so far, your work might have focused around one particular town or area, and this is understandable if you have family ties.

But for anyone with the opportunity to do so, looking to expand your job search into areas you hadn’t previously considered is a great way to increase your job prospects.

If you are searching for a new legal role in the North West – get in touch with us today by calling 0121 259 121, click here to view our current vacancies or click here to send us an email with your legal career enquiry.

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.

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Posted By

Lynn Sedgwick

Managing Director

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How to Create a LinkedIn Profile That Stands Out To Legal Employers

When it comes to selling your value to a recruitment company like Clayton Legal and the clients we work for, there are a few pivotal documents required to draw attention to yourself. 

The humble CV is one, followed quickly by your LinkedIn profile. 

As LinkedIn is the biggest social business network outside China, with 850 million members listed, it is more crucial than ever to leverage the opportunities your LinkedIn profile provides as a positioning tool for your legal career. 

Your LinkedIn profile has many positive attributes. Unless you share a name with a well-known person, it is highly likely that your profile, if created properly, will appear on the first page of Google. 

Even though your CV/Resume is a standard document that demonstrates your career journey, a LinkedIn profile can deliver even more insight about you as a potential recruit in an interactive and engaging style that a CV alone cannot achieve. 

In today’s post, I want to share why your profile is so important and the easy, quick wins to ensure your legal LinkedIn profile stands out from the crowd. 

Headlines and Pronouns 

Your headline is often the first piece of text a recruiter or potential hiring manager will see, so make it count. Paraphrase what you do, and the good news is LinkedIn now allows 220 characters, including spaces. Here is an example of a legal headline that works.  

“Solicitor at BLM. Working in the Housing Team dealing with insurance litigation, housing disrepairs and property damage in Liverpool” 

With D.E.I. being on most workplace agendas, LinkedIn now allows you to add your preferred pronouns on your profile. The use of pronouns will let hiring managers, colleagues or online connections know how to address you to prevent any misconceptions.  

A Professional Photo 

LinkedIn produces numerous reports that demonstrate the power of imagery and media on your profile. Profiles with a professional photograph can get 14 times more profile views vs those with selfie style images or group pictures. 

Phone technology today means there is no excuse not to have a professional LinkedIn profile picture. Ask a colleague or friend to take a photograph with their smartphone in good lighting where you shoulders and face are visible to give an honest and accurate perception of who you are professionally. 

Head and shoulders are the best shots. Your face, preferably smiling in appropriate business attire, makes the best impact. Remember, recruitment consultants viewing your profile are imagining how you will fit into their client’s organisation, so this is an easy way to make an impact.  

How To Get In Contact  

As a first start, do you have all your contact details visible?  

Make sure you have a mobile number and a Gmail/Hotmail address that is your most active and professional email account. Try to avoid the likes of 90sbaby@hotmail.com or something with your birth year in as this can indicate age bias subconsciously.  

A professional url demonstrates your attention to detail, for instance, LinkedIn.com/in/Andy Gold as opposed to LinkedIn.com/in/Andy-Gold-2671c567. 

It’s also important to include links to your blog where you share knowledge related to your sector which is a great feature a lot of LinkedIn users forget to utilise.  

Featured Section

Have you written papers or presented at a legal industry conference, or recorded any work-related videos?  

If the answer is yes, add them here, and this will certainly make you stand out from the crowd and gives recruiters or potential law firms the chance to see more of what you can do rather than just reading it on a CV. 

Your About Section

Please do not add only your essential skills or paste sections from your CV into your summary section. Use it to catch people’s attention as you share relevant information about who you are and your skills and abilities; you have 2000 characters, so make them count. 

In this section, talk about the value you will add to an organisation alongside your skillset. Be different and stand out by explaining how you might help a potential new employer solve their problems while being genuine and authentic. 

Our experience as recruiters is this attracts our attention, plus it makes it easier for us to ‘sell’ the fact you are a ‘must see’ candidate for our client and pick out your best attributes towards their needs. 

Here are some examples from LinkedIn themselves as to what they see as great profile summaries. 

Add to Profile and Open To

On the right-hand side of your profile, you will see a button that says ‘add to profile’. When you click this, it reveals all the additional sections you can add to your profile.  

From featured items to licenses and certifications, and courses and recommendations the list is endless to really boost your profile against your competitors.  

If you are open to work and currently not employed, you can add this to your profile picture by clicking the relevant button. This lets recruiters know instantly without even clicking on your profile that you are a potential candidate for their client and therefor you are most likely to be seen.  

In the ‘add your profile’ section under background, share details of all your work experience that will communicate your capability. Then list all your education and volunteer activities. Today, organisations have an active CSR programme that they love to promote to new starters; therefore, this area is essential to share too should you have experience in those departments. 

Under accomplishments, you can list publications, certifications, patents, courses, projects, honours and awards, test scores, languages and how you are involved with communities that are important to you. 

This makes it easy for a recruitment organisation to identify your skills and expertise as a potential match for their client. 

The big question is, does your profile: 

  • Help your standout? 
  • Communicate your value, including providing supporting evidence? 
  • List your work achievements? 

Share Useful Content

Depending on your current organisation and their social presence, you can share and like content until your heart is content. This unconsciously communicates to everyone how connected you are and what is important to you. When someone arrives on your profile, it is one of the first sections they can see. 

You can now share an article or even upload a compelling image or create a video on your LinkedIn profile. All of which enable you to communicate your personal brand and show recruiters areas of your work you are particularly interested in the most. 

List The Skills You Know Are Important in Legal

When it comes to legal skills, you can add up to 50, which could help you stand out to a recruitment consultant and your future employer. You don’t have to add all of them as only your top ten will be profiled, so make these the most important. 

The UK is in the grip of a skills shortage. Therefore, if you know you have in-demand skills, communicate them on your profile wherever you can. You would be surprised that this is an area often forgotten by even the best of candidates. 

Endorsements and Recommendations

We all now live and work in the review society. Social proof is a significant influencer in our current community. Who has not viewed Trip Advisor before booking a restaurant or holiday with their significant other? It is the same in the business world. 

Therefore, collecting recommendations and endorsements is crucial for your career. If you have not got any, ask for them from your contacts. All too often, people are shy about asking for validations of their work. The good news, which might surprise you, is that many people are more than willing to give you a recommendation as long as you offer to give one back in return. 

Finally, Complete Your Profile in Full

A question for you? Are you using all the features we have mentioned? 

Do you have a presentation or video on your summary? Have you got a link to a paper you have written? 

It is interesting the impression people get from reading a full LinkedIn profile. It sends a message to recruitment companies that you are a person with attention to detail and take their career and work-life seriously – a great candidate for their clients.  

About Clayton Legal 

Clayton Legal has been partnering with law firms across the country since 1999 and has built up an enviable reputation for trust and reliability during that time. We have made over 5,000 placements from Partners to Legal Executives, Solicitors to Paralegals and Legal I.T. 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.  

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Posted By

Lynn Sedgwick

Managing Director

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Your Legal Career Checklist

When was the last time you sat down and reviewed to what extent you are meeting your career objectives?

And I don’t mean your annual review with your line manager; I’m talking about your deeply personal career goals and intentions.

Wherever you are in your career journey, it is a good idea to periodically analyse your current position depending on where you want to be. When you dig a little deeper, is everything on track and working out as you expected? Or do you need to make some changes in order to meet your goals?

To help you measure if your legal career is progressing as you envisaged when you started out, we have created the following checklist to provide you with a snapshot of whether you’re on the right track.

When you work through this checklist, it is essential to remember the reasons you got into your current role in the first place.

What did you set out to achieve in your career – did you plan on making a certain amount of money in a specific timeframe?

Was your move into your current role related to what was going on in your personal life? For example, were you about to leave home, get married or were you saving for a deposit for a house?

And also, what is important to you about the company you work for? Do you fit in with your company’s culture? Do you have a good working relationship with your colleagues and managers?

If your current role or company is not fulfilling you in the way you had hoped, or if the pace has slowed down recently, it could be a sign that you need to start making some big career decisions – is it time to move organisations?

Read each statement below and decide on how much you agree, using the following scale –

1 – Strongly disagree

2 – Disagree

3 – Neutral

4 – Agree

5 – Strongly agree

So, let’s get started!

Career Checklist

1. I am progressing the way I want in my career.

2. I have achieved some of my career goals, and others are within reach.

3. I enjoy my work and look forward to going in each day.

4. The people I work with are very supportive and friendly.

5. I feel like a valued member of the team I work within.

6. My manager gives me the right balance between support/guidance and working under my initiative.

7. I feel I make a difference within the company I work for, rather than just being a number.

8. The company I work for really invests in supporting me to achieve my goals.

9. I can see a clear progression path within my current company.

10. I am happy with the level of training and personal development offered by my current employer.

11. The company I work for believes in me and trusts me to do my job well.

12. I feel that my company enables and supports my focus.

13. I am recognised and rewarded for my work.

14. The sector I work in really interests me.

15. I am happy with the location of and commute to my place of work.

16. I feel my company offer a fair and competitive commission structure (if applicable).

17. The monetary remuneration I receive has enabled me to achieve goals in my personal life (i.e. buy a house, go on my dream holiday, etc.)

18. I feel I have the right work/life balance working for my current company.

19. I am happy with the way my working day is structured.

20. I can see myself staying with this company for a long time.

What Did You Score?

Tally up what you scored and take a look below at some of the points you may want to consider when thinking about how you want your career to progress in the future:

 

20-40

Alarm Bells! This score says your career isn’t going to plan, and you are probably not enjoying your current role. We suggest thinking about why you aren’t enjoying your position or not achieving what you want. It might be time for you to move on or think about whether your current company or role is for you. Do you need a more supportive environment, better career progression, or even a change of sector?

 

41-60

Room for More A better score, which suggests you enjoy aspects of your job, but there’s lots of room for improvement. For example, you might like the people you work with, but you feel you aren’t personally getting the support you need to achieve your career and personal goals. You need to consider if you can see changes happening in your current company by speaking to your manager, or if you feel working here has run its course and to progress, you need to move on.

 

61-80

Meeting Some Goals You’re neither very happy nor unhappy, though you wouldn’t describe yourself as completely engaged. Which means that if the right opportunity came your way, you would consider it. When you feel this way, sometimes the grass isn’t always greener on the other side. You need to decide if you want to move, why is this? Understand if it’s just a case of you only feel like this when you have a bad day or if it’s more often.

81+

Loving Life and Your Job You are achieving your goals, meeting targets and enjoy the place you work. There may be small elements that you feel could be better, but they aren’t big enough to make you think about working somewhere else. However, we suggest you don’t become complacent. Sometimes, being in a company for too long can demotivate you in the long run. If you’ve been working with the same company for a while, is it time for a fresh challenge with new people?

 

If this checklist has prompted you to think harder about what your current role and company are providing you with, and it has made you realise that now is time for a change, then get in touch with Clayton Legal today. We can help you in deciding what step to take next to further your Legal career.

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Posted By

Lynn Sedgwick

Managing Director

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Navigating recruitment to your ideal job in law

  • May 29, 2018

Finding a new job is tricky. Knowing where to look and assessing the opportunities that are available can be baffling. Yet that doesn’t stop many solicitors looking for their ideal job. The Law Society published extensive research in 2015 on how to develop legal careers and enhance the return on talent. The findings showed that 26% of solicitors planned to move jobs within a year, rising to 35% among millennials.

So how can solicitors navigate the choppy seas of recruitment to success? A clear plan and an experienced recruiter at your side make a lot of difference. Our two-stage guide gives you all you need to know.

Stage 1: Planning

Job search methods

The legal job search has undergone significant change in recent years; much like other professions, solicitors are looking to the internet more and more when searching for their dream role. Our 2018 Salary Survey shows that the use of the internet in legal recruitment continues to grow and includes channels such as social media. There’s still a place for more traditional methods of recruitment, however, you’ll need to be online to give yourself the best chance of success.

Don’t forget about the power of your network either! Word of mouth and personal referrals can be a powerful way to get in front of the right person. Alert contacts that you’re looking for a new role, attend seminars, events and put yourself out there. It could well be a case of who you know, not what you know.

Understanding the opportunities that are available

Be clear about what’s on offer out there. Assess which skills are in demand in your region or city. Are yours in surplus or high demand? Do you specialise in a particular area of the law, or do you have broader skills such as experience working abroad or in a coveted sector that could be an asset? There are opportunities out there, but it’s having the patience to figure out how they could work for you that will give you the greatest advantage when you put yourself in front of a prospective employer.

Consider your personal development and aspirations too, and what a new job means for your aims. Would you be willing to move for a job, commute, or learn something new? Balance your needs and expectations versus the demand and reality of what’s available.

Stage 2: Enlisting help

Recruiting the right recruiter

A recruiter is potentially the job seeker’s best friend – but to put your trust in them to find the right role, you’ll need to feel sure that they understand the job requirements. A specialist legal recruitment agency can be a real help here. Sixty-eight per cent of firms say that they prefer to use specialist legal recruiters to source candidates: partnering up with a recruiter who has industry contacts and a fine-tuned knowledge of the legal sector gives you the best chance at getting in front of the right people.

Clarity on skills: a two-way street

Make it really clear to the recruiter just how your skills and experience fit with what the firm is looking for. They will then be in a strong position when putting you forward for consideration. Equally, ensure that you’re comfortable with what’s being asked of the candidate by the firm. That way, when you reach the interview stage you’ll feel calm, prepared and confident and will make a good impression.

Landing your dream role isn’t easy. And when you’re eager to get stuck into something new the process of job hunting often feels endless. However, if you spend a little time doing your research and enlist the help of an experienced recruitment professional it makes a great difference. And when the recruiter knows the legal industry and the intricacies of your role the weight of job hunting is taken off your shoulders – and you’ll be in an exciting new post before you know it.

If you found this blog of interest you may like to read our other post on 5 Tips for handing in your notice.
Or if you’re looking for that perfect role, then check out all the vacancies we have available, and please do register your CV with us.

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Moving jobs: Factors that influence your decision

  • April 30, 2018

Looking for a new position is a big commitment. It takes time to research what is available and how that fits with your career plans. Then there’s the applications, interviews and time spent investigating your options. The decision to move is not taken lightly, so if you do decide to seek a new role you want to feel reassured that it’s the best fit for you. Our blog offers some important factors to consider, from small issues that add up, to weighty issues that influence your decision.

Monetary motivation

Cold hard cash is a major motivation factor when legal candidates consider a job move, and this is particularly true among fee earners. The temptation of earning more money with a new firm can prove too tempting to resist.

A North-South divide is something that’s often referred to in conversations around salary, and this is something that is borne out by Clayton Legal’s own research. We found that a solicitor with three years’ PQE could expect to earn a minimum of £50,567 in London. The equivalent salary in the North was £18,500 lighter at £31,979.

And it’s not just the money but the accompanying career opportunities that can be a powerful draw to London. Boasting international prominence and a diversity of work and firms available, solicitors’ decisions to continue their working lives in a new location can be swayed by the opportunities afforded by practising in the capital.

Gender pay gap

The gender pay gap has been a hot topic of discussion in the lead up to the April reporting deadline. This is particularly true in the legal sector, as the Financial Times reported that legal firms have largely opted not to follow the big four’s inclusion of partners in gender pay gap reporting and have instead decided to exclude partners from their reporting. While it’s early days to make any clear judgements as to how this might affect solicitors’ decisions to move jobs, it could lead to a shift in employees wanting to work somewhere where there is pay parity between genders or, at the very least, clarity on pay – including partners.

Non-monetary rewards

Salary can be a powerful reason to leave a job, yet non-monetary rewards can be just as motivational. Things such as contributions towards a gym membership, flexible or remote working, or medical cover for the employee plus dependents and a spouse can be sufficiently tempting.

Personal perks offered by a job or working in a certain location are often major considerations for many solicitors. While London offers a fast pace of life and a vast array of career opportunities, other locations may appeal to people in different circumstances.

Somewhere quieter might be preferable for parents with children, while a job close to extended family might suit someone who helps care for a relative. While money can prove tempting, personal circumstances are often a more powerful motivational force, and will likely continue to be so as our population ages and younger generations play a part in caring for elderly relations. Finding a firm that supports flexible working or considers part-time hours can be invaluable to the workforce and might be the push that prompts the decision for you to move firms.

Management in practice

Issues of management are often cited when candidates are looking for a new job. This can translate as anything from: how workloads are managed in the firm; whether there’s an opportunity to gain managerial experience or increase management responsibilities; how the practice as a whole is managed.

If you’re looking to further your career and feel that managerial training is not forthcoming it might be a signal to look elsewhere. Alternately, if you have ideas of your own and are looking to influence how the firm is run you might want to consider moving on if the possibility of a senior or partner position seems remote.

Stay or go: your own list of reasons

There are many factors that influence your decision to stay with or leave a legal firm. Sometimes a large issue such as a firm’s stance on gender pay gap reporting can feel too big to work around or adapt to and can only be resolved by moving. Equally, smaller issues that combine to make a larger picture can be just as compelling in the decision to seek a new position.

The most important factors to consider when looking for a new job are the ones that matter to you. Whether that’s money, work/life balance, a comprehensive benefits package or proximity to family, only you can decide. Think carefully about what’s on offer with your current firm and weigh that against what a different firm can offer – and how that sits with what you want.

If you found this blog interesting, why not have a look at our other post on how to get a promotion in 5 simple steps. Or if you’re looking for that perfect role, then check out all the vacancies we have available, and please do register your CV with us.

You may also like to download our guide on How to Develop Your Legal CV.

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