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Legal Interview Tips That Work

  • June 25, 2024

It’s often said that we spend a significant portion of our lives at work, and for legal professionals, this commitment is even more pronounced due to the substantial investment in their careers. Finding the ideal career fit is crucial for overall happiness and well-being, particularly concerning factors like compensation, professional satisfaction, and workplace culture. Recent trends underscore a noticeable shift in candidate priorities in these areas.

However, navigating the job search process can be challenging, as success in the initial stages often hinges on factors beyond individual control. Many individuals struggle to find the necessary guidance to navigate this journey effectively – whether they’re freshly qualified and looking for their first legal role, or indeed a seasoned professional who may not have been on active job market for several decades.

What’s more, ATS and CV-scanning tech, competing candidates and evolving industry demands are just some of the challenges that meet candidates at the screening stage and while a well-written CV can significantly improve success rate, the following one presents a challenge that tends to bring most right out of their comfort zone, that being the oft-dreaded interview.

Nerve-wracking, daunting, and often a stumbling block for many candidates (or so it is perceived) it forces you to sell yourself convincingly and succinctly to demonstrate that you are quite literally the right person for the job – a skill not easy to master in the legal space, but one that need not be difficult to learn.

Here we look at what makes a great interview, how to make that first impression memorable, and how to use the meeting to your advantage as well with expert legal interview tips that work.

 

Fail To Prep At Your Peril

Starting with the golden rule of all interviews – your preparation should leave no stone unturned in covering all bases. You should want to go into the interview well-aware and well-prepared for what impression you intend to make on the hiring manager.

To this end, your first objective should be to think about what you intend to get out of the meeting. Yes, you are there to impress and prove your candidacy but how you do this through your answers and overall communication will differ somewhat from interview to interview. To get started ask yourself the following:

Q: What kind of first impression do I want to give my employer? If the job description asks for an adept problem-solver with the ability to lead a project, then your first port of call is to ensure that you’re ready to showcase those characteristics during the meeting.

Q: What are the key messages I want to communicate – whether verbally or non-verbally? If your interviewer could only go away from the meeting remembering one thing about you what do you want it to be? Is it the expertise or wealth of experience you have in your field or perhaps the drive you have to continue finding ways to deliver in your role? How are you going to make those messages stick?

While these can seem tricky to figure out at first, they don’t need to be – as there is a myriad of resources now available at your fingertips, and even more so when you utilise the services of a specialist legal recruiter. Their knowledge and experience in supporting candidates at this juncture of the process, as well as the profile and requirements of the employer, can prove instrumental in making your preparation foolproof and equip you with the know-how you need to nail it on the big day.

 

Know Your Audience

When it comes to preparation, be prepared to get specific. By delving into the finer details of the position in question and gaining insights into what success looks like in the role, you’ll equip yourself with the knowledge to articulate how your skills and experiences align perfectly with the firm’s needs. This proactive approach not only showcases your preparedness but also demonstrates a genuine interest in the role and the law firm. Key areas deserving your attention during this research phase include:

The firm’s brand and personality – are they corporate or have more of a family feel?

Their vision, mission, and values as well as any terms, words, or phrases that communicate this most effectively. A good place to find this is on their website, on an About Us or similar titled page where their mission statement and value are outlined

Interviewer profile: This is something your recruitment consultant will be able to help you with – although a simple LinkedIn search will give you a head start not just on their own area of expertise, but any content/posts they publish which may indicate their personality, their passions and their impact on the sector more generally

Reviews: Seek out reviews on the firm on the likes of Glassdoor company to get a gauge of what it’s like to work at the firm. Some individuals also leave reviews about the legal interview experience itself – invaluable to get an idea of what to expect

Digital Footprint: Company news or updates via press releases on industry websites and articles – in particular any recent big wins achieved by the business that has been publicised online. If you’re able to show you are as invested in the firm’s success as they are, you will significantly improve your chances of landing a killer first impression.

It’s worth taking into consideration the type of interview you can expect as well, as this will guide your preparation accordingly. Again, a recruitment consultant can help in this regard, as they can give you pointers and tips on what the hiring manager will be expecting and how best to prepare if you will be required to give any presentations or take any assessments.

 

First Impressions at Your Legal Interview; Making Them Count

As the famous saying by Oscar Wilde goes, “You never get a second chance to make a good first impression.”

Whilst this may not be true in all cases, it remains a great way to capture the importance of first impressions and a good pointer for any candidate aiming to impress in an interview. With only a few seconds afforded to make your mark upon first meeting the interviewer, the level of your suitability is often communicated before the legal interview even starts. As such, everything else about you, from your dress code to your body language and mannerisms, should exude confidence and enthusiasm that leaves as strong an impression as possible.

Other key tips to ensure you make a positive first impression:

Dress Code- Check with your recruitment consultant or directly with the interviewer to determine the appropriate attire. When in doubt, it’s always safer to dress conservatively and professionally.

Body Language- Stand up straight with good posture. Approach with a smile, which conveys warmth and friendliness. Offer a handshake confidently; make sure it’s firm but not overpowering.

Communication- Speak clearly and confidently. Pay attention to your tone and pace of speech to convey enthusiasm and interest in the role.

Mannerisms- Be mindful of your gestures and facial expressions. They should align with your words and reflect positivity and engagement.

Awareness- Be mindful of other members of the team you meet or speak to on the day – the Receptionist for example may be the first person you speak to and the last!

By focusing on these aspects, you can ensure that your first impression is not only positive but also sets the stage for a successful interview.

 

Approach Legal Interview Questions With Confidence

While it’s not possible to prepare for every single question that can come up in a legal interview, there is still much you can do to ensure you are ready for what may be thrown at you. Starting with the questions themselves, make a list of common interview questions relevant to the role that you are likely to be asked, and use the below guide when crafting your answers for each one.

Use examples in your answers that specifically point to how you demonstrated the key characteristics they are looking for. The job description is a great reference point in this regard, as it will help to tailor your answers to the requirements of the job in question, no matter what question you are asked.

Don’t be thrown off by complicated questions: The question “What’s your biggest weakness?” can be one of the most overwhelming for candidates. A good way to answer this is to think about something skills-wise you’re struggling with but show how you’re working to improve. For instance, maybe nerves tend to get to you when doing public presentations, but you’ve been taking regular speaking classes in your own time to overcome your anxiety and improve your delivery.

Make a note of key numbers and statistics that can back up the statements and examples in your answers. Numbers, percentages, and other quantitative data make a real impact in interviews and add greater credibility to your accomplishments as they are actual quantifiable results that speak for them.

Remember that you will likely also be asked why you applied for this firm and your role in particular, and your research into the business will be key in crafting a good answer to this question. Try to highlight some key facts about the company how you as a person and a professional relate to them, and how the role allows you to do something that both you and the firm value in your professional life.

Once you’ve written out your answers, have a friend or colleague (or even your recruitment professional) go through these with you in a mock interview. It may seem a bit overkill, but it can help to boost your confidence and smoothen your delivery.

 

Don’t Be Put Off By Competency Based Questions

Competency-based questions often start with the phrase: “Tell us about a time when”. They’re designed to give the firm insight into how you react to specific circumstances. To prepare for these kinds of behavioural questions, it’s good practice know your way around the “STAR” technique.

The STAR method asks you to take an example of impressive behaviour from your past and arrange it into a particular structure. The acronym encourages interviewees to:

  • Situation: Describe the circumstances relevant to the question.
  • Task: Outline the details of your responsibility in that situation.
  • Action: Explain the action steps that you took to address these challenges.
  • Results: Talk about what your actions achieved.

Using these four steps to shape your anecdote will make it easier to deliver a highly focused and relevant answer.

 

Projecting Confidence in Your Legal Interview

Equally as crucial as thorough preparation, confidence plays a pivotal role in bringing out your best self on interview day and should be considered an integral part of your readiness. While interviews typically emphasise verbal communication, how you deliver your responses often matters more than the content itself. Many candidates find managing nerves challenging, yet overcoming this hurdle is less daunting with the right mindset. Effective preparation is essential, but seizing control of your interview experience involves additional strategies.

A few ways to increase your confidence before the big day include:

Have a go-to response ready when you need a moment to think. If you feel you’re prone to or fear blanking at the most inconvenient of times, then this can help to steady the nerves in the moment. Something like “That’s an excellent question. Let me think about that…” can be useful in buying yourself the time you need to get going again.

Using visualisation to mentally rehearse: A useful tip to implement when rehearsing your answers is to do so while visualising in as vivid a manner as possible, what the interview experience might be like. Remember, that this is intended to be a simulation of the real thing, and as such questions shouldn’t be rushed, and professional attire is a must when practising. If there are any parts of the visualised interview that you’re particularly nervous about, practice them with a friend.

Relaxation techniques such as meditation and mindfulness are also worth learning for those who find anxiety a real issue in high-pressure moments, or their daily lives, and help to avoid getting stuck in their head and ground them in the present moment. That said, it should not be a substitute for a good night’s rest, as you want to be performing at max capacity on the day. Lack of sleep will only make that much harder to achieve.

Practising positive thinking: Negativity can get the better of us at times. If you’ve yet to experience the breakthrough you’ve long been waiting for in your job search, you may be getting a sense of déjà vu at this junction and perhaps even write yourself off before the big day arrives, expecting the worst of yourself in front of the interviewer. Try not to think this way as it will kill any ounce of confidence you have left in your ability. Instead, look back at the answers you crafted to your competency-based question, as that is what you should be judging yourself on as a professional. Even if you lack something to give for those answers, the point is that your suitability for the role in question is evidenced by the hard work and commitment you produced to get to this point – whether that be through education or experience. When that belief resonates in your answers it will start to spill over to your mannerisms and body language.

 

Mastering Non-Verbal Communication

Your body language will be another way that the interviewer will asses how confident and experienced you come across, and what they are more likely to remember, especially if they are in stark contrast to what you or your CV says. As overall communication is majorly non-verbal, the little things certainly matter in this instance whether that be a simple handshake or sitting posture. Fail to make the right impact with it and you could find yourself losing out on a great opportunity.

Some tips to bear in mind:

Smile! I know you might be full of nerves and smiling is a great icebreaker for all concerned so use it to your advantage

Concentrate on posture: Keep your chin up and your spine straight whether you’re sitting or standing. Lean forward slightly in your chair to indicate interest and avoid crossing your arms or fiddling with things on the desk in front of you.

Practice a firm handshake: During the handshake, make sure that you’re looking at the person, and giving them a genuine smile. Show them that you’re happy to be there.

Suppress any restless habits: Avoid crossing and uncrossing your legs, cracking your knuckles, tapping your foot, or biting your nails. All of these small quirks indicate nerves and may be deemed as impolite.

Make eye contact: Make eye contact during your interview, rather than continually staring at the clock or down at your CV. However, be careful not to stare continuously at the hiring manager, as this can make them uncomfortable. Balance it out by making eye contact as you listen to and respond to questions, but let your eyes wander occasionally.

Use your hands: If you’re not sure what to do with your hands, then use them to gesture while you’re speaking. Hand movements can show passion during a conversation. Just make sure that they’re not so aggressive that they distract from what you’re saying!

 

Show Your Ambition

Talking about your future during your legal interview demonstrates a genuine dedication to forging a path of progression for your career within the business. It also helps you understand what opportunities might come your way. Share what you’re looking for in the role and ask about the company’s development options for its employees.

You may want to ask:

  • Is there a mentorship programme where you can learn from other leaders and further build your skill set?
  • Does the company offer plenty of training solutions and chances to learn new things?
  • How does the business approach things like development plans?
  • Will you get regular one-on-one interviews to assess your progress towards your goals?
  • Are there opportunities for professional development when you get into this role? What might the next step look like for you?
  • What happened to the last person that held this job? Did they move into a bigger role or switch companies?
  • What are your thoughts about lateral movement? Do employees have an opportunity to explore other projects in different roles?

 

Approach The Legal Interview As A Two-Way Street

A big thing to remember with any interview is that they are more than just an evaluation by the hiring manager. It’s a great opportunity for you to envision your future with a potential employer and assess whether the role aligns with your aspirations. It goes beyond simply looking for a job; you are actively exploring whether the company culture and dynamics resonate with your professional ethos.

Preparing intelligent, well-thought-out questions shows the interviewer that you’re thoroughly prepared and that you understand what exactly you’re getting into. Your questions show that you’re interested in the position and that you have ambitions to excel in your new job.

Some potential questions include:

Q: Can you tell me more about the responsibilities of this job: If the day-to-day responsibilities have already been discussed in the job description, you can skip this question. However, if they’re vague, this is your opportunity to determine exactly what you’ll need to do in your new role.

Q: How can someone excel in this role? This question often leads to valuable information about how the business measures things like success and performance in the workplace. You can even ask how you’ll be assessed going forward, and how regularly you can expect to get feedback.

Q: Where do you see the company heading in the next five years? This question shows an interest in and points to a commitment to being in it for the long-term, and your interest in its progress.

Q: What do you expect me to achieve in this role during the first 30 days, 60 days, or 90 days? This gives you an overview of the goals you’ll be pursuing when you begin your new job.

Q: Can you describe the culture of your company? It’s important to know if you’ll fit well with your team members. A brief description of company culture will show you whether your personality is a match for the business dynamic.

Q: What do you like best about working for this company? Asking for your interviewer’s personal experience of working within the company is an excellent insight into what you can expect from your new employment.

Q: What are the biggest challenges facing the firm or that specific department today? This question shows an eagerness to seize the opportunity and assist the firm in overcoming any difficulties. You might even discover areas in which your specific skills can save the day.

Q: What is the typical career path for someone who takes this role? This question will give you an overview of how career advancement works in your chosen organisation. It may also show you whether you can expect some regular support and training when working towards your career goals.

Q: What are the next steps in the interview process? This question indicates that you’re eager to move to the next stage with the business. It will also give you an insight into the timeline you can expect to follow for hiring. You’ll know when you can follow up appropriately, without pestering the company.

Q: Is there anything about my CV or background that makes you question my fit for this role? Here, you’re demonstrating a commitment to making the right impression as a candidate. This question also means that you have an opportunity to respond to possible concerns.

Remember, there are some questions to avoid asking in a job interview too. For instance, you won’t need to ask what the business does if you’ve done your research. Additionally, it’s a good idea not to ask about benefits and changing things straight away.

If you are looking for a new role due to dissatisfaction in your current one, you want to consider more strategically focused questions too, and use the interview as an opportunity to conduct your own due diligence of sorts.

Interviews can be stressful and nerve-wracking experiences. However, with the right preparation strategy in place (and legal interview tips to help you) you’ll feel more confident walking into the initial meeting with the company that’s right for you. Using the tips above, and some support from your legal recruitment specialist, you can ensure that you’re ready to make the right impression in an interview – and crucially get one step closer to getting that dream role.

 

Clayton Legal has over 20 years experience helping candidates in the legal sector to take the next step in their careers. Our work doesn’t just involve matching legal professionals with roles – we’ll work with you to make sure your professional profile stands out in the market, that you feel fully prepared for your interview, and that your preferences and requirements are met every step of the way.

If you are thinking of taking that next step, we can help. Call us on 01772 259 121 or email us here.

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Post-Holiday Blues or Mid-Career Crisis – Recognising The Signs

With the world of work ever increasing in its demands for maximum professional efficacy today,  finding ample time to disconnect from one’s work life and embrace the moments that allow us to stay committed to our personal needs as we are to career aspirations has become increasingly difficult.

As we strive for balance between professional demands and personal well-being, navigating the digital age’s relentless ‘grind culture’ continues to present its own set of challenges. The allure of constant connectivity, fuelled by productivity apps and remote work arrangements, often makes it difficult to truly switch off, and this is particularly true during holidays or extended breaks from work.

Much is written about how to stay disconnected while on holiday due to this – not least as the pandemic is cited as kick-starting  this hustle mentality. And, whilst Physicians and academics alike have rightly focused on practices that can help holidaymakers work through their stress, and focus on the impact of burnout – inevitably, this downtime may in fact focus your attention on your more general career path, future goals and aspirations, and whether these are on track.

In fact, it was found from a survey conducted on behalf of Hotel Indigo by YouGov that the majority of global travellers (63%) end up making major life decisions after travelling, including (figuratively and literally) career-changing ones.  

 Whilst a case of post-holiday blues is a common occurrence when returning from a holiday – especially if such quality time with friends and family is a rare commodity – it becomes tricky, when career comes into the picture, to tell the difference between a standard case of short-term sadness and a real need to refocus and reassess one’s legal career. 

 

A Temporary Slump?

If you find that your reservations about returning to work stem from a desire to enjoy the fun and freedom the holiday brought for a little longer, then chances are your post-holiday blues are just that. They aren’t exclusive to holiday periods either – as it is also a common thing to experience during the festive season and after any long break from work. Temporary, short-lived, and incredibly common, they have only become a more intriguing phenomenon over time, with a 100% increase in searches for how to beat the post-holiday blues evident over the past 12 months.  

The good news though, is that if all is well behind the scenes at the office, this sense of foreboding will disappear given enough time. 

If, however, you remain unsure of where your heart really lies, there are always worthwhile steps to take periodically in your career to assess if you are still on the right track – and doing so after a holiday or extended break, can certainly help to assess where things stand:  

 

Setting Achievable Goals  

A good starting point is to begin setting actionable and achievable targets as part of your preparation for your return to work. The point of this exercise is to get the ball rolling mentally (and potentially physically) towards your present goals, and make that transition back to your work life easier with a clearer path of progression. In this regard, a timely review of your career plan and where you were heading goal-wise before the holidays can prove to be a great aid.

If for example, a promotion was possibly on the cards or even a worthwhile pursuit, then begin mapping out a step-by-step plan of how you intend to show your employers you are the candidate to consider. Not only does this give a sense of empowerment and renewed resolve that makes returning into the thick of it easier, but it also keeps any negative or unhelpful post-holiday-borne thoughts at bay.   

It should also be said on this note that working out where you are and where you are heading in your legal career isn’t just something to do when you’re fresh out of college or upon qualification. The best industry leaders regularly conduct this sense-check of their business objectives and strategies based on changing priorities, constant evaluations of the marketplace, and a growing understanding of their sector.  

The economic and socio-political backdrop may also influence career planning, as well as other more-permanent ‘trends’ such as a seismic shift towards flexible, home, and remote working patterns that have meant people are reassessing how (and where) they work too. Finding time (whether that’s on your holiday or when you’re back at your desk) is vital to put a stake in the ground and take stock of the real reasons why you may be feeling discontentment. 

 

A Mental Reset

One of the hardest things about accepting the inevitable when returning to work from a holiday is what exactly you dread returning to, and this is sometimes what people mean when they say it is difficult to snap out of the constant reminiscing about their time off. A busy inbox, a diary full of meetings, and case files or projects to pick back up and run with as part of a busy law firm is not exactly the ‘welcome back’ one would appreciate upon their return – hence why the reluctance to carry on with work life is so much stronger than what you’d usually expect.   

 A good way to get around this issue is to focus on what you enjoy about your job instead. These may be the more technical or social aspects of the role or even the banter that takes place between you and your colleagues around the office. Whatever it may be, it can help to temper any rising fears about the workload you are expecting to come back to. 

 If said fears however stem from a real overload of work, and are not outside the norm of what you consider a usual day on the job, then begin looking at how you can cut down on your work hours or workload, and talk it out with a sit-down with your manager. It is important that you do not procrastinate on this step or write it off as unrealistic due to the expectations placed on you within your role – a lack of work-life balance will often manifest itself as a deep sense of dread as your return date approaches and should be treated as a matter of priority. 

 

Preparing For Your Return 

Where possible, a ‘buffer day’ in between your holiday ending and the next working day is a sound technique to catch up on emails, get a sense of what the week ahead is likely to entail, and to manage your diary effectively before you hit the office or turn your laptop on.  

Create a to-do list and prioritise tasks based on urgency and importance. This will help you focus on what needs to be done first and prevent feeling overwhelmed.  

Even creating a little time to physically unpack, rest, and mentally prepare for the return to the office can help during this transition and (hopefully) get you back on track. 

 

Just the Holiday Blues?…Or Something Deeper? 

 As the holiday ends and work looms, it’s natural to feel drained and apprehensive. But these feelings don’t necessarily signify dissatisfaction with one’s job. Holidays and time away offer a break from work stress, and readjusting to reality after such freedom can be tough for anyone. However, such feelings tend to fade with time and if any dissatisfaction with your work or job continues to persist, then it may signal deeper issues that are at play. If you find yourself consistently unhappy at the thought of returning to work, despite exhausting the strategies outlined above, then ask yourself the following question: 

 Are your concerns connected to your holiday at all – or is the unhappiness connected to the job itself? 

 As the question above implies, if your real problem with returning to work stems from struggles you often face within the workplace, whether that be a difficult manager, a lack of fulfilment, or certain tasks you dread having to do then a change of scenery is due – professionally speaking of course. While there are certainly less-than-desirable aspects of our jobs we all have to tolerate to some degree, none should lead to a brewing sense of dread at the thought of coming back to work. 

 Another good way to discern if this kind of change is what you really need is to look at what your career plan review has revealed about your ambitions, progress and satisfaction with work-life overall. Remember why you chose the role in the first place and whether reality is currently matching up with expectations when it comes to getting closer to your career goals. It will direct your attention towards the questions that matter most regarding your work life: 

  • Do you have a good working relationship with your colleagues and managers? 
  • Do you fit in with your company’s culture?
  • Is your remuneration and benefits package where it needs to be (and fair for your work and achievements)? 

If the answers to the above are a resounding ‘no’, then it’s a sign some big career decisions are going to have to be made. 

 

Time For A Career Change? 

If after giving it a good deal of thought, you find that post-holiday blues really aren’t the cause of your reluctance to return to the office, then you have some options on the table. The first is to have a sit-down with your manager regarding what can be done to improve the quality of your work life, whether that be by adjusting working hours, introducing some degree of flexibility into your role or reducing workload. 

If you can’t see a way to improve your working life, or if you are hitting the proverbial dead end when raising any issues or concerns with your current employer, seeking a new role may be the viable option to ensure your career path stays on track 

 The first step, of course, is to decide whether to go it alone and spend time researching opportunities in the market, your region, and your practice area and apply to vacancies advertised. 

 The alternative is to enlist the help of a reputable legal recruitment specialist who will search the market on your behalf, and present you with (often exclusive) roles that are designed to be the absolute best ‘fit’ for you and your requirements from your next employer. 

 

In Conclusion 

 Getting the work-life balance right is key to general happiness and satisfaction both in your role as a legal professional, and as an individual. Holidays – or more specifically, time away from work plays a huge part in this for both your mental and physical health, and finding time to switch off completely from the day job will only help you be more focused upon your return. 

 Taking time off from work can give you the space you need to learn about yourself, your passions, your interests, and your career – however much you are adamant that the complete switch-off will be just that. And should the holiday blues take hold at any point in the year after a lengthy break, recognising when it is what it looks like and when it may be something more is key. 

 

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 returning from holiday and dreading the working week ahead, or more generally need a new challenge or opportunity, we can help. Call us on 01772 259 121 or email us here.

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Posted By

Laura Lissett

Marketing Consultant

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The Impact of Personal Branding as a Legal Professional

 In the competitive landscape of the legal industry, understanding your strengths, weaknesses, and unique qualities is fundamental to individual success – whether you are looking at continued success and promotions in your current role, or are indeed starting to think about new opportunities in the market.  

For the latter, merely recognising these attributes isn’t enough; it’s about strategically leveraging them to enhance your professional profile and effectively communicate your value proposition to potential employers. In today’s evolving job market, cultivating a compelling personal brand is indispensable for legal professionals at any career stage. It serves as a powerful tool, not only in opening doors of opportunity but also in signalling a robust self-awareness, expertise, and dedication. A well-crafted personal brand doesn’t just highlight your potential for success; it embodies it, making you a natural choice for career advancement and recognition within the legal community. 

As accurately put by legal news publisher Legal Desire, a cultivated and well-honed personal brand is also needed to stand out in ‘the sea of legal knowledge’ – in order to give you a competitive leg-up, particularly when it comes to client acquisition, business development, and influencing stakeholders. Put simply, it can help to elevate your professional standing, gain trust and build a positive reputation within your own firm and wider network, a feat that will almost certainly serve you well in your longer-term career ambitions.   

With this in mind, we’ve outlined the key strategies you need to be implementing when looking to build a successful personal brand as a legal professional.  

  

Smarten Up Your Online Presence  

Nothing diminishes professional influence as much as an unprofessional online presence and any aiming to be taken seriously must first prove that they are deserving of such respect- whether that be on a professional platform or otherwise. Hence, due diligence must be conducted to ensure your digital footprint is tidy. Any rowdy Facebook pictures or LinkedIn interactions must be managed – either by being exceedingly careful with your what kind of content you decide to engage with, careful management of your privacy settings, using an anonymous profile name or getting rid of certain social channels altogether.  

It can also be useful to conduct an audit of your online presence through a quick Google search of yourself to find out if any damage control needs to be done on anything that could be viewed as unprofessional by senior leaders at your firm.  

 Replace any unsuitable pictures with well-taken, professional headshots and update your LinkedIn profile, so that it accurately reflects your values, ambitions and portrays exactly what you would want those in your network thinking about you. LinkedIn has evolved in more recent years, but is arguably still the channel where professionals converse, collaborate, and network – plus it can also be seen as your online CV. So, finding time to make sure it is on point is well-spent.  You could also join any relevant online groups or forums that might prove beneficial career-wise. If you have quite a bit to say about your professional credibility, you can let your achievements and personal interests do the talking for you on an online portfolio.  

Make Time To Network 

Spend as much time as you can networking with fellow competent and respected legal professionals in your field; the more connections you build with relevant people in your field, the more your reputation will grow. If you feel you lack the confidence to reach out, know you’re not alone – a lack of confidence when networking – whether face-to-face or virtually – is common – whatever profession you are in, but it is certainly a skill worth honing as the benefits far outweigh the perceived risk that any initial feeling of awkwardness or anxiety might project. Being as visible as possible in situations where you are surrounded by individuals equally passionate about something that resonates with you on a personal level or are leaders in your area of expertise, will significantly strengthen the potency of your personal brand and others’ perception of you – so do take advantage of such opportunities that come your way.  

Find Your Voice 

Whilst it may very much depend on your employer as to how comfortable they are with you posting on social media, utilising your knowledge and expertise in your practice area to create valuable, consistent content will go a step further in cementing your reputation and establishing a strong sense of thought-leadership in your brand. You may choose to do this in the form of a blog, a regular LinkedIn newsletter, or simply be an active ‘voice’ in online discussions around topics that interest you – in a professional sense of course (It goes without saying that you want to be mindful of jumping into any particularly controversial topics). 

Digital agency owner, Lara Acosta, writing recently for Forbes talks candidly about the various strategies she employed to grow an engaged following of 55k individuals on LinkedIn, stating that contrary to popular belief, it is not synonymous with ‘oversharing’. Rather, it involves looking at the six main components of content marketing: inspire, entertain, educate, promote, empower and validate – and choose to stick to one or several of those. This aspect of personal branding is very much focused on the relationship-building element; being ‘seen’, adding value, and then being discovered by association – to provide tangible benefit to your professional development or your firm’s growth plans for its business.   

Increase Your Value Through Continued Education 

One of the most important things to bear in mind regarding your personal brand is its continual growth. As the industry undergoes a constant evolution propelled by new technologies and emerging trends, it is becoming increasingly incumbent on legal professionals to proactively anticipate and adapt to these shifts to distinguish themselves in the profession.  

A continued commitment to education and staying abreast of current trends will ensure your personal brand maintains its relevance, no matter what direction the wind blows. This may involve honing soft skills like teamwork and communication, as well as periodically evaluating the currency of your technical expertise.  

A helpful approach to staying on course is to periodically compare your CV with job listings relevant to your interests. This allows you to observe any evolving requirements within those specifications. For example, many firms now seek legal professionals with specialised knowledge and a keen understanding of their clients’ businesses. An employee (or potential candidate) who is always on the lookout for and actively participates in activities that build networks and networking skills, will add significant value to their professional profile compared to those who show little interest in doing so.   

Ask Where You Need Development 

Sometimes, there might be a behaviour or skill gap you exhibit that is barring your way to promotion, and yet you may not even be aware of it. For example, you might be skilled in managing multiple caseloads as a commercial property solicitor, you may find yourself lacking the essential interpersonal skills necessary to effectively interview, advise or negotiate with clients or other professionals to secure agreed objectives.  

It’s also possible that the management in the business may be oblivious to your aspirations for promotion simply because you haven’t communicated it to them. Therefore you are better off being as clear about it as soon as possible, and so when the opportunity presents itself (perhaps at your next performance review) – take some time to discuss your goals and ambitions with them, bearing in mind that you make sure you ask what they believe you could work on to achieve your goals. Embrace all feedback – no matter how uncomfortable – and then begin outlining a step-by-step plan to make any necessary changes. In doing this, your manager will be very clear on your ambitions and will be able to advise on the steps necessary to help you get closer to your your stated goals.  

Building Trust: Harnessing Social Proof 

Leveraging social proof and testimonials is crucial for establishing credibility and trust within your industry – whether thats from clients you have worked with, or colleagues and managers that can sing your praises. By actively collecting testimonials, endorsements, and reviews from satisfied clients, colleagues, and industry peers, you can demonstrate the value and quality of your work. Plus, showcasing social proof of your expertise and accomplishments through case studies, success stories, awards, certifications, and media mentions further solidifies your reputation as a trusted authority in your field. These testimonials and examples of your achievements serve as powerful validation of your skills and capabilities, helping to attract new clients, opportunities, and partnerships while reinforcing your personal brand’s credibility. LinkedIn makes it easy to request endorsements, as well as display these on your personal profile. 

 

The potential that lies in a well-built personal brand is immense and the only limits to it are really your own imagination and willingness to grow. We hope these strategies have given you some food for thought and perhaps set you on the right path toward achieving your career goals.  

 

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

Joel Okoye

Digital Marketing Apprentice

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Cut The Chaff: Why Knowing What To Leave OFF Your CV Is As Important As What To Include

  • February 20, 2024

As one of the most important documents in the first stage of a legal candidate’s job search (alongside the LinkedIn profile), the CV is arguably an inexhaustible topic of discussion for hirers and legal professionals alike, particularly where relevance, structure and formatting are concerned. And although these are still very much pertinent, an equally crucial – and often overlooked – aspect of CV crafting is the skill of knowing what has no place on it, and what can be detrimental to its effectiveness.  

Spending time reviewing and improving your CV is undoubtedly time well spent, although you should never just cram it with additional points if they aren’t going to add value to any application or to enhance your profile. 

Ensuring there is the right amount of information on the document to demonstrate suitability for the role is important, but it’s a fine balance to ensure that it is to the point and not full of distractions or waffle – especially when you consider that hiring managers and recruiters take only a few seconds to scan the document and make a decision to progress, or not. 

As such, it’s always worth considering what information serves little to no purpose in your CV and worse, is potentially squandering your prospects altogether…  

Less is More 

Starting with the often-overlooked but opening information, things like your age, marital status, and arguably personal hobbies should not be in your CV as they not only hold little relevance to the position (and thus, little value to a hirer ) but they can potentially prove detrimental to your efforts, as in having them present they waste the precious time your CV has been afforded to catch a hiring manager’s eye, and can introduce an unconscious bias towards applicants of certain age groups or demographic.  

If you do want to add in a short section about interests outside of work, it’s usually best to give this no more than a few lines – you can always leave talking about this personal element in your profile to the interview itself. These should also fit in with the professional persona you wish to portray = so talking about how you love going out with your friends on an evening, or a vanilla ‘I like doing exercise’ are taking up precious real estate on the page that can be much better-utilised. 

Cull the Obvious 

Similarly, any notices informing employers that ‘references are available upon request’ are unnecessary and should be taken out. This is already implied through your job application itself and so is an obvious fact that doesn’t need reiterating in your CV. The same thing applies to any ‘salary negotiable’ statements – this is not new or unexpected information to employers and is needlessly taking up space. Ultimately, any generalist information that doesn’t communicate what the hiring firm will be looking for in your CV shouldn’t be included and failure to keep your CV clutter-free can give off the impression that little effort has gone into tailoring it for the role, and that it is being used as a catch-all document for multiple job applications. 

If you’re wondering why that might be that off-putting to recruiting firms, it is because it is one of the tell-tale signs of a spray-and-pray job application approach. And whether intentional or not, it is a surefire way to get yours binned. 

Avoid the Jobseeker Jargon Trap 

Pertinent to this is the common mistake of peppering a CV with all sorts of jargon and cliches, which is just as damaging to a candidate’s prospects if not more. When writing a CV to present as compelling a narrative of your professional journey as possible, the use of certain phrases or buzzwords to ‘doll up’ one’s profile can be a tempting move (and it may be the case that these have slipped into your vernacular simply due to ignorance); however, is an all-too-familiar ploy to employers, and an eyesore they will readily want to avoid, especially if such statements or phrases aren’t backed up by any quantifiable evidence.  

The language you use to highlight your skills and suitability is every bit as important as the information it is trying to convey and requires just as much thought and consideration. As such, a sense check of where your CV leans more on generic statements instead of measurable results, and how it can be better-written is essential if you’re aiming to craft one that catches the eye. 

With the widespread adoption of the likes of ChatGPT and other AI tools, it’s also worth considering how such tools can help (or hinder) in this regard. 

If you do choose to utilise an AI tool to support, it is a well-known no-no to write the whole document from scratch, simply because it increases the likelihood of fabricated details being added to your draft. A better approach would be to do it section by section, beginning with your personal statement, then your experience & responsibilities, then your achievements, and so on. This not only helps to avoid having false information but it also makes it easier to spot it as you work through your draft section by section, should it still be added in, and allows you to better format your CV while doing so. 

Click here for more information on how to avoid the jobseeker jargon trap. 

Filter Out the Chaff 

This applies to any other kind of passive language present in your CV or anything speculative, such as extensive lists of job roles and responsibilities without any relevant accomplishments. A career is not something that just happened to you and should never be treated as such by the language you use to describe why you are a good fit for the role.  

Your CV should be filled with examples where you actively take credit for your work and achievements to quantify your value as a potential hire, and where this is absent it signals a lack of confidence in your suitability as a candidate to hirers, which can seriously hurt your chances of employment. Remember that firms want to ensure their investment in a candidate is going to yield encouraging results, and if your CV doesn’t give them the impression that you are worth that investment, they will waste no time with time consuming interview process. 

Finally, 

When it comes to the communication of information through any media, what is said is so often what comprises the subject of discussion, when it is really how such information is structured and conveyed and – at times, what is omitted – that tends to make the difference in how it is processed and interpreted.  

This is what underpins the skill of CV crafting and where the ones that top the pile shine – no matter the role, specialism or sector in question. When every second counts with your prospects on the line, your CV needs to sell you in as clear and compelling a manner as possible – a feat we as recruiters are very much aware can be tricky at times, even for the most experienced of legal professionals. That’s why at Clayton Legal, our expertise goes beyond  the often perceived ‘transactional’ process of matching CVs to open roles. 

We are every bit as committed to empowering the legal professionals we work with to present themselves as the first choice hire, whether that be at the initial screening or interview stages. If your next career move seems to be very much on the horizon but needs clarity with regard to the way forward, we are here to help. Give us a call on 01772 259 121 or contact us here. 

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LinkedIn 101: Creating a Stand-Out Profile

When it comes to selling your value to recruiters and hirers alike, there is always some due diligence and preparation needed in order to ensure your digital profile is up to date and really sells the value you will offer to a new employer. 

Getting your CV up to date and reviewed is the most obvious first step as this humble document is still the main catalyst to displaying and demonstrating your skills and experience. 

However your LinkedIn profile is often seen as the digital version of your CV and more often than not, will be viewed in parallel with any documents you send directly in the application for a new role. Ignoring this as a marketing channel to ‘sell’ you and your suitability is a mistake some jobseekers make – but the truth is, it should be given the same care and attention as your physical CV, if not more. 

As the world’s biggest professional platform with over a billion users currently registered, LinkedIn is the place to broadcast your value as a legal professional and if utilised properly, can convey this in the most interactive and engaging of ways  ways that a CV alone can never achieve. The benefits it can provide and the edge it gives candidates willing to invest in maximising its potential are numerous and at times, it can be the only thing one actually needs to get a foot through the door of prospective hirers, particularly if you aren’t actively looking for a new opportunity, but would be open to speculative conversations about what’s out there. 

Here we look at why a polished LinkedIn profile is indispensable to your job search in the modern age and the quick, easy wins you can amass using a well-crafted profile to help earn – and cement – a place in a hirer’s shortlist. 

Headlines And Pronouns   

When talking about selling yourself, fewer things make more of a difference in your efforts than a strong first impression. As the first piece of text a recruiter or potential hiring manager will see and the second thing that will tell them about who you are, your headline is what will give the first impression of your skills, credentials and suitability for a role, and you have no more than 220 characters to make it count.  

It might be tempting to go with a simple “ Paralegal at X Company” but to hiring firms this is of little – if any – value. Rather, it is best, according to Mimax Senior Talent Partner Margaret Buj, to go with one of the below formats. You can choose any of the 3, depending on your PQE level, experience and skills but you’ll notice that each one concisely showcases your value in some way to prospective employers. This is because the key to writing a headline that captures attention, whatever the structure used is to succinctly paraphrase what you do and what you bring to the table.   

  1. Role & Specific achievement, e.g. Solicitor at BLM.  X (significant) deals closed/X high-profile cases won.
  2. Role & Years of Experience in practice area(s) and region, e.g. Solicitor at BLM. 5+ years of experience in dealing with insurance litigation, housing disrepairs and property damage in Liverpool.
  3. Role & what your expertise is, e.g. Senior Lawyer at BLM. Business Ethics & Management, London. 

You can also add a few other things that make it easier for hirers to identify you in your headline, such as pronouns. The use of pronouns lets hiring managers, colleagues or online connections know how to address you and avoid any misconceptions.   

Fix Up – Look Sharp 

We live in an era where by and large, seeing is believing, and it is well-documented how influential imagery and media can be in any context, let alone when you want your profile to be viewed by potential hirers. 

 As such, a profile photo is more of a necessity than a luxury to your job searching efforts should you be looking to remain as visible as possible to prospective employers. As it is right at the introduction section of your profile, it is very likely the first thing people will see immediately after they land on your page and whether consciously or subconsciously, the first thing with which you will be assessed both as an individual and a professional. 

Now, to some this is seen as a potential hurdle to their job-searching efforts, as a photo can be a source of discrimination, considering it can also display ethnicity, age, gender, religion and more. While it is an unfortunate reality that certain individuals, hirers included, can write off a potential candidate with unconscious bias, it still serves you well to include a well-taken photo in your profile. There are a few reasons for this:  

Firstly, from a purely technical standpoint, profiles without a photo on LinkedIn are categorised by the algorithm as incomplete and are therefore less likely to show up in the search results to hirers and/or recruiters looking for profiles similar to yours.  

They also appear inauthentic, as profiles usually tagged as fake are those assumed to be the ones without a photo to showcase proof of identity.   

A photoless profile can also lead to a perceived lack of professionalism or ability to utilise LinkedIn, as to many hiring managers, it can be inexcusable to not have one considering the level of technology candidates have at their disposal to get one of good quality.  

On that note, it is only photos of such standard that will be deemed acceptable and not just any photo will do, so deliberate effort must be taken to ensure a photo that showcases a good blend of professionalism and personality is used. Remember that your photo is what will most strongly be associated with your professional image and reputation, and what you carry everywhere with you, whether on LinkedIn, another platform or in real life. If your photo is taken on an evening out with friends from several years ago, then it is absolutely right to review and replace with something that illustrates who you are on a professional platform.  

Are You Easy to Contact? 

If your profile has garnered the attention of a recruiter or hiring manager, and boxes are being ticked on potential suitability for a role, the next step is to make direct contact.  

The quickest way to kill your chances of being selected however is a failure to include basic contact details like a phone number and an (appropriate) email address – something a surprising number of candidates still fail to check.  

Make sure these are all present and clearly visible in your profile, and that the email address provided is as professional and easy to read as can be. Avoid the likes of informal addresses like tenerifedan69@gmail.com or something indicating personal information as this can trigger subconscious biases. Ensure that this sense of professionalism is reflected in other details present in your profile such as your LinkedIn URL and any possible links to portfolios or achievements and keep them short, clean and easy to access.   

If you wish to add anything you have written such as white papers written papers or links to any recorded work done at conferences or events, then you can include them in your featured section. Regardless of where you add them though, make sure these are present in your profile if possible, as they give recruiters a chance to see more of what you can dover and above generic job descriptions and your ‘About’ section.  

Your About Section  

Contrary to what some may think, this is not a simple regurgitation of what skills and credentials you’ve got on your CV. It is your opportunity to buttress your case for your suitability and is what people will be next interested in if your headline catches their eye.  

 Think of it as an extension of this part of your profile – if your headline sparks the interest then your About section will do the heavy lifting when it comes to converting that interest to action. Therefore, make the best use of the 2000 characters you are given in this section to write relevant, useful information that sells your skillset and any successes you have seen (that is attractive to potential employers). 

 Some examples of ‘what good looks like’ from LinkedIn themselves can be found HERE which may give you an idea of how to give yours an upgrade.  

Putting Your Best Foot Forward

Underneath your photo and headline you will see buttons that allow you ‘add profile section’ or add a frame to your profile picture. Both can be useful in providing more information on your job-seeking status, as well as adding more depth and insight to your personal profile and achievements. 

 The ‘open to’ button will give you three options, but as a jobseeker the one to select is ‘open to work’. If you are currently not employed this is one of the easiest ways to let recruiters and hiring managers know you are a potential candidate without even clicking on your profile. Failure to have to take this step can actually keep you out of an employer’s shortlist, as it may lead them to assume you are not open to any potential opportunities. However it goes without saying that caution should be taken if you are currently employed and your current employer is not aware of you looking for a new role.  

In the ‘add profile section’ you can add core information (education, skills), recommended (certifications, courses, links to white papers or presentations you’ve delivered), and additional (pro bono work, languages spoken, test results and more). 

Whichever section you choose to enhance, we recommend that you write this first person to avoid sounding pretentious, and to give readers a little flavour of your personality. Do you volunteer? Can you speak Russian? No one wants to hire a robot, and these added extras can help to make you more of an attractive prospect to would-be recruiters and employers.  

That said, ensure that, whatever you choose to add either in this section or throughout your profile, they tick the below boxes:  

  • Does it showcase your competence as a legal professional? 
  • Does it communicate your value, with supporting evidence? 
  • Does it help you stand out?  

Walk the Walk and Talk the (Right) Talk  

Equally important to your job-searching efforts is what you actually say and do on the platform, as this can often tell hirers and recruiters a lot about who you are and whether or not you are worth their attention, without even clicking on your profile.  

The content you post, repost, share and take the time to comment on communicates how you want others to interact with you on the platform, whether you are aware of this or not. 

Therefore, ensure that you have no track record of any ill or inappropriate communication on your profile and the content you interact with. Get rid of any comments that are distasteful, controversial, or aggressive in nature and keep your feed as clear of such content as possible. This is not to say that personality is unwelcome on LinkedIn but it should not be at the expense of your professional reputation and especially, your job-hunting prospects.  

Instead, focus on sharing content that showcases and demonstrates your commitment to professionalism, growth and value in your area of expertise. This will tell anyone that sees you on the platform through your interactions that you are a communicator who likes to stay on top of their game and has a finger on the pulse of the industry and specialism.  

Do you share (and comment on) 3rd party news relevant to your practice area? Do you champion awards or events linked to your current firm, or the wider legal industry? If so – it’s always worth glancing at your own feed from time to time to sense-check how those looking at your profile see your activity and how you interact with your own professional network. 

Similarly, if you list networking or relationship-building as a skill, but your feed is like a ghost town – there is also a disconnect, so will need amending where necessary.  

It’s not (Just) What You Know… 

 Following on from this point, capitalise on endorsements from colleagues and clients as these can be significant green ticks to employers and recruiters. Social proof remains a great influencer in people’s decision to ‘buy’ or in this case, get in touch to find out more information and whether online or otherwise, should not be dismissed as a waste of space to include in your profile.  

Any recommendations or endorsements you have acquired, you should be adding regularly and if you don’t have any, don’t be afraid to ask. You will be surprised how willing people can be to give you a recommendation (especially ifyou offer to give one back in return). 

Finally, 

The key to building a standout LinkedIn profile starts with all of the above but it certainly doesn’t stop there. Your reputation is only as good as the amount of investment you put into maintaining it, and this applies on LinkedIn just as much as it does in real life, so establish a routine that helps you stay on top of your online presence and keeps your status up to date. 

In today’s dynamic professional landscape, maintaining an up-to-date LinkedIn profile is not just a formality; it’s a strategic necessity. Your LinkedIn presence serves as a digital representation of your career journey, skills, and aspirations. It’s often the first impression you make on potential employers, recruiters, clients, and collaborators. By keeping your profile current, you signal to others that you’re actively engaged in your field, open to new opportunities, and committed to professional growth.   

Furthermore, a well-maintained LinkedIn profile can enhance your visibility, credibility, and networking capabilities, ultimately opening doors to unexpected opportunities and fostering meaningful connections.  

 So, whether you’re actively job hunting or content in your current role, investing time in curating your LinkedIn profile is a proactive step towards shaping your professional narrative and advancing your career journey. 

  

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.  

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Posted By

Joel Okoye

Digital Marketing Apprentice

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The Boomerang Dilemma: Is the Reward Worth the Risk?

If you have started the new year with a feeling of discontent with your current legal role, you may have already started to consider what those crucial next steps look like.

At this crossroads, there are a number of options available, but crucially they boil down to two choices.

 

1. Speak up and express your unhappiness with your current employer. Depending on the root cause, it may be something that can be addressed and overcome or worked through. There may be a lateral move internally for example that would be worth considering, or a review of your working arrangements.

2. Consider other opportunities in the market. Whilst general hiring trends indicated a dip in the sector in 2023, vacancies were by and large still above pre-pandemic levels, and there is most certainly a wide range of roles available to those looking at pastures anew.

If you have found yourself in the second category, either by proxy, if all elements have been explored in option 1, or you feel it is simply the right ‘time’ there is also another route available that has seemed to gain momentum in the last 12 months – returning to an ex-employer.

The Boomerang Phenomenon

If you have ever considered the possibility of returning to a former employer, you’re not alone. Welcome to the intriguing concept of “boomerang hires” – a phenomenon that is reshaping the way we view career trajectories – and one that has gained popularity in recent months.

As the term coined implies, put simply it means returning or circling back to a previous workplace – whether that’s because you are seeking a fresh start somewhere else, or are aiming to rediscover a company culture that you once thrived in.

According to a recent article in the Harvard Business Review, research has shown that boomeranging was previously quite rare. However, more recent studies have found that across a wide range of industries, nearly 20% of workers who quit their jobs during the pandemic have since returned to their old employers.

These boomerang individuals present a big opportunity for law firms who are starting to look at this option as a strategic recruitment tool, and also present a solution to the industry-wide skills shortage that continues to be a challenge for firms in the hiring market today.

(It also consequently presents a major risk with respect to retention, as new hires may be increasingly liable to boomerang back to their previous organisations.)

As far as jobseekers go, however, as with any move, there are obvious benefits as well as challenges to consider >>>

Familiar Territory

Perhaps boomeranging’s biggest selling point is the familiarity it offers. Starting a new job is so often filled with uncertainty around things like fitting in, making a good first impression, and adapting to a new firm culture, all of which can slow down that bedding-in process and affect performance in those first crucial weeks on the job, especially if it’s one very different to what the norm used to be.

Making a return to familiar territory expedites this acclimatisation period, as not only is there far less of a learning curve skill-wise during the onboarding process compared to your first time as a new starter, but the knowledge and understanding you have of the business’s ways of working and dynamics helps to bypass many of the above challenges and quickly hit the ground running.

Refreshed Perspective

Career growth often entails exploring different opportunities and gaining diverse experiences and at times a step back may be needed in order to take a leap forward. Some employees leave their previous employers in search of better prospects in their line of work, only to realise that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side and consequently, return with not only a refreshed perspective but also a great deal of experience and know-how their previous employer can greatly benefit from, particularly if they joined a competitor.

This puts returning employees in a great position when it comes to career prospects, particularly if the relationship between both parties pre-departure was built on mutual respect and as a result, they are better placed to get a job offer that reflects their value to the hiring firm in the form of a higher position or opportunities for progression.

When to Think Twice…

It is crucial to remember, however, that these benefits are very much dependent on the kind of firm and working environment you are returning to. If the reasons for your initial departure centre around an unhealthy company culture, a lack of growth opportunities, flexibility or limited upward mobility, returning by no means guarantees or even promises any significant changes. Some firms are resistant to change, and if the reasons that prompted you to leave remain unaddressed, chances are you will be facing the same challenges upon your return. Before deciding to boomerang, it’s imperative you assess whether your ex-employer has taken steps to improve the aspects that initially led to your departure – or whether you have overcome those reasons yourself.

Salary Growth Limitations

One of the most likely reasons a move back to a previous employer is ever on the cards is the prospect of salary growth and improved compensation. As discussed earlier, it is one legal professionals can often feel more entitled to considering the skills, knowledge and experience they are bringing with them upon their return and certainly now more than ever in the current market, with the average salary increase for job hoppers higher (14.8%) found to be higher than those of professionals that stayed put (2-4%). However, a word of warning here – as a decision to boomerang based on salary incentives alone is an ill-advised one. Boomerang employees who expect their salary to match the increase they may have achieved after leaving may face disappointment, as employers will be hiring a lot more for fit rather than solely skill and will see this strategy coming from a mile away. There’s also the fact that even if you do get the salary increase you’re looking for, it may turn out to be the only silver lining in your move back if you happen to be returning to colleagues unhappy with the circumstances around which you and your employer parted ways.

Water Under the Bridge

Another note to consider is how and under what circumstances you left your previous employer. Was this on good terms?  This is a key thing to take into consideration when exploring the idea of returning to a previous employer, as that may dictate the terms of your relationship with present employees should you decide to boomerang. Remember that it is not only old relationships you will be returning to when you do, but also the impression you left on colleagues with your exit. With any luck you will have resigned gracefully, so a return back to the fold will be seamless – and welcome.

This also swings both ways. If feelings of bitterness or uncertainty are present due to redundancy or parting on bad terms, then it can be difficult to turn over a new leaf without harbouring a grudge or even a sense of guilt, especially if your departure was recent. According to certified life and career coach Emily Liou, a good way to determine if boomeranging is the best decision is to consider the following:

  • If your return is driven by ego, i.e. a desire to prove a point that they should’ve never let you go.
  • If there is a strong sense of scepticism regarding the integrity of the management.
  • If there is a loss of respect for the employer due to how previous layoffs were handled.

If the answer is ‘yes’ to one or all of these, it is probably not the best move to return.

Context, however, is always key no matter what way you look at a dilemma of this nature as another angle worth considering is the reason for your exit if you were laid off. If such reasons are economic and the departure was handled with respect and sensitivity, then yes, a move back can possibly be on the cards – if it is in line with present career aspirations.

Keeping Career Goals on Track

Perhaps the most important thing to consider of all is where a possible return is going to take you career-wise. Judging by where you are at present in your legal career, will it bring an upward trajectory to your career growth in the next few years is this more of a lateral move?

Whatever your reasons for or against a move back, remember that your future career goals and objectives should take absolute precedence in your decision-making and should be the biggest driver of any desire to move roles, or indeed, boomerang. T

To this end, a regular check-in and period of self-reflection regarding your progress is paramount. Your vision for your development as a professional, and the path to get you there should always be clear and if it isn’t then a snapshot of what it currently looks like it is in order. Our simple checklist can help to identify where that gap between aspirations and reality is and help you get a sense-check of your present objectives, so that you make the best decision for your career, whether that be a boomerang move or otherwise.

Unsure of Which Direction to Take?

If you’re stood at those crossroads and find that you need more guidance than a simple checklist can provide, and bit of expert advice to make those next few steps in the right direction can be hugely valuable.

At Clayton Legal, we work closely with hundreds of legal professionals who are either actively searching for a new opportunity in the market, as well as those who aren’t quite at that juncture yet.

We don’t believe in recommending roles that aren’t a good fit for your skills or aspirations, and will always provide an honest (and impartial) service which means putting ALL options on the table so that you have all bases covered.

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 – whether that’s on a contingency or retained basis.

Call us on 01772 259 121 or email us here.

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Posted By

Joel Okoye

Digital Marketing Apprentice

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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 in light of where you aim to be. When you dig a little deeper, is everything working out as you expected? Or do you need to make some changes in order to stay on track to meeting 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 where you stand at present career-wise and whether you’re on the right track.

When you work through this checklist, it is essential to bear in mind the reasons you are where you are in the first place.

What did you set out to achieve in your career – and what does doing so look like up to this point? Did you plan on meeting certain financial goals by this stage of your career or have your ambitions been driven by more personal goals?

An equally important point to consider is what you value most about the firm you work for. Do your values fit in with what the firm’s culture prioritises? Is there a synergy present in your working relationships with your colleagues and managers?

If you find that your current role or firm is not providing the satisfaction you had hoped it would, or that the pace of your progress has gradually petered out, then it could be a sign that some important decisions need to be made regarding your career sooner rather than later.

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!

Things aren’t going to plan, and you are probably not enjoying life in your current role. We suggest taking some time to reflect on the possible reasons behind your dissatisfaction and what needs to change to have them resolved. This can be anything from your current workload and position within your team to your working environment and even your practice area.

 

41-60

Room for More

A better score, which suggests there are aspects of your job you enjoy but also a lot of room for improvement. For example, you might like the people you work with, but feel that there is a lack of support present within management to help you meet medium or long-term career goals. You will need to find out if there is any commitment on the part of the management team to implement changes, and assess how concrete said plans for change are. Speak with your manager and outline your concerns as well as what plans they have in this regard. Whatever the outcome of the conversation, you will have either gotten a clearer picture of what your future at the firm looks like or a clear indication that your tenure there has run its course.

 

61-80

Meeting Some Goals

You’re neither happy nor unhappy, though you wouldn’t describe yourself as entirely satisfied. Meaning that if the right opportunity came your way, you would be weighing up your options. Whenever you feel this way it’s important to bear in mind that sometimes the grass isn’t always greener on the other side. If you’re leaning towards a move away from your firm, have a think of why this is your preferred option. What you want to be sure of is that there is no impulsivity driving your decision-making and that an exit is needed because of a bad career move, not a bad day at the office.

 

81+

Loving Life and Your Job

You are achieving your goals, meeting targets and enjoy life where you work. There may be elements of your work life that you feel could be better, but they aren’t big enough of a negative to make you consider working elsewhere. However, we suggest you don’t let complacency set in, as being in your comfort zone for a certain period of time can sometimes lead to that and prove counterproductive to your progress in the long run. If you find that despite being happy with where you are in your career, you haven’t taken any major steps forward in the last year or two, then a fresh challenge could be the jumpstarter you need.

 

Hopefully this checklist has prompted you to think harder about your career goals – and whether or not you are on track to achieve those with your current employer. If the final score however has intimated a change may be afoot, your next wise move is to call on the expertise of a recruitment specialist who can further challenge those thoughts; find out exactly what you are looking for from an employer and uncover the potential reasons you are ready to look at new opportunities in the market.

At Clayton Legal, we have been committed for the past 20 plus years to helping legal professionals build a career they can be proud of, whatever stage of their journey they might be at. If you are at a point where that next step in your legal career is unclear going into the new year, then we can give you the guidance you need to make your start in 2024 the strongest possible one. Give our team a call today on 01772 259 121 or contact us here.

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Posted By

Lynn Sedgwick

Managing Director

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The Importance of Networking (and Casting That Net Wide)

  • January 8, 2024

Networking doesn’t necessarily come easy to everyone, and sometimes even the thought of it can be met with apprehension or worse, sheer anxiety when placed in a situation that can be emotionally or mentally draining.

That being said, investing time to hone your skills will pay dividends in the long run, especially in today’s highly competitive legal landscape where networking will not only help you to expand your client base but also provide opportunities for mentorship, career growth, and collaboration.

As an essential skill, networking has huge potential to open up new opportunities for aspiring legal professionals and play a major part in their career success. And, whilst it’s a given that not everyone is comfortable networking, all lawyers should at least be competent if they want their skills to advance. You might be worried about what to say, or how to introduce yourself to new people, especially if you’re surrounded by reputable professionals, but, in reality, it’s relatively easy to become a pro with a little bit of extra practice. Here are some key tips to keep in mind.

Seek Guidance from a Fellow Professional  

Consider who you know to be an impressive networker and could provide you with some helpful advice on how to approach it to form professional bonds. This could be a family member or friend, colleague or even someone from your time at university or law school. At the very least, they are likely to let you bounce some ideas off them which will enable you to sharpen and hone your skills.

Be proactive

Waiting for networking opportunities to come your way won’t yield significant results – you need to be proactive. Take the initiative to attend industry events, seminars, conferences, and bar association meetings. Through your employment at a law firm, you will no doubt have exposure, and be invited to join more formal legal networking events. However, do seek out other associations that can equally provide fantastic opportunities to widen the net in your professional network. As a newly qualified lawyer, there are Junior Lawyers Divisions set up locally and regionally, as well as Trainee Solicitor Groups for those yet to qualify. These will give you a great foundation and springboard to networking in usually informal settings, yet still add a huge amount of value to those starting out in their legal career.

Always Come Prepared

Perhaps an old-school networking method, but still an effective one, having a business card on hand can be extremely useful when actively networking with legal professionals, and even more so in the non-professional conversations you have on a daily basis that could give rise to networking opportunities. When they come your way, you want to have a way of capitalising on them. This leads to an even more important factor in networking – having an ‘Always On’ mindset is crucial if you want to do this as effectively as possible. While you don’t need to shoehorn your career passion into every interaction, looking at networking this way can help you improve your social skills in these lower-risk’ situations and build confidence for the bigger conversations you might have with employers or reputable professionals down the line.

When it comes to preparation in the more conventional sense, a set of simple but clear pointers is your best friend, no matter the size or type of network event you are attending. As these events are ultimately about getting you in front of, and eventually front of mind of other like-minded legal professionals, it is essential that on the day you are confident in your ability to navigate the most common social scenarios you find yourself in.

Set Realistic Targets

This starts with going in with realistic expectations about your interactions at the event. Under no circumstance should you be expecting yourself to speak to the majority of people at any event, whether that be an event of 50 or 500. Consider your reasons for being there in the first place. Are you looking for new commercial opportunities or are you perhaps lining up your potential next employer? This will help you narrow down the scope of your search for individuals to speak with to a select few targets, and make planning for those conversations far easier and consequently more productive.

Your next step should then be to ensure you have a few pointers in mind about said conversations, how to begin them and keep them going. A simple but firm handshake and a brief introduction of yourself, your work and what you wish to speak about, before asking them about theirs, should be enough. Avoid kicking things off by firing questions at them as it disregards the other person’s involvement in the conversation and is a quick way to get them uncomfortable with talking about themselves to you.

Prepare Your Pitch

One of the most important parts of networking is your initial pitch – and first impressions count.  How will you introduce and describe yourself to people in an engaging yet concise way? Again, the best way to do this effectively is to get feedback from fellow professionals in your network; ask them to listen to your pitch and offer constructive criticism if required. However, you should also be careful not to over-rehearse, nothing sounds less authentic than an overly polished introduction.

Find Common Ground

In terms of the content of the conversation itself, this will vary depending on who you meet on the day of course, but there are certain scenarios you can prep for beforehand. For example, if you know a certain guest or speaker will be present at the event, then you should be doing your research on their background – where they graduated from/are studying, what law firm they work at and what their own personal interests are.

The best networkers don’t just stick to the stuffier topics when networking. They recognise it’s about showing empathy and finding out more about the person that they’re talking to. And, after all, most lawyers like talking about themselves so finding common ground is of paramount importance. Whether that’s football, cycling, your children or anything else you can think of, it’s easier to build stronger relationships if you have some sort of shared interest.

Your research should not just be limited to LinkedIn or a simple Google search either, or even the person themselves, but also around what you find out about the above areas like the university or law firm they studied/work at. These can commonly be found in any interviews, podcasts or panels they’ve spoken at. The reason for this is that in reality most legal professionals attending the event will already have done their research on at least a surface level, and will therefore ask largely the same questions like: what motivated you to move into this profession, what are your personal interests outside of work, etc. which the person in question will quickly find boring.

As your goal for attending the event is to build lasting relationships and expand your network, particularly with well-known legal professionals, you need to ensure you leave as strong an impression as possible on with whom you are speaking and to do that you need to make it less like an interview and more like an opportunity to talk about their most enjoyable aspects of their life/career. For example, if you have already done your homework on the above and know they happen to also regularly play badminton in their downtime, you could ask a question like:

“I found out in your interview with X talk show that you’re really into your badminton and I also happen to love playing with my friends on the weekend! I was wondering how you manage to fit it around your schedule considering your line of work demands so much of your time. Is it a serious interest you have outside of work?”

See the difference between this and a casual ‘How do you balance work with personal hobbies’ question? While the latter really only is concerned about what the answer is, the former takes care to make it relevant and personable to both parties with the aim of learning more about the person, thereby making the chances of getting an equally engaging and unscripted answer more likely.

Follow Up

It’s all well and good meeting people at an event, but it means little if you don’t keep the conversations going by following them up. If it helps, make a short note on the business cards that you’re given to remind you about the individual and then follow up on any information you promised to send over the next day. This leads on to another key point; the importance of reciprocity. People are likely to feel much more inclined to help you if you can offer something that helps them. That means if you know a solution to a problem that someone you met was struggling with, pass it across to them. People are more likely to remember you based on how you make them feel, and one of the easiest ways to do this is to make their lives easier by addressing problems they have. This is how you facilitate reciprocity in professional relationships.

Find value in online networking

Whilst face-to-face interaction is perhaps the first thing that springs to mind when you think of ‘networking’ in today’s digital age, some of the most invaluable opportunities to connect with professionals outside of one’s local vicinity comes from online networking. Platforms like LinkedIn offer a wealth of resources for lawyers to showcase their expertise, connect with peers, join industry-specific groups, and share valuable insights through thought leadership content. Actively participating in online discussions and engaging with other professionals worldwide can equally be hugely beneficial in building your personal brand, marketing your services and that of your firm, and gaining insight and updates relating to your specific role and practice area. For legal-specific online networks, groups like the Junior Solicitors Network are also a virtual hive of activity, giving members access to news and resources to support career and personal development, as well as opportunities to connect with other legal professionals.

In conclusion

Networking in the legal sector isn’t straightforward and some professionals will find it much more difficult than others, whilst others may decide to avoid it altogether.

However, learning the skills around professional networking is essential for lawyers looking to thrive in the legal industry – not only forging strong relationships for their own career and professional development, but using it as an opportunity to market yourself (and your firm) to potential stakeholders and clients.  

By being proactive, building genuine relationships, utilising online platforms, and staying connected, legal professionals can create a robust professional network that opens doors to new opportunities, enhances their careers, and contributes to long-term success.

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 – whether that’s on a contingency or retained basis.  

Call us on 01772 259 121 or email us here

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Take The Stress Out Of Your Legal Job Search: Use A Specialist Recruiter

  • November 1, 2023

The amount of stress that searching for the right role to advance one’s career can cause, is no secret to any legal professional. Time constraints, mounting case workloads and the resulting pressure to juggle work and personal commitments are just some of the struggles candidates often have to deal with. And that’s not even mentioning the rejection emails or calls jobseekers will inevitably have to face as part of the process, before beginning to make headway in their job search.

While a little stress can be useful for certain situations, high stress levels can quickly wear us down and drain our mental resources, robbing us of the energy, motivation and headspace we need to tackle daily challenges head-on. As many as 79% of workers around the UK have cited the source of their stress to be work-related this year, with 74% saying it has reached a level that has made them unable to cope.

Considering how demanding job-searching can be, having to deal with unbearable levels of stress is not exactly helpful when needing to be on your A-game to network effectively and make the best possible impression on prospective employers.

This is where the option of enlisting the help of a specialist recruiter would be a game-changer for legal candidates. Not only does it save you an inordinate amount of time, but it spares you the hassle you would otherwise have to contend with if you were job-hunting alone.

Here are just some of the many benefits you can gain from working with one:

A Time-Efficient Job Search

Many will be well aware of how daunting and time-consuming a job search can be, especially if you’re already employed and are trying to find a better role elsewhere. Being one of your most important resources as a legal professional, you stand to benefit greatly from utilising the services of a specialist recruiter as it significantly cuts down the time spent on scouring job boards and websites. Due to the vast network, connections and knowledge they possess of the industry, they are in the best position to find you a role that ticks all your boxes. As a result, what might have taken you months can easily be achieved in weeks or even days.

In some cases, consultants will already know in advance if a particular firm is actively on the hiring market before a vacancy is even posted. Leading firms often utilise agencies, because it’s a more efficient way for them to hire the right person. Rather than searching for opportunities that may not be visible online, you could save a considerable amount of time by working with an expert.

Valuable Market Insight & Access to Connections

While job boards can be a useful resource for identifying opportunities, firms will often opt to use their network and their recruitment company’s network to seek the right people for most fee-earner/niche roles, rather than advertising them online. The reason for this is that candidates who are right for these particular roles are often in demand and are either not on the market or are not actively seeking new employment opportunities. With a skills-short market currently making the fight for top legal talent more intense than ever, prospective employers are far more likely to rely on the help of a specialist legal recruiter to source the right candidate for their firm.

With a recruiter on-hand, you gain instant access to the information they hold about all relevant roles in the industry and current trends in the market. A good specialist recruiter will utilise the insight their network provides them to find the right fit for you, culture and skills-wise. By acting as a representative for both you and the firm, a specialist recruiter will facilitate the communication process, and ensure that the firm you are interested in is a good cultural fit for you.

Expert Guidance to Boost Interview Performance

Certainly, the most stressful part of searching for any new job is the dreaded interview stage which can be particularly daunting if it has been a while since your last interview. That’s where a specialist recruiter earns their keep, as they exist to make all parts of the transition from your current role to a new one as stress-free as possible. They are therefore always on-hand to help you prepare for the big day and offer career-specific guidance on how to approach your interview preparation accordingly.

As they are well-informed of the current hiring trends and practices adopted by employers, it is undoubtedly in your best interest to take onboard any advice they give regarding common and tricky interview questions, body language and even things like dress code and travel logistics.

They Will Negotiate the Best Deal for You

Getting an offer of employment for a role that you’ve long been in search for is half the battle; the other half is of course getting what you want (what you feel you’re worth) in terms of remuneration. Salary negotiation can often be a tricky and awkward conversation with a future employer, especially at such a sensitive stage of your relationship, and so it is best to let a legal recruiter handle such discourse. In addition to ensuring that you get the best possible deal when it comes to pay and benefits, they will also iron out other important parts of the deal such as notice periods, start dates and career development opportunities available to you in your new role.

Personalised Support – Your Success is Their Success

One of the biggest advantages of job-hunting with a specialist recruiter is the vested interest and understanding they will have of your particular needs on both a personal and professional level. What you’re looking for in an employer in terms of culture, values flexibility, role and ‘fit’ can be difficult to find and even articulate at times, especially as these are not always reflected in the job descriptions. This means candidates are often left to gauge where the best fit is for their career. Whereas by working with a legal recruiter they will not only have a firm grasp of what your priorities are but will also ensure they – and you – are well-sold to the firm in question.

It is therefore in their own best interest to be selective on your behalf with regard to vacancies; by choosing the most suitable roles for their candidates to maximize success, which will not only reduce the competition candidates face for each role, but also improve their chances of getting hired. Their success lies in their ability to see to it that you’re happy in your desired role as it means they are successful with their client – a win-win for everyone.

If you would like to speak to us confidentially about market conditions, opportunities in your practice area or geographical region, or if you are actively looking for a role and would like us to help give you that competitive edge, we would love to speak to you. Contact us here or call the office on 01772 259121 for more information on how our exceptional recruitment experience can help your career aspirations.

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 looking for a new legal position or just want to speak to a recruitment expert about the current market, call our team on 01772 259121 or click here to submit your CV.

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Why Now is The Time to Start Putting Your 2024 Plans Into Action

  • October 18, 2023

With the darker nights noticeably creeping in, and the shops already stocked with Christmas paraphernalia, the final push towards the end of the year is upon us. This last quarter is often a period where many businesses and individuals will be making firm plans for the following calendar year, setting budgets and agreeing business objectives. And for many, with an average three months’ notice period across the industry – consideration of the ‘c-word’ is also likely. Not ‘Christmas’ per se…but career – what it looks like and where it is heading in the new year.

The so-called mid-career career blues happen to everyone at some point or another  – and it can often be for a number of reasons…

You have outgrown the position

One of the most common reasons legal professionals cite as a reason to leave their current position is around progression – or more specifically, lack of opportunities at their current Firm. Often, a lateral move within the firm is one viable route that, whilst perhaps offering a similar overall remuneration package, does provide the individual with the chance to expand their skills and professional network. Quite often a lateral move can provide a revised career path that still gives that individual chance to develop and learn about other areas of that business, and in turn raises the status of that employee and their broader influence internally.

However, this is not always possible either due to the size or structure of the Firm in question, or because of the current practice area that individual operates in. If the role no longer provides opportunities for the growth you seek in your career and there isn’t an obvious path to promotion, chances are finding a new opportunity elsewhere may be the only option to further advance your career. Before making that leap, it is always time well spent to review the market for opportunities, particularly if this is the first time in a few years you find yourself looking for those greener pastures. Ensuring that the firms and roles you look at do offer clear paths for progression and advancement is key for ambitious individuals.

Recruitment agencies have a vested interest in understanding the sector in which you (and by extension, they) operate, and because of the trusted position that they have with Clients, they will undoubtedly be able to offer you market insight, practice-specific guidance as well as trends and activity they are experiencing in the recruitment cycle. It is always worth enlisting their help at an early stage to get that birds-eye view of market trends and movement, as well as the inside-track of Firms in your area.

You are looking for an increase in remuneration

If the driver for moving is monetary, then it goes without saying that the first step should be to explore the option of a pay review at your current firm first. Whilst few individuals relish the thought of having those perhaps awkward conversations around money, it is important to see where the land lies first, even if that is to sense check the Firm’s position ahead of a diarised salary review later in the year/early next year. It is important to head into such conversations realistically and professionally – can the Firm afford the figure you have in mind for example? Have you got clear reasons why the review is justified, based on performance perhaps or the value you have brought to the business? Building a strong business case here is important – as is knowing your value and worth in the wider market.

This brings us to the second point – researching your market value. Understanding the current average or better still, range of salaries for similar roles in the market is crucial, especially if conversations around a pay rise end without the desired resolution and your hand is forced to look elsewhere. Recruitment agencies undoubtedly add value here with live salary data and wider benefits packages on offer for active jobseekers.

However sometimes the only way to achieve your salary expectations is to talk with your feet and look at other opportunities in the market where they can be realised. It is a perhaps unfortunate reality that pay increases tend to be more significant upon a move (as opposed to an internal promotion) so doing your due diligence early on will pay dividends so you have a realistic view of what those next steps look like.

You are looking for more work/life balance

Long hours and demanding workloads within the legal profession are much documented (and prevalent even amongst those who work from home according to a recent article in The Law Gazette).

Whilst changing job roles may not necessarily negate all of these, the landscape of work has altered significantly following the aftermath of Covid, meaning that the likes of hybrid and home working models increased exponentially which for many has helped to strike a balance between work and home life.  Whilst this won’t be the case for everyone (and ongoing conversations about whether hybrid work arrangements should be abandoned altogether rumble on ) conversations around flexi-, agile-, home- and hybrid- are still taking centre-stage amongst jobseekers are legal job roles offering such work arrangements.

Conversations around the pros (and indeed cons) of flexible working arrangements is still ongoing – and there is a fine line to tread when sometimes homeworking leads to an ‘always on’ mentality. A recent article even looked at research highlighting a negative impact on wellbeing….

Nevertheless, there has never been a better time to have an open conversation with your Recruitment Consultant, or prospective employer about the ways in which they can support the balance you’re looking for.

There are many other reasons of course that trigger that early decision to start looking for new opportunities. The reasons may be complex, and numerous, yet it is often not a decision that is taken lightly. According to our own Salary Salary and Market Insights Report, other reasons include envisaged redundancy, conflict in the workplace, and down to a relocation. Most respondents we spoke to however (37%) said the decision came down to a desire to progress, upskill, and take on a new challenge.  Employee expectations around how, when, and where they work have changed – and as clients continue to compete for the best talent, arguably it has never been a better time to make the leap.

Next Steps

If you would like to speak to us confidentially about market conditions, opportunities in your practice area or geographical region, or if you are actively looking for a role and would like us to help give you that competitive edge, we would love to speak to you – especially if you have your heart set on a new challenge for the new year.

Click here to speak to one of our experienced Legal specialists or call 01772 259121 for more information on how our exceptional recruitment experience can help your career aspirations.

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