The changing landscape for legal careers
Recruitment in the legal sector has changed dramatically in recent times. The traditional image of graduates from top universities driving expensive cars and being paid handsomely hardly reflects life inside a typical law firm today.
This is evidenced by the vast number of highly paid CILEx (Chartered Institute of Legal Executives), Licensed Conveyancers and apprentices now working in firms of all shapes and sizes. Following the introduction of the Apprenticeship Levy many law firms we know are also recruiting 16-18 year olds through apprenticeship training programmes. In short, there are now so many different options to go into the profession.
It’s incredibly refreshing to see people from varied backgrounds and qualifications coming into law. Drawing from a cross section of society is a better reflection of society itself, with teams who have overcome various challenges and perhaps have different expectations and values. This changing landscape ensures the legal profession is much more accessible than it ever has been and people shouldn’t be put off – whatever their background.
I welcome these changes, when they changed the qualification route for CILEx, it opened up the talent pool and made the market more competitive on price across many areas of law – this is especially good for consumers and it’s also great for the sustainability of law firms. Having a wide professional talent pool is helping to make legal services more accessible to people of diverse backgrounds, which is important.
Experience is key; many alternatively qualified individuals have qualified on the job – putting their experience and hard work towards their certification. For those who can’t, or didn’t go to university, this is crucial as it means you can ‘learn and earn’ rather than start your career with a pile of debt. For those looking to qualify through the traditional route, I would remind you to plan ahead and be determined to get to where you want to be. Make that debt mean something!
Some paralegals that have gone through the CILEx route and then perhaps decided to qualify as a solicitor have often got ten more years of experience in legal services than a traditional NQ solicitor. The respect gap is closing between solicitors, CILEx and Liscenced Conveyancers, and sets the tone for the future.
Ultimately, it is about recruiting and retaining skilled and productive employees and supplying this talent is our business.