Kick-starting your legal career is very imperative when going into the corporate world because not everyone succeeds at first. So, guiding your emotion is important. This will protect you from having a nervous breakdown if you do not succeed in your first attempt. Do not lose hope if this is the case instead; seek insight response like feedback. Feedback is vital as it lets you monitor your own performance by addressing the issues in your application, making you most likely to succeed the next time.
If you want to practice, you need to demonstrate your commitment. This same rule applies in any other corporate role. Work experiences like internships, vacation scheme, shadowing in courts, spending time in a solicitors firm are important in pushing your career forward.
When you decide to make an application for employment, it is a great plan to apply selectively to the organisations you desire. You need to know the type of organisation that you are applying to get into; if it is what you want and what you intend to gain from working and being a part of the organisation in the long run i.e. are your aspirations achievable there or does it bring you closer to your goal. Your place of work and job responsibility has to have a significant impact on your career goals.
It is often common that one likes the idea of working in the legal sector but is quite unsure as to what sector to get in to. The following suggestions could help you find your niche and kick-start legal career.
A lawyer is a general term that covers solicitors, chartered legal executive lawyers (sometimes called CILEx lawyers) and barristers.
A solicitor is mostly the first point of contact for any client. A solicitor is a confidential adviser who has direct contact with clients, combining expertise and people skill to provide legal aid and guidance.
If you have a qualified law degree, your next step is to be legally qualified. I.e. attend a law school, or a Legal Practice Course (LPC) depending on your country’s specification. International candidates could try getting their hands on a training contract, which in the long run qualifies you and gets you employed.
However, if your first degree is not in law, you can consider a degree conversion course like a Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) to convert your undergraduate degree. A few of the top international universities offer this course, and it is usually eight months to one-year course depending on the university.
Some universities proceed to let you upgrade your GDL degree to get a graduate LLB degree by taking extra courses. So, be sure to do your research well before getting into it.
After qualification, you can work in-house for an industrial or a commercial organisation, private practice, central or local government and even in court services.
Hard work, passion and dedication are part of the qualities required for a career at the Bar. Barristers provide specialist legal advice to represent clients in court. However, depending on the barrister’s area of expertise the tasks varies.
Usually, a barrister will advise clients on the law and the strength of their case; hold conferences with clients to discuss their situation and provide legal advice; then represent clients in court by presenting their case, examining witnesses and giving reasons as to why the court should support the case; and negotiate settlements with the other party involved.
Barrister’s clerk is also known as assistant practice managers’ or practice assistants. Barrister’s clerk is responsible for running the business activities and administration of a barrister’s chambers.
It is essential to be familiar with court procedures and etiquette. With time, the clerk develops expertise in the type of law undertaken by the practice chambers.
A successful barrister’s clerk has a combination of commercial acumen, legal knowledge and strong interpersonal skills. You should not think of this as a route to becoming a barrister.
An usher is in charge of preparing the courtroom. Ushers also check that everyone is present, calls defendants and witnesses into court.
‘sworn ushers‘ accompany the jury to and from the courtroom. They also pass messages between the jury and to the judge.
Being the first point of contact, an usher needs to have effective communication and people skills. You will also need to be discreet as a lot of the information you will hear is confidential. The ability to follow instructions, an assertive and tactful manner is also important to this role.
Chartered Legal Executive
A legal executive as a qualified lawyer will have his own client files. As a fee-earner in private practice, your work is charged directly to the client. This is an important difference between chartered legal executives and other legal support staff.
Only those who have completed the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEx) training programme can use the title of a chartered legal executive.
It is a legal secretary’s job to ensure the office runs efficiently by providing administrative support to solicitors and legal executives. You could be producing wills and contracts, accompanying solicitors to court or police stations or even dealing with the clients.
The key skills you need to do well in this role is the ability to type accurately and quickly, a good eye for detail and discretion.
The role of the legal secretary is reasonably different from a company secretary
A company secretary is responsible for ensuring that an organisation complies with the standard financial and legal practice whilst maintaining high standards of corporate governance.
The secretary will usually report to the company chairman. One can expect a starting annual salary of about £30,000 (location varies).
The necessary Skills includes; a diplomatic approach to concerns, a good analytical and problem-solving skills, the capability to work with numerical information, and the confidence to provide support to high-profile staff and board members are all necessary for a successful company secretary.
A paralegal offers legal services but is not qualified as a solicitor, barrister or chartered legal executive. Customarily, there was no need for formal qualifications to refer to oneself as a paralegal, but employers are now demanding some form of training or qualification in order to be a paralegal.
An understanding of the legal sector is vital a paralegal. Essential skills relevant to this role include; an excellent people skill, networking skills, e a methodical problem solver and the ability to analyse information accurately and effectively.
A tax adviser requires a compulsory knowledge of tax legislation in order to provide advisory and consultancy services to clients. Furthermore, they ensure taxes are paid in the most efficient way.
A licensed conveyancer is a property law specialist who works on behalf of clients buying or selling a property. They deal with all legal matters, administration, finance and queries involved in a property transaction. Likewise, this area of work is open to graduates with any degree but to become a licensed conveyancer.
A patent attorney is specially trained to draft patents. With the knowledge of intellectual property law, patent attorney leads inventors or companies through the process of obtaining a patent. Then, act to enforce inventors’ rights if patents are infringed.
In-Depth knowledge of trade-mark law and practice is essential in this position. Also, excellent communication skills and commercial awareness are attributes one will need to qualify as a registered trade-mark attorney.