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Last night, in the august surroundings of the Great Hall at the Honourable Society of Gray’s Inn, 120 students and young lawyers and barristers listened to career advice from a panel of senior figures in the legal industry, chaired by Legal Cheek's Alex Aldridge.
Here are five things we learnt from the evening.
There was lots of lively discussion about other routes to the law. Sally Davies, construction and engineering litigation partner at Mayer Brown told us her team included lawyers who’d been engineers and architects.
Hiring partners aren’t just looking for great lawyers, they’re looking for great professionals. If you’re academically excellent, have great business awareness, and the resilience to take on the challenges of a legal career, your background doesn't matter.
Let’s face it – becoming a lawyer is a hugely expensive undertaking for an uncertain future. The panel all agreed that if you want to make money, do something else. Ask yourself this: will being a lawyer give you the kind of job satisfaction you need to get through 10 years of financial turbulence?
Many of the panel moved from being a barrister to a solicitor, from a solicitor to a barrister, from law firms to in-house teams or from practicing law to academia. With the rise of solicitor-advocates and legal executives, the field is more open than ever.
None of the panel looked impressed by this idea which was pioneered by Silicon Valley recently. But everyone agreed that more needs to be done to attract and keep women in the profession – especially in senior roles.
If you’re unsuccessful at your first try for a pupillage or training contract, you don’t have to spend a year being a paralegal. Hiring partners are looking for experience that will make you a better lawyer in your field, so get out there and do something exciting and relevant. And as an added bonus, you won’t have to spend a year photocopying and filing.
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