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Solicitor in need of career change!

(19 Posts)
Steph7121 Thu 24-Oct-13 14:42:23

Hi everyone. I am new to this site but could do with some opinions / advice as I am currently feeling a little bit lost!

I have been back at work a few months now, full time and I am losing the will to live! The area I work in is transactional and doesn't really lend itself to part time working. The most they would consider is 4 days and I would have to be very flexible with that and I imagine often cancel my day off. Lawyers are not the most family friendly folk, well certainly not in my firm anyway!

My DS is 8 months old and I miss him so much! I work quite long and unpredictable hours so usually get to see him in the morning but I am often not home in time to put him to bed which kills me! Unfortunately as wonderful as my OH is, he doesn't earn a lot and certainly not enough to support us all so not working is out of the question.

I do not enjoy my job and I feel so resentful that I am stuck in work doing something I really don't enjoy instead of being with my baby! By the time I do get home, I'm so tired and miserable and end up taking it out of my OH which isn't good sad
I think I really need some kind of career change to something which is perhaps more family friendly or atleast with regular hours but I am at a loss as to where to begin! I feel that this is the only thing I am qualified to do.... Moving in-house isn't really an option as I am only 3yrs PQE and do not have enough general commercial experience.

Are there any ex solicitors or ex professionals that have made a switch to something else or retrained? Any ideas?


ASmidgeofMidge Thu 24-Oct-13 21:32:07

What about a role within a third sector organisation/charity?

damejudydench Thu 24-Oct-13 22:50:23

Something legal in local government? Much more family friendly I would think.

Fasterkillpussycat Thu 24-Oct-13 22:54:47

You could look at a corporate in house role, if that suits your experience? I am in house and find it to be much more family friendly than private practice (not hard, to be fair!).

CheshireSplat Thu 24-Oct-13 23:36:32

I wouldn't dismiss in-house. Lots of in-house lawyers I know were corporate lawyers. The skills are transferable, you will probably have an overview of a few areas from DD/transactions.

Have you done any commercial law?

Where are you? London?

Could you move to a smaller form and get coco experience? Any client secondments available?

I'd speak to a recruitment consultant if you haven't done so. The in house market is good for applicants at the moment.

Do you like law? If so I'd really reconsider in house. I made the move myself from private practice and its ace!

Feel free to pm me of you honk I could be of help.

CheshireSplat Thu 24-Oct-13 23:37:47

Form? Firm.

Honk????? Think.

Sorry. Stupid fat fingers.

TheDoctrineOfAnyFucker Sun 27-Oct-13 00:30:27

Could your OH do more of the childcare, or doesn't that hlp you?

Steph7121 Mon 28-Oct-13 13:20:48

Hi all, thanks for the comments smile
I have considered in-house but I am in the north-west and there doesn't seem to be much on the market at the mo, most places seem to want at least 5-6 years PQE. I guess there is a lot of competition for these jobs!

My OH works in the public sector and could reduce his hours quite easily but I don't think that would help me really as the problem is that I feel I am missing out on being a mum! If he was at home more I would most likely only end up resenting him and the fact that I have the go to work to be the main bread winner!

If I'm honest, my heart really isn't in law but I feel stuck as it is the only thing I am qualified to do! I'm thinking about getting out altogether and applying for part-time (no career) jobs whilse DS is young. We would struggle financially but I guess is better than the situation now where I'm just miserable all the time! Perhaps I could re-train when DS is at school age....


wavesandsmiles Mon 28-Oct-13 13:28:36

Have you thought about financial services compliance? Lots of work about as it is a growing area, and legally qualified folk are often recruited due to the ongoing need to interpret the mountains of new legislation, regulations etc which is a key part of the role. Much easier to find part time/ flexi time roles in that area too.

Steph7121 Mon 28-Oct-13 14:05:56

Hi wavesandsmiles... I have actually looked at jobs in compliance briefly but I was under the impression I would need some additional qualifications in compliance. Do you think my legal background would be enough?

wavesandsmiles Mon 28-Oct-13 15:04:16

Hi Steph, I think the legal qualifications would be more than fine at least to start with. The ICA do distance learning diplomas which are a walk in the park after law study so that could be worth considering though?

joyhg Mon 28-Oct-13 16:16:00

My friend was a solicitor until earlier this year and she has taken a complete change of direction... depends if you're up for something completely new and different to what you're used to? If you're interested just email me on joyhg@hotmail.couk and I'll send you some information... you just never know, thought it was worth a mention!

HexGirlBackAgain Mon 28-Oct-13 16:48:41

I made a change after over ten years in law. Make a list of all the skills that you have built up during your studies, training contract and PQE and you'll be surprised how many other areas they apply to.

Can you look at doing some voluntary work outside of your job to build up your CV and build a convincing case for your commitment to making a career change as and when applying for jobs that are non-law related? It is easier said than done I know but in my case I did some freelance writing and volunteered for a charity. I did look at distance learning as well so that might an option?

There are some really good websites out there as well for women looking for part-time jobs. I applied for a few different non-law jobs and pitched my covering letter to explain why they would want to take on an ex-lawyer and why I wanted to work for them and that it wasn't just because all I was interested in was a part-time job. It took me a while and a few tears along the way but I now have a job that I am really happy with and works well with my family.

I was surprised though how many companies were actually open-minded to taking on someone who had a different career but similar skill-set to the job they wanted to fill and, if they are savvy, they realise it can work to their advantage.

Good luck, I hope you find something that works for you. I haven't looked back and whilst I'm proud of what I achieved in law, it was very much the right time for me to move on.

OneHandFlapping Mon 28-Oct-13 17:49:11

What about changing to different law firm? Some are much more parent friendly than others, and some allow working from home at least part of the time.

And here in the home counties, large local law firms are awash with ex-magic circle lawyers who have become parents and want a less pressurised working environment.

So is there scope for you to move to an out of city law firm?

Twirlbitesruinedmylife Mon 28-Oct-13 23:56:32

I'm an ex solicitor and now have a portfolio career. It really works for me as I get to do all the things I enjoyed as a solicitor but without the intensity. So, for one job I draft, another I chair meetings and for a third I adjudicate.

For me, the key to making it work it is having one core but flexible job you can build everything else around. It also requires great organisation and the ability to sell yourself at the many interviews you'll need to attend. For example, I took on three new roles this year but have had six interviews.

Twirlbitesruinedmylife Fri 01-Nov-13 18:37:24

Don't think this will suit the OP, but if any other lawyers are following this thread there is a job advertised on the Times Online which might suit someone looking to start a portfolio career or just to work very part time.

I can't do a link from my tablet but if ou search "director" you'll find it.

Mandy21 Fri 01-Nov-13 22:48:31

I work in the regions and I think its just a question of finding the right firm, and probably the right team within the firm. In my experience, its down to the partner / head of department as to how they view part timers and the hours worked.

I'm PT (4 days) do a mixture of early starts & finishes (start at 7.30am, leave at 4pm) and late nights (stay till 8pm - when I know that my H can collect) and making a concerted effort to do chores after the children are in bed / online or supermarket shop at night / laundry / cleaning etc so that the time you are at home is genuinely with your son, and quality family time.

I agree that its not family friendly but if you can demonstrate that you'll put the hours in, just not in the standard 9-7pm format that most solicitors do.

Chunderella Sat 02-Nov-13 09:06:18

Can I ask what adjudication you do twirl? I'm a pt solicitor and hoping to stay that way, but am interested in getting into adjudication too, after my experiences with the DPS.

Twirlbitesruinedmylife Sat 02-Nov-13 16:53:03

Chunderella, I adjudicate over disputes in a niche area so would out myself if I said. I do, however, have friends who sit on fitness to practice tribunals for a number of the health regulators. These roles are fairly regularly advertised, usually in the Guardian.

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