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Any lawyers changed specialism? Advice please

(5 Posts)
FreckledLeopard Wed 12-Feb-14 10:01:59

I'm currently a litigator (commercial and financial markets - just over 1 year pqe) working in a City law firm. I enjoy certain aspects of the role, but find my motivation for dealing with giant corporate companies' screw-ups a little demoralising. I'm most interested and motivated when I'm working for the underdog (I loved, for example, a pro bono case I ran and won).

Ideally, if I could, I'd like to get into aviation litigation (on behalf of families who have lost relatives in plane crashes) or some kind of medical negligence/catastrophic injury law. The firm that I'm currently practising at offers none of these types of law.

Has anyone managed to make a transition to a different type of law? How did you go about it? I honestly don't know how to get any kind of experience in the fields I'm interested in, since it's just not on offer where I work. Would it be a case of applying for jobs in the fields I'm interested in and trying to persuade interviewers that I have the necessary transferable skills? Are there any other routes that I haven't thought of?

Thank you.

FreckledLeopard Wed 12-Feb-14 12:56:18


phoolani Wed 12-Feb-14 13:03:50

Sorry, no real advice, but it sounds doable to me. You're only 1 year PQE and you will have transferable skills - and explaining your motivation for changing will show a new employer that you're dedicated to your change. Do it now if you're going to!

mumblechum1 Wed 12-Feb-14 17:03:42

I was a family lawyer for 25 years and in the final 4 or 5 years before I retired in 2012, I gradually did less family (as the work dried up because of the recession) and took on more and more will writing work, after doing some refresher training and initially having all of my wills supervised by the head of department, so it was almost an accidental, and certainly a gradual change in direction.

I enjoyed the will writing so much I ditched the day job and now run a very successful will writing company and don't miss working for someone else in the slightest grin

As phoolani says, you are in a very early stage of your career so this would be the perfect opportunity to change direction. Good luck!

Pinkandwhite Wed 12-Feb-14 17:09:24

I know a lawyer who successfully transitioned from corporate (M&A) law to charity law at 5PQE. They spent two weeks of their annual leave doing work experience at two firms. One of the firms then made a job offer at the end.

I'd ask this question on the website roll on Friday. You'll probably get loads of answers there...

Anyway, I'm sure this is achievable for you. Good luck!

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