Legal Recruitment from Ten-Percent Legal

Monday, August 04, 2008

Alternative jobs for conveyancing lawyers and conveyancers

Alternative career options for conveyancers

In recent times it has become a common query on our careers site for advice on alternative career options for conveyancing lawyers.

In one way it is quite interesting how people get very worried in blips like the current market dips so quickly and don’t look at the longer term side of things. It is clear that there will be conveyancing jobs sooner or later, as housing markets do not tend to just collapse and never come back again. People still need to buy and sell houses, and there are also people out there who want to buy houses to let them out, particularly if the market drops and a lot of houses become available at quite a cheap price.

However the query is often that they don’t want to practice in conveyancing anymore and what other options are there out there for conveyancing lawyers.

The same thing happened last year when crime solicitors started to feel the pinch with the Pleasant report that was so well written by Lord Carter came into force and gave the legal services commission the excuse to slash costs even further, reduce a lot of crime solicitors to penury.

Conveyancing lawyers have a good range of options, but the difficulty is that in the climate of recession, it is very hard to move into them because there are so many others trying to do exactly the same thing. However, the usual options are as follows:

1 Wills and probate – this fits quite nicely with conveyancing and often some conveyancers have some experience already dealing with wills and probate work and do not need any alternative training. However if alternative training is required there are now training companies out there who are cashing in on the recession by offering four day diploma courses to anyone wanting to convert. We are starting to see applications from obvious conveyancers looking for wills and probate posts and claiming to be proficient after attending this course. We are not entirely sure how this could be possible.

2 Move into property development work – this seems to be a common choice as well, although in the current climate there are hardly any or few property development companies recruiting as far as I can see.

3 Move into a completely field of law but stay within in the legal profession – this can be easier for conveyancers than other lawyers, as conveyancing can sometimes be coupled with other fields and you may have come across somewhere already that is relevant. For example, a lot of conveyancers pick up a bit of family experience or commercial property or company commercial. These can be fairly straightforward to move into, providing you are prepared for an inevitable salary drop and drop in status. In the current climate however, this is difficult to achieve.

4 Consider moving completely out of the law and into another field entirely – this has been quite common over the years, even when the market is booming and I know of conveyancing solicitors that have moved into fields such as in house company departments, company commercial work, even airport work and opening their own cafĂ©. There are lots of choices for conveyancers and just because the market is poor it does not necessarily follow that there are no jobs out there to be had. What you have to bear in mind though is that in the present climate the crunch on recruitment is probably affecting every field and profession, and it does not necessarily follow that because there are no vacancies in conveyancing, that there will be vacancies in other fields elsewhere. Sometimes it is better to sit tight and ride out the dip, and see what comes up when the market starts to pick up again. We have certainly noticed that in crime, as things have settled down after the Carter report and recruitment picked up once again as firms needed solicitors. If you are very worried about your current position and the threat of redundancy is causing you a lot of stress, it might be worth speaking to Law Care (www.lawcare.org.uk) who have specialist advisors able to give you advice and support at this difficult time.

Be reassured it is not just you that is under the threat of redundancy – we have seen sporadic outbursts across the UK of redundancies, that have included all areas of the country, and at all levels of experience in conveyancing.

Jonathan Fagan is Managing Director of Ten Percent Legal Recruitment. He regularly writes and commentates on the state of the legal job market and the legal profession. You can contact him at cv@ten-percent.co.uk or visit the website at www.ten-percent.co.uk.

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