Legal Recruitment from Ten-Percent Legal

Friday, June 03, 2011

Careers - Changing Fields of Law to get more Advocacy Experience

Careers Enquiry:
I am a trainee solicitor. I have been working in benefits, debt, housing and family. I have enjoyed these subjects, and have gained a lot of experience in the Legal Aid sector. The main problem is that I have not been able to do very much advocacy. This was something I always enjoyed throughout my degree and LPC. I also enjoyed the subject of criminal law throughout my studies and carried out a number of work experience placements in this area. I am considering transferring to Crime, but I am not sure how to make this change. I did an advanced criminal module on the LPC, but I do not have my police station accreditation.

Advice:
Firstly, do not jump out of the frying pan and into the fire! It appears that you have not really gained any experience in crime, and neither have you experienced advocacy and whether it is something suitable for you depends on this experience. Changing fields of law is not a decision to be taken lightly - it can come back to haunt you throughout your career.

If at all possible, go and get experience in crime before taking the step to change. Perhaps a week off work and work experience with the CPS or shadowing a solicitor in another firm in another town?

See if you can get some advocacy work in your current fields of law and make absolutely sure advocacy is something you are comfortable with. A lot of solicitors fall into crime work and find it very stressful as it can be a difficult area to work in at the best of times.

Good luck with your thoughts. Jonathan Fagan, MD and Legal Career Coach - www.ten-percent.co.uk

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