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Bring everything you’ve got

Bring everything you’ve got

By Thomas Hobbs


Make the most of your skills and experience to help stand out from the crowd.

Not all lawyers travel the well worn path of university and then a career in law. In fact, many have developed a career in an unrelated field before pursuing their interest in law.

If you fall into the latter category, here are some tips to enable you to stand out among lawyers, both in terms of securing a role and thriving once you’re there.

Leverage off your transferable skills

Precisely what these transferable skills are will depend on your mix of work experience. You may have particularly strong organisational, time management, communication, stakeholder, team or leadership skills so leverage off them.

Of course, be modest and appreciate you will still need to prove yourself as a capable junior lawyer.

Reach out to current and past networks

This is so important – both when identifying job opportunities and, particularly in the private practice context, referring work to your firm.

Reach out to your contacts working in areas of law that you’re interested in, both professional and personal, and let them know you’re looking for a new opportunity. Similarly, where you have previously worked in a corporation, don’t be afraid to keep in touch and should you be able to, aim to have work referred to your current firm. LinkedIn is a great place to do this reaching out.

Make use of pre-law technical knowledge

In a past career, you will have built up a level of technical knowledge and the degree to which you can exploit this will depend on your experience in the role and the industry. For private practice, take a look at the industries that firms focus on, including energy and resources, construction and infrastructure, government, information technology, property and real estate, superannuation, financial services, media, broadcasting and entertainment, health, transport and insurance services just to name a few. If you’ve got technical knowledge in a particular industry and retain an interest in that industry, don’t waste it.

Be adaptable, resilient, and curious

In the current legal market, junior lawyers need to be adaptable and make the most of every opportunity that presents itself. Life constantly throws challenges at us and with this additional life experience and previous work experience, you will be well placed to adapt to a changing legal market. Dealing with such challenges also requires a level of resilience so if you find yourself questioning why you’re in a particular role or feel overwhelmed, take a step back and think about how it relates to your medium-long term goals. If you just happen to be experiencing a particularly bad day, draw on that resilience to help you push through.

Also, be curious about the profession and your opportunities in law. Your curiosity in law led you to completing your law degree. The best lawyers maintain their thirst for knowledge, show resilience in adversity and adapt to a changing legal market.

Keep in mind the tips above and also know that persistence and a positive approach will stand you in good stead. As an LIV member, you can join the YL Later Lawyers’ Network Committee, established to facilitate social events to help later lawyers connect both with each other and with the broader legal community.

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