You managed to secure the ever elusive training contract and have completed or are close to completing the two years of purgatory. It's all quite straight forward from here, surely? Unfortunately not! There are many factors a junior associate must consider when taking that next (and very important) step.
The legal market in general is seeing a slowdown as a result of socio-economic factors such as the Brexit referendum. Many law firms are waiting for the result of the referendum before continuing the majority of their hiring. Consultants here are forecasting a surge in activity, both in terms of transactions and hiring in the next quarter as law firm clients begin to invest and market concerns subside.
However, this period does provide an opportunity for you to consider your career path. As a junior associate, there are a few key points to determine when considering your career.
The Area Of Specialisation
Are you certain you know the specific area of law you want to focus on? The first two years following qualification are vital in ensuring you have a strong bedrock of knowledge, experience and training. Keep your options open and avoid narrowing your focus too early – the career in law is long and being able to display various tools and skills will assist your growth and options later.
The Type Of Law Firm
What law fim suits your needs and aspirations? The early years are key as the firm you trained with and now are with impact the type of lawyer you are to become. The legal industry is competitive and ruthless, so the firm you join needs to match with your own personality – the London Legal market is the perfect place to see all types and different characteristics of law firms – there is such a variation from US firms to UK, and from the Magic Circle to the Silver Circle.
After years at University and lower training salaries, the qualified salary is an important consideration. The level of salary tends to correlate with the type of firm so these should be considered hand-in-hand. Salaries vary across the market and there is always scope to go after the larger salaries but generally there is a loss in work-life-balance.
Your future career starts now and these are just a summary of the key factors to pave your next years. It is the perfect time to consider your future and take stock of the market before the market picks up in the next few months.