Take your legal career to London

Author Priya Shah
October 11, 2022

We recently held our ‘Take your legal career to London’ webinar, hosted by Priya Shah who was joined by Holly O’Connell, Legal Advisor at FirstGroup Plc and David Harrigan, Interim Deputy General Counsel. The session discussed the current in-house interim, legal job market and career development opportunities and explored the logistics around making an international career move.

Many of our clients are actively looking to hire lawyers coming from Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, and our session looked to highlight the positives of making an international career move and showcase the advantages of working in the interim market when you land in the UK. Our clients vary in industries from transport, technology, retail and everything in between – and those coming from the Antipodean market talent pool are very attractive to them. Training from this talent pool is from the outset, very broad, which lends itself to in-house rules in the London market.

What does the London in-house market offer?

The market in London is challenging but offers a wide selection of businesses and organisations with strong global connections. Lawyers in London tend to specialise earlier on in their careers, so the market is saturated with a wealth of highly skilled individuals, well established in their careers. Because of this, the transition in-house can hold a steeper learning curve or longer process to make the move. However, because of the broad training for lawyers from countries such as New Zealand and Australia, this transition is somewhat easier.

Also, the London market is huge – and offers the ability to networking, meeting individuals and prospect employers with opportunities that is invaluable to your career.

What are the benefits of taking an interim role?

There are several benefits to taking on an interim position in the legal sector that both Holly and David highlight. Greater flexibility, exposure to new industries, building a legal network and the potential of increased earning.

The flexibility of an interim role allows you to take on shorter contracts that fit around your schedule – which can also tie in to giving you exposure to new industries, trialling out several before making a final decision on a particular sector. This exposure also enables you to build upon diversity in skills and knowledge across multiple sectors. David mentioned that being a present Father and having family time and a more stable schedule were important factors that he has gained through interim roles and contracts.

Holly touched upon building a network through an interim role. Working with a range of different clients and stakeholders is extremely valuable for your long-term career prospects, as it can open up new opportunities and help you to build and cement your reputation in the legal community. Working in this space allows you exposure to many different industries, helping you to build your skillset, be adaptive, settle in quickly and make change.

Priya also gave some great insight.

“Interim roles are such a quick turnaround, we’re getting a bit more lead time on some of them at the moment, but if you have just landed or you’re on your way in, it’s a really quick entry into the UK market.”

There are several benefits for both employers and job seekers in the legal industry. For employers: access to a larger pool of candidates: recruiters in this sector have access to a wider range of candidates than employers who rely solely on their own recruitment efforts, helping to find the right candidate more quickly and efficiently. Expert industry knowledge and expertise: legal recruiters have a deep understanding of the industry and can provide valuable insights and guidance to employers on market trends, salary expectations, and candidate qualifications.

Time-saving: recruitment can be a time-consuming process, by working with a legal recruiter, employers can save time and focus on other aspects of their business. Confidentiality: legal recruiters can ensure confidentiality during the recruitment process, protecting both the employer’s and the candidate’s privacy.

For Job Seekers: access to hidden job opportunities: legal recruiters often have access to job opportunities that are not advertised publicly, giving job seekers a greater chance of finding their ideal role. Career guidance: providing job seekers with guidance on their career path, including advice on job opportunities, salary expectations, and market trends.

Negotiation support: legal recruiters can provide job seekers with support during the negotiation process, including advice on salary and benefits. Time-saving: by working with a legal recruiter who can help them find suitable job opportunities and prepare for interviews.

Overall, working with a legal recruiter can be a valuable way for both employers and job seekers to save time, access a wider pool of candidates or job opportunities and benefit from specialised knowledge and expertise in the legal industry.

Top tips and advice

We asked both Holly and David to share a top tip or top advice of the interim market. Holly said,

“Give everything a go, check your ego at the door, you’re not too good to go to an interview where you’re not interested in the industry, you honestly don’t know where it will lead you.”

In regards to the benefits of an interim role and the potential of this role being offered on a permanent basis, Holly said “The best way to get a job is to have a job.” David shared his top advice and advantages to the interim market. “Having clarity around the hours that I work and also the breadth of experience have been huge advantages working in an interim capacity.” He then went on to mention previous permanent positions, having to juggle family life, being a father and working regular out of office hours are now a thing of the past.

“Between 9:30am 6:30pm – my time is theirs to use as they please, but outside these hours I have time to spend with my family, running my business and anything else. You don’t have that luxury in a permanent role.”

Both David and Holly shared great advice and encouraged our attendees to ‘take the plunge’ on the interim market and the advantages these roles hold – great connections, flexibility and exploring the market.

If you require any additional insight into the UK in-house legal interim market and opportunities, or you’re looking to take your legal career to the London, then please contact Priya Shah.

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