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The Best Career Advice I Can Give

The best career advice I can give you…

The #1 question I get asked as a recruiter is ‘what is the market like at the moment?’ I get asked it by candidates I am working with, clients we are recruiting for, people I meet at dinner parties, other recruiters, even my Mum as her way of asking how work is going. Anyone who has read this blog before will know my views on the futility of trying to give any stock answer that has any meaning.

I was reminded of the second most common question we get whilst at an ADLSi RAMS event last month. It is an annual careers evening where Recently Admitted Members (the so-called RAMS) get to ask a number of recruiters about their career and the market. This question takes a number of forms, but boils down to ‘which area of law should I practice?’ It often comes from a lawyer who finds themselves in area they are not particularly enjoying, or in a role they are not enjoying whilst struggling to find a new opportunity.

Thankfully, unlike the first question, the stock answer is very simple. You should practice in an area that you enjoy and has the potential to fulfil your longer term ambitions.

  • Can you imagine yourself still being intrigued and challenged by the work in five years’ time? Let alone ten, fifteen, twenty years from now?
  • Will it take you where you want to go? E.g. criminal litigation is unlikely to give you the option to move in-house, or overseas whereas Corporate Commercial has the potential to do both, but probably won’t allow you to do court work or move to a small town.

I will give you the same answer at any stage of your career, five years from now and even if you are pursuing a specific role through us. Granted, the structure of a legal career can make it hard to change direction once you have been set on a path, and it can be hard to even know what interests you when things become narrow so quickly. What you need is a plan, good advice, likely some short-term compromises, determination and patience.

It is unrealistic to expect an employment utopia (with the notable exception of George Clooney’s personal masseur), but very few people are ever truly successful if they are not invested and engaged in the work they do and even fewer are happy.