The Qualification Season: Employment

February 15, 2012

As part of The Qualification Season – a series of blogs by CapeClarke aimed at trainee solicitors looking to qualify in September 2012 – we will give a brief overview of the market conditions affecting many of the core legal disciplines that trainee solicitors look to qualify into.

The first area of law for discussion is Employment.

The Current Market: It is a good market, where teams are busy.  We are living in a financially turbulent world, which has resulted in mass redundancy programmes, restructuring and a lot of contentious employment work.  The typical employment solicitor has been worked very hard in the last 4 years!

Is this a good career option? While it would be wrong to say any type of law is recession-proof, being an employment solicitor is probably as close as there is.  It is an excellent area to qualify into as employment solicitors will generally be in demand in a bad financial climate (as discussed above), but equally during good times (working on more transactional work or providing clients with a more advisory service – drafting the company’s employment handbooks, for instance).  There has been a real shortage of quality mid-level employment solicitors and your ability to move between law firms in the future would be aided by your qualification into this area.

September 2012 opportunities: Be warned – this next section does not make for happy reading!  We would imagine that most large or medium-sized law firms will create an internal vacancy for a newly qualified employment solicitor. Unfortunately, this is still the most competitive discipline to qualify as a solicitor into with numerous trainees fighting over one qualification place in the employment department (recently, one national firm had around ten internal trainees from around the country applying for one vacancy in the North!).  Therefore, very few employment newly qualified solicitor roles make into the external market and when they do, they are fiercely contested!

What to do next? This is only a very brief overview of this area of law. For a more detailed discussion of the state of the legal market and your own career options, please contact either Terry Cape or Chris Clarke on 0113 2385965.


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