Nicholas Jervis, founder of the solicitor matching service Loyalty Law and creator of the UK’s first Twitter Law Firm, @thelegaloracle, gives Young Academic his top ten tips on how to tell if a career in law is right for you. Make sure you sign-up to the Young Academic twitter and facebook pages to keep up to date with all your student news and career guides.
Do you love detail?
For lawyers, it’s very important to be able to focus on the finer details of whatever you’re reading about or researching. You will often need to consult many different books just to find the right legislation or statute relevant to your case. If you love detail and always look to find out everything about a particular subject, then law could be the perfect career for you!
Are you a good communicator?
Lawyers are constantly interacting with and talking to people from all walks of life. This can range from clients and staff, to other lawyers and judges. In order to be a successful legal professional, therefore, good communication skills are paramount.
Are you prepared to get stuck in?
Law is not always about glamorous, high profile cases, there is often a lot of paperwork and a lot of running about. A significant amount of your time will be taken up collating documents, researching and photocopying. In order to advance in the legal profession, you need to be prepared to get stuck in!
Are you a team player?
As in many professional roles, more often than not lawyers will not be working in isolation. There are often large legal teams that you will be part of, and you’ll be expected to work closely with others on particular cases and reports.
Are you approachable?
Contrary to common belief, the majority of successful lawyers are friendly and approachable. Clients may have to spend a lot of time with their lawyer, so the last thing they would want is someone who is intimidating or overly aggressive. A great quality in any lawyer is their ability to reassure their client and make them feel comfortable.
Do you like helping people?
Everyone knows that a lawyer has the potential to make a lot of money, and while this may be true, it is not a good reason to pursue a career in law. A lawyer’s primary goal should be to get results for their clients. Whether this is helping them to move house, getting them the compensation that they deserve or advising them on legal action, helping others is a main part of any lawyer’s job. If you do this you will usually find that the rewards will be good for you and your clients.
Do you enjoy research?
Studying to become a lawyer is tough – there is a lot to learn and the work is intense. You have to be able to take a lot of information on board and be able to show you can apply it to different situations. Even after you qualify, you can spend hours researching and consulting books to find the relevant information to your case. Although there is undeniably a great sense of achievement to be had in a career in law, you have to enjoy studying to get there.
Are you up to date on current affairs?
The Law develops and changes with the times, and everyday new precedents are being set. If you love to follow the news and have a good understanding of topical issues, a career in the law may be perfect for you.
Do you enjoy a challenge?
Neither studying nor practicing law is easy. There are a lot of pressures and demands to be met, and no two days are ever the same. Having said that, if you enjoy challenging yourself law can be an exciting, riveting career path for you to follow.
Do you want to please your mum?!
A career as a professional is usually a great way of pleasing your parents!