Published on 2nd January 2015
For many finance professionals, a popular career aspiration involves working in a law firm.
As it is such a popular career choice, competition is fierce. Here a few things you need to know before taking the plunge into the legal finance sector...
Why work in Legal Finance?
The legal sector is great area for finance professionals to work in as it offers excellent opportunities for career progression. Most law firms have clearly defined career pathways that give employees the opportunity to grow and develop their skills whilst earning a salary that is generally above the average wage.
Employees are also eligible for great benefits packages such as discounted gym membership, health insurance and other incentives. Working in a large, global law firm can also open up international career opportunities, providing employees with the chance to gain experience working in other branches overseas.
How do I get a job in Legal Finance?
Unfortunately, it might not be as easy as you think. Many experienced finance professionals come to me with their CV thinking that, since they have worked in the accounts department of XYZ company, their skills are transferrable into the legal sector. Sadly this is rarely the case in reality.
The legal sector is notoriously hard to get into as many firms require candidates to have gained prior experience within another law firm before they will even consider your application; this is because law firms are a unique place to work in due to the culture, structure and nature of work that they do.
Gaining relevant sector experience as soon as possible within the legal sector will be extremely beneficial if you wish to embark on a career in legal finance, as candidates with this experience demonstrate that they are accustomed to the culture and expectations of working in a legal environment.
Another thing most careers advisors don’t tell you…
Once you have secured a paid position or an internship within the legal sector it then becomes easier to seek new opportunities within different law firms as you will have up to date sector experience.
Recent experience is crucial for anyone looking for a job in legal finance; candidates who have left the legal sector and are now looking to return will usually struggle without up-to-date experience due to the constantly changing legislation and system grades within the legal sector.
If the legal sector sounds like a place that you would like to work in, then it is vital that you get some relevant law firm experience on your CV as soon as possible. Many candidates I have successfully helped have achieved this by taking on paid or unpaid short-term placements in smaller high street solicitors and then making the move in to the City. Other candidates have entered the legal sector straight out of education, taking on a junior level role and then working their way up.
Once you have some law firm experience under your belt, then it becomes far easier to find your second or third job in this sector and to start to enjoy some of the real benefits of a career in legal finance.