Many junior finance candidates that I speak with can be hesitant or may not have thought about going into the Legal Sector. They assume that because it is such a corporate and professional environment, they may not receive the support they need or that the people they work with may not be approachable.
This is far from the reality, many candidates thoroughly enjoy working within the Legal sector and have gained a wealth of experience in doing so. Although it’s a very professional environment, many Law firms have a great working culture and a very friendly team atmosphere.
I recently placed a candidate who previously worked in a top 4 firm, our meeting discussed what his expectations were:
What is your accounting background?
I did a degree in a Bachelor of commerce with Accounting and Finance. I had some prior billing/accounting experience at my previous job.
What is your current role?
I am currently working as a billing specialist in a top Law firm and really enjoying my time there as I’m really being pushed to my full potential.
What made you go into an accounting/finance career and what interested you in the Legal sector?
I have always liked playing with numbers and manipulating data, my plan has always been to go into Finance. The legal sector is growing fast and I thought it would be a great opportunity to progress in my career.
What were your expectations going into a law firm?
That I would be handling accounts of large multinational companies and working with clients from different industries and diverse working backgrounds. A very head down working environment. It has been much more friendly and sociable than I initially thought it would be, I am really enjoying my time here and the experience I am gaining.
How have you found working in the legal sector- Negatives/positives?
It is a professional working environment which has taken some time getting used to, however, lots of my day involves working as a team, which I enjoy, and I am given lots of training and support. I am also exposed to clients from different industries which is a positive because I feel I am broadening my knowledge of other areas.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years? Has this changed since you started your career in Finance?
In 5 years, I would like to see myself in a leadership role – Manager/Senior Manager. This has not changed as I have always visualised myself in his position although now I am keen to progress within law firms and see where this leads me.
What advice would you give a recent Accounting/Finance graduate that is starting their career?
Start your career with an entry level position and while you are working try to gain some Accounting/Finance professional qualifications; this will allow you to progress within your role and work your way up.
Starting a career in the legal sector can be daunting, especially when you have preconceptions of what it will be like to work in this setting. This candidate, as well as many others I have placed in similar jobs, have found the legal environment is full of positivity, allowing them to develop and grow their careers in the way they want. The legal sector has a range of opportunities for junior candidates and if you are considering this area but would like to know more about it, I would welcome you getting in contact with me to discuss further.
by Jyoti Phull