Published on 24th September 2019
How many times have you heard the phrase “You just have to get your foot in the door”? I’m guessing quite often if you’re looking for your first job. But how can you make this happen if you’re a new graduate or trying to change direction?
I regularly work with people who are looking to work in the Legal Finance sector and although it is difficult to get into, it is certainly possible!
Here are some of my top tips on how to increase your chances of getting your first finance job in a law firm.
Have realistic expectations
When starting your job search in a new sector it is important that you set realistic expectations for yourself. If you have just left college or have recently graduated, then you may be looking at roles such as Finance Administrator or Revenue Assistant as these are your typical entry-level roles in Legal Finance.
I know of many new graduates who express their desire to go straight into a senior-level role, but this is simply not realistic when entering a new sector as senior roles will require specific experience you can only get on the job.
It is also important to have realistic salary expectations: on average, entry-level roles within Legal Finance are between £21,000 - £23,000.
How you portray yourself in the interview
It’s important to remember that for an entry-level role you only have around 30 minutes to an hour to impress the people in front of you. So, make sure that you are dressed formally and speak clearly.
If you want to know how to fully prepare for an interview, have a read of 'How to prepare for a job interview'.
Law firms, in particular, can be quite intimidating places when you haven’t worked in one before, so it’s important that you prepare thoroughly and research the firm properly. That way you won’t be going in blind and will have a better understanding of what they expect from you.
If working with a good recruiter, they should also help you to prepare thoroughly by giving you a full interview preparation chat before you go for your interview.
Understanding why you want to go into Legal Finance
This is one of the most important factors someone should consider when going into Legal Finance. This sector is very niche so you must come up with specific reasons why you are interested in the role you are interviewing for.
Finance teams within law firms are interesting to work in – there are so many different avenues that you can specialise in, and no two roles are the same.
A legal finance professional will typically be working closely with fee earners, Partners, and Accountants which is not always easy. For this reason, you need to be sure it’s an area you really want to go into and are passionate about.
Some people make the mistake of only wanting a role due to money or to fulfil their personal ambitions, which is not wrong, but you also must genuinely care about the job and the firm you are going to.
For those who are passionate about legal finance, the potential career progression opportunities are very favourable.
Having the right attitude!
If you do not already have experience in legal finance, then that’s okay - your employer will be considerate of this, so long as you have the right attitude.
Are you adaptable? Can you think fast in difficult situations? Are you a team player?
When asking a CFO for a top law firm what he looks for in someone entering legal finance he said, “You can train people in skills but not attitude”.
For more advice on this hot topic feel free to contact me at Niala.firstname.lastname@example.org.