6 Ways Your Local Law Society Can Improve Your Career Prospects
It’s a jungle out there. Competition for training contracts and newly-qualified posts is as fierce as ever. Young lawyers need drive and ambition, and to be prepared for a life of continuous study and research.
But you’re not alone… Local law societies have a long and well-established tradition of helping solicitors at all stages of their careers. Often overlooked by the younger end of the profession as the domain of more senior players, local law societies in fact offer great opportunity for young lawyers to get involved and get noticed.
Here are five ways you can use your local law society to sharpen your competitive edge, establish a profile in your local area and enhance your career opportunities.
“Often overlooked by the younger end of the profession as the domain of more senior players, local law societies in fact offer great opportunity for young lawyers to get involved and get noticed.” [Tweet this]
1. Get networking
Knowledge is power and there’s a fountain of it within the walls of your local law society.
Getting involved in your society is an excellent way of meeting other local lawyers and senior society members.
You can pick up advice on your own caseload, talk over legal queries, and get a steer on your own career plans. Society lawyers, particularly current or former committee members, are all too happy to offer advice and help.
Build up a set of contacts, so you can call on help when you need it. Networking with other members will help you build knowledge, make reliable referrals and instil a greater confidence in you when you’re advising clients. As ever with networking, have something you can offer in return (see 3. Join a Committee).
2. Sign up for CPD
Use your local law society newsletter to find out about lectures and seminars that are relevant to your career development.
Taking time out to attend courses is essential for keeping up to speed with recent developments. They can be especially useful if you’re the only assistant in the firm in your particular specialism. They also show your partners you’re proactive and enthusiastic about learning.
And you get to study in an environment with people in a similar situation to you, share problems and experiences to motivate you, and improve your performance at work.
3. Join a Committee
The workload of a young lawyer is heavy, and can be stressful. It’s vital to maintain a healthy work-life balance, as in any walk of life.
Could part of that balance be to raise your profile within the local professional community by becoming a local law society committee member?
It’s important to look at your overall balance before committing. Otherwise, you run the risk of adding further to your already hectic workload. So think about getting involved, but don’t over-commit. Better to hold a small office and do it well, than be president of your young society and constantly have to delegate.
Think how you can contribute in a way you’d enjoy. Make sure you volunteer for something within your capacity. As organiser of a society event, or as treasurer or secretary, you’ll be giving your society fresh blood and will raise your profile locally.
4. Star in a Skills Triathlon
A Skills Triathlon may not be quite as physically demanding as its sporting namesake, but it still takes grit and can bring you glory!
These popular events are an opportunity for young lawyers to show off their legal skills. Solicitors are coupled with law students, and teams compete in a range of activities, including negotiation and advocacy.
Like any event, the Skills Triathlon it is only as good as the people who attend it, so demand is high for promising young solicitors to sign up. Why not be one of them?
Unlike cricket and golf events, this is an opportunity to impress fellow members with your legal skills and professional ability - and receive an award to display in Reception! Again, a great way to raise your profile.
5. Write in the newsletter.
This is another way of raising your profile and adding to your portfolio of skills. By contributing to your local law society newsletter, you can build your reputation as an expert in your field.
Society newsletters normally have a three-month shelf life. The number of articles in each issue is usually restricted to maximise exposure. It’s a perfect chance to showcase your skills – not only to local solicitors but also headhunters, recruitment consultants, and senior representatives of the Law Society nationally.
And if your local society publishes its newsletter as a blog, your articles should be widely shared through social media. You’ll increase your exposure and build contacts (and referrals) from law firms throughout the country. You could go viral!
6. Build your online presence
Being active online is a fantastic opportunity to get ahead in the modern age. As a young lawyer, you’re most likely to be at the forefront of the latest developments in hi-tech communication.
The profession looks to young lawyers to lead the way in this area, through blogging, trend-setting on social media and making most of new technology to build networks.
You can bring back progressive ideas to your firm through forums and discussions with like-minded lawyers. By embracing your knowledge of current and upcoming tech, you’ve got a great opportunity to make an impact not only for yourself but also your firm, by raising their profile on social media and other online channels.
You could well bring in new business to the firm, and become a star in the eyes of your firm’s senior partners.
Wherever you wish your career to take you, competition is stiff and there are usually
wafer-thin margins between candidates. Consider these opportunities when you’re looking ahead to that promotion interview.
If you’re interested in finding out how we’re helping local law societies communicate with their members in the digital age, do pop by and see us.