Ed note: This is the fifth in a series of posts where leading members of the legal profession share their wisdom with the next generation of wannabes. The first four are here. We're featuring one-a-week in the run-up to 'Legal Cheek at the Google Campus' on 5 December.
A career in legal services wasn't my choice. My introduction to law was truly random, writes Jeremy Hopkins.
I finished my education in the 1980s. The concept of careers advice was in its infancy, its benefits being limited to those who had already decided exactly what career they wanted but needed to know the best route there. In reality, very few teenagers really know at that stage what career they want. I certainly wasn't one of them. I had no idea of the existence of a job role entitled "barristers' clerk", never mind any thoughts of becoming one.
The other day I had a coffee with the guy who many of the top law firms bank with, Barclays head of professional services Tom Wood.
As we sipped our expensive cappuccinos, while inwardly thanking our lucky stars that we'd been born ten years later than the current cohort of graduates being spluttered out of universities into a barren job market, Wood made a really good point:
"It’s strange that law schools don’t teach students about the legal market,” he remarked.
"Because with the lack of jobs, and all the changes taking place with Alternative Business Structures (ABS), it would be really useful for them to know more than many do at present."
It’s so true! Most law students’ knowledge of the rapidly changing legal market they hope to join is gleaned from the generalist musings of often-incompetent law school careers advisors, or the sort of PR-laden garbage churned out by many legal publications. They don’t need to know loads, just a few important basics. And the starting point is that right now there are basically four different types of law firm – and two of those are fast-heading for extinction...
There’s currently a fad among lawyers to craft – and sometimes tragically star in – spoof videos. We know this because we keep getting sent them, accompanied by notes urging us to share the hilarity with our readers. Well, be careful what you wish for...
Fouled-mouthed ex-Linklaters solicitor Nick West and his "goes viral" dream.
Something tells us that war crimes lawyer Siobhan Beasley's full-time foray into comedy won't last...
There was excited talk of "profound change", "broken business models" and "the end of Law 1.0" at a debate hosted this morning in Middle Temple Hall by Riverview Law, the new firm-chambers hybrid that refuses to charge its clients by the hour.
As the assembled legal futurists' speeches crossed the hour mark, audience members were showing symptoms of having been hypnotised by the charms of life "at the forefront of Law 3.0 going forward" when Legal Futures editor Neil Rose went and spoiled everything...
During a brief spell working as a paralegal at Clyde & Co in 2006, I routinely billed the firm’s clients for the many hours I spent playing the game 'Snake' on my phone. No one seemed to notice.
Certainly, I never felt any urgency to get my work done quickly. Why would I? I was being billed out to clients at £100 an hour – the standard rate for a paralegal – and the more time I spent doing stuff, the more money the firm made. Looking back, it was easily the most inefficient work environment I’ve ever experienced. I dread to think what law firms are like now that there is Twitter...
I recently received this email from a prospective law student...
Read my response below.