Plan B: If You Can’t Get a TC Or Pupillage, Become An Entrepreneur

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By Alex Aldridge on

The BBC’s Paul ‘I’ve-lived-in-London-for-20-years-but-still-speak-like-a-miner’ Mason is pessimistic about the future of conventional graduate jobs.

“The west’s model is broken. It cannot deliver enough high-value work for its highly educated workforce,” he wrote last week.

But Mason is encouraged by the initiative shown by the youth of today, who he believes could be saved by their innate capacity for entrepreneurship. “All those tests, drills, teach-to-exam lectures, and the relentless vocationality of education, has made this generation highly entrepreneurial,” he added.

The trouble law graduates face as they bid to become the Richard Bransons of the legal world is, of course, that they need to have first completed a pupillage or training contract in order to be able to set up on their own as practising lawyers. Without the right to provide legal services, their options are limited. And as Legal Cheek has found out the hard way, placing adverts offering unregulated legal advice on internet sites like Fiverr (see above) doesn’t always yield results.

In the past, when pupillages and TCs grew on trees, it was a simple case of doing your training then taking whatever direction you wanted. Dame Helena Kennedy QC explained this at a recent event I attended, charting how she and a bunch of other upstarts founded their own chambers as 23 year-olds to take advantage of the then boom in legal aid funding. How times have changed.

Still, there are options….

Like getting a foothold on the road to literary stardom by writing law school hate blogs.

Or, better still, creating a blog that has nothing to do with the law that becomes hugely successful. Two anonymous Californian law students are currently raking in plentiful sums from online ad revenue following the global success of their brilliantly simple – and very funny – Tumblr blog, #Whatshouldwecallme.

Alternatively, rather than fight against the wave of jobless law graduates seeking work, you could try to harness it – as Bar graduate Aiden Brindley has done, making use of his experience of the paralegal job market to set up his own recruitment agency, Baby Barristers, which is now two years-old. There are more entrepreneurial law graduates behind the Bar information site Pupillage Pages and entertainment company LawParties.

Brindley’s advice to those currently graduating from law school without jobs to go to?

“The combination of an entrepreneurial attitude and legal training is formidable in a business environment, but have no illusions: if you start your own business you have to be prepared to take risks, be prepared to be poor for a while and be prepared for disappointments,” he says, adding:

“The best advice I can offer anyone thinking of starting their own business is to keep initial financial exposure to a minimum (until invoices start coming in), and to keep going at it. There are plenty of fledgling businesses that fail in spite of their commercial potential because their owners lose belief and give up.

“This may all sound very negative, but when things start working there is no substitute for the feeling of being your own boss and being in control of your business direction.”