18% of lawyers would quit their job to go on The Apprentice

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By Alex Aldridge on

Figure is down from 25% in 2011


Nearly one in five lawyers would ditch their jobs in order to appear on BBC business reality show The Apprentice.

This figure — which has been obtained by research from legal recruiter Laurence Simons — seems surprisingly high, but it actually marks a decrease on the results of an identical 2011 survey when 25% of lawyers said they’d quit their current roles in return for the chance to impress Lord Sugar on national TV.

The 18% of lawyers willing to swap everything for The Apprentice glory — and follow in the footsteps of last year’s unsuccessful legal duo Felipe Alviar-Baquero, formely of Slaughter and May, and Lauren Riley, a St Albans family solicitor — is also less than equivalent figures for accountants.

31% of beancounters would be willing to take this extreme step. When asked this question four years ago just 21% of accountants answered this way.

What can we take from these findings, which were drawn from surveying 300 legal and accountancy professionals?

Well, Laurence Simons reckons they can be explained by a change in the prize for winners of The Apprentice that was brought in from 2011. Before this, victors got a £100,000 a year job, but after they received a £250,000 investment in return for a 50% stake in a new company that they would launch.

This has put off less entrepreneurial lawyers, believes the recruiter, but appeals to go-getting accountants.

The boss of accountancy recruiter Marks Sattin, which helped out on the survey, has gone one step further, arguing that the results suggest that accountants will soon conquer the legal profession. Over to Marks Sattin chief Dave Way:

With the 2011 Legal Services Act opening the doors for the Big Four accountancy firms to build up their legal services divisions, the tables have turned in the last four years with accountants now showing more willingness to take risks than lawyers. Accountants may truly become the chameleons of the professional services world.

Alternatively, the survey could simply show that accountancy is a worse job than law — and people who do it are, for whatever reason, generally more susceptible to the questionable charms of kitsch reality TV.

There was support for elements of this theory in last night’s opening episode of the 2015 show, in which some of the hapless contestants tried to flog salads for £9 a pop. Lawyers do their best to relate to this stuff, but ultimately it’s a struggle for them.


What, no lawyers on this year’s The Apprentice!? [Legal Cheek]