‘I’m thinking of taking a gap year after qualifying as a solicitor. Is this career suicide?’

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One NQ asks for readers’ advice

In the latest instalment in our Career Conundrums series, one newly qualified (NQ) solicitor has an itch to take a year out and explore more beyond law but worries this could be “career suicide”.

“I have recently qualified as a solicitor. It’s taken years of hard work to get where I am and I know how lucky I am to have secured an NQ position — especially during 2020! I am happy with my career choice and the firm I’ve joined.

However, at the same time, after all those years of studying and climbing the ladder (and having never left my hometown), I am also craving a bit of an adventure. I’ve been exploring the idea of moving abroad for a while, however there doesn’t seem to be many opportunities for a lawyer from the UK, at least not in my field (criminal defence/legal aid).

I’m wondering what potential future employers would think if I were to take some time out doing something completely different/unrelated to law (perhaps one year doing TEFL, for example), particularly if I were to do so within/around two years PQE? Would it be a red flag?

I’m in my late 20s without dependents etc. so I think this would be the best time to do it, but I also worry that it would be career suicide? Grateful for any input. Thank you.”

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