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Legal graduates, time to think twice about your next employer

by Heat Recruitment

Have you just finished your degree and are thinking about taking the next step of your legal career i.e. applying to a law firm? Most graduates will consider the magic circle and big law firms for an ultimate career. If you think that only the big names in the legal industry can offer you the best career prospects then think twice.

Have you ever considered the opportunities a high-street firm could provide you with? Let us consider the benefits of both types.

Whilst large law firms have their own advantages, they do not have to be the only place where you can establish your career. Yes, these do come with a brand name that will impress. Having a renowned name on your CV definitely attracts the attention of potential employers and is impressive. However, the experience listed under this brand will be the deciding factor.

On the other hand, high street firms are very popular within the local communities and hold an outstanding reputation. With clients simply being able to walk into the office you will provide a more personal approach giving you more recognition in the locality.

Large firms offer excellent career progression with many opportunities for training and development. You have the benefit of firms funding your further qualifications too. However, it must be noted that getting their employees to progress has become more and more the agenda of high street firms as well with a view of retaining staff and a strategy to expand the business. If you prove your potential, then there is also partnership on the table.

Now, when it comes to progression, getting into a big firm may open doors to a training contract which is something next on the list of many graduates after their LPC. But, do you know that many high-street firms also provide training contracts and great support for you to complete it?

High street firms will have the benefit of working closely with colleagues, providing you with more hands-on experience and exposure to handling different types of matters. Not to mention, the ability to interact with senior staff will allow you to create a greater impact on the business. This is because you will be able to voice your opinions and give feedback to enhance the business as well as the working environment.

With large firms having their branches in other regions, it provides the opportunity for staff to relocate. Many have offices in other areas of the UK as well as overseas. This can be exciting for many, however you need to consider if this is an important factor for you and be realistic as to whether you will ever be able to or want to relocate. Likewise, you will have a diverse client base where you can come across other big corporate entities as well as high net worth individuals. With smaller firms your clients could mainly be general public, but again it will be on a one-to-one basis and a personal touch.

There is a structured environment with clear levels of hierarchy in big firms. Often, there will be different departments dealing with other aspects of the business such as HR and marketing. The roles of every member will be very well defined whereas the responsibilities within smaller firms will overlap. For instance, solicitors may also do the recruitment and advertising of the firm alongside handling their caseload. Many may prefer the former concept as then they are working in a fast-paced environment and just want to get on with the work. For some, having more responsibilities other than running a caseload can be seen as an interesting challenge and also diversifying their role.

Finally, the notion that big firms are the only ones that offer a high salary is just a myth. More and more local firms are now being competitive with the package that they offer in order to attract the best talent in the market.

With so many choices available, it can make one indecisive of what option to go for. The key question to ask yourself would be what type of work and environment you would enjoy the most. Getting your foot into the right firm will be absolutely crucial for your long-term career. The best advice would be not to use the size of the firm as deciding factor.

We would love for you to share your thoughts- Let us know if we have missed anything. What are the benefits of working for your firm?

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