Over the past five years CareerBalance coaches have been assisting a steady stream of barristers in the UK who are struggling to make a living. With our assistance they have moved to employed roles in the commercial, public and not-for-profit sectors. Those most severely affected by reforms to the legal system and Government cuts to Legal Aid include practitioners in Criminal, Family, Personal Injury and Employment Law.
At the Legatum Institute on 23rd June 2015, and in his first speech since being appointed Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice, the Rt. Hon. Michael Gove called for further reform of the justice system in England and Wales. He also said lawyers who have “done very well” financially could be compelled to give up their time for free to shore up the less well-funded areas of law.
This call to the legal profession unfortunately offers little comfort to a growing number of barristers in the UK who remain anxious about their personal finances whilst doing a job that requires very high levels of commitment, professionalism and skill.
If you are a barrister and thinking about a change in career direction, here are some thoughts:
- If you love your work then see if there are ways in which you can develop or diversify your practice. CareerBalance coaches can offer you good business advice, including tips on marketing yourself more effectively.
- Few recruitment consultants understand barristers, so you will need to use a mix of job-hunting methods to finding good employed roles.
- Do your homework. There are roles for barristers in firms of solicitors, and in in-house legal teams across different sectors including professional bodies and regulatory organisations. CareerBalance keeps a constant eye out for interesting legal roles that could suit our barrister clients.
- Know your worth. Salaries for lawyers can vary significantly and you may be tempted to accept a lower salary if you are changing career direction. We can help you to value your skills and expertise and advise you on just how much of these are transferable.