I did a talk at the College of Law on Thursday, speaking to a number of career changers and people coming to law a bit later in life. I was the only solicitor there, together with three barristers, which I initially thought was an unusual balance. I realised as discussions progressed that in fact this shouldn’t be unusual. Barristers are expected to take on a lot of solo responsibility early on, and need to build a client base almost immediately in order to thrive and survive. The more experience you have, the more likely you are to handle that responsibility, gain people’s trust, and have a contact base you can work up to get your career moving quickly.
One interesting question I was asked at the end of the evening was by a guy who had given up his career in aviation to come to law. He wanted to know, quite frankly, if it was worth it. He was a couple of months into the GDL, which is quite a daunting time – you have a lot of legal areas to learn very quickly, and have a lot more ahead in terms of studying, job applications, training, before you even qualify and start your full career. From our conversation, it seemed he was getting a lot out of the course. One interesting thing he said was that he has started to see things in a different light; things in the news, how property ownership actually works, and so on. He has a point, and it was good to be able to reassure him that if he is making these connections, then it’s already a good sign that he’s done the right thing by gaining some additional knowledge, wherever he ends up.