Life in a law firm
15 March 2007
You should by now be a lot more familiar with the UK legal market and the fact that law firms come in all different shapes and sizes. And you should know that working as a commercial lawyer does not mean you have to be based in London the likes of Birmingham, Bristol, Manchester, Leeds and Newcastle also have their own legal communities.
There are many different types of lawyer, specialising in work ranging from advising clients on multimillion-pound mergers to acting for a newspaper that is being sued for libel.
Nevertheless, choosing between magic circle, national and US firms is no easy task. For instance, training at a magic circle firm will give you kudos, but you will probably find yourself working longer hours than your mates working down the road at a midsize City firm. You are also likely to get more responsibility at an earlier stage in your career if you train with a smaller firm. Smaller firms also take on fewer trainees this may prove advantageous because you will not feel like a small fish in a big pond. Conversely, you might find it more appealing to be part of a bigger graduate intake as it can be more sociable.
Equally, to know how life as, say, an employment lawyer will compare with that in another field whether it be private client, banking or even family is also very difficult. Therefore, we asked a merry band of trainee solicitors from across the legal world to give us the inside track on what life is really like in a law firm.
So, although you might be sure about becoming a solicitor, you will need to find out is which practice area is best suited to you. Will it be hardcore corporate, crime, litigation or family? The choice is yours.
However, you should be aware that, once you specialise in a practice area, it is incredibly difficult to change. But do not worry, you will have plenty of time to decide which practice area is the one for you.