Links in radical move to reject over-specialisation

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  • About time. But let's wait and see if it actually happens in reality...headline grabbing is all well and good.

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  • So firms get associates that are easier to move into other departments when things get quieter, and associates get greater flexibility at the cost of expertise....
    So who loses out as these associates get more expensive but not all that more experienced in any one area? Clients...
    And who wins?... the partners, since they don't have to get rid of so many people, and can move people around when departments get busy. Oh, and the partners don't hand so much of the client relationship to the associates, so less risk of them becoming chummy with the clients and stealing them.
    If they are going to create an army of generalists then there really is no reason to stay with the big firms unless you need a massive amount of people on a piece of work (and even then the smaller firms may be able to mobilise an army of contracted lawyers)... clients go to the massive firms FOR specialisation.

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  • I know loads of people that haven't been offered a NQ job in the seat that they wanted and have ended up working in an area of law they are not very interested in. I think this idea will give NQs much greater flexibility when they qualify. But there is always the worry that you can be good at lots of different areas of law but an expert at nothing......

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  • This sort of idea has been floating about for ages. I think its great because as an associate you can quickly specialise in one very specific area of law but then if you want to change jobs or are made redundant you can find it difficult. The idea also mirrors what happens in America.

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  • This has got to be a rotational training scheme rather than creating hundreds of generalists. Having been on the other side of the table as a client, I wouldn't be happy to pay for some associate to get up to speed on an unfamiliar area of law, but equally I would rather have lawyers who are all-rounders and can take a commercial view.

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  • Taking a commercial view is not inconsistent with being a specialist, nor is being a bit of a generalist consistent with being commercial...
    If that is what people want then I would try and get associates more secondments...

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  • LOL Are Linklaters admitting that Slaughter & May's approach is best?

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  • jack of all trades, master of none.

    would clients pay 2 yr pqe rates for someone who's got 6 months' relevant experience?

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  • This is not as easy as it sounds. From PQE2 onwards clients will expect a certain competency level in the area that the associate is providing them services in. I was in this situation at a big US law firm in London and was challenging to say the least, to have advanced skills in derivatives but little or no experience in eg eurobond offerings.

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  • The rush to specialise is much too early these days and in order to give a the best service to a client a breadth of experience is invaluable so that you can at least recognise there is an issue even if you do not know the answer and it makes life more interesting for the lawyer

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