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+ Setting Career Goals Keith Etherington Law Society Council Member for Solicitors Practising Civil Litigation.

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Presentation on theme: "+ Setting Career Goals Keith Etherington Law Society Council Member for Solicitors Practising Civil Litigation."— Presentation transcript:

1 + Setting Career Goals Keith Etherington Law Society Council Member for Solicitors Practising Civil Litigation

2 + Routes to Partnership Once upon a time…. Private practice, in-house, government But from 2011 Alternative Business Structures – “Tesco Law” Entirely new regime Other threats: Jackson report – funding access to justice may affect the viability of many firms Completely new Solicitors Code of Conduct built upon the idea of “outcomes focussed regulation” Professor Stephen Mayson predicts that by 2017 3,000 of the 8,500 firms with fewer than 10 partners will cease to exist Should this still be a goal?

3 + First question to ask This can no longer be assumed What are the firms main profit areas? Are these area likely to be the target of bulk providers? E.g. conveyancing, accident claims, wills & probate Is the firm heavily reliant on legal aid or a single client? How old are the partners? Are you their exit strategy? Should you choose owning equity in an old structure or seeking senior involvement in new structures? What are the chances of this firm being around in the future?

4 + The brave new world of ABS Variety of business models: partnership, LLP, Ltd Co Legal disciplinary partnerships – mixed lawyers LDPs – some non-lawyers Externally funded legal services businesses Multi disciplinary practices (MDPs)

5 + Considerations before joining a business Risk of personal liability to managers Tax position for managers Disclosure of financial information Perceptions of staff, clients and others

6 + Risk Why do partnerships still exist? Worst of all business models Insurance protects against most risks, but not: Discrimination claims Reputational damage Operational failures Strategic risks

7 + New opportunities with ABS Benefits of large corporations Decent pensions Proper maternity/paternity leave Management, performance and salary structure More chance of specialisation

8 + Personal career planning Partnership once seen as end of career planning Treadmill of exams school, university, post-grad Diligently attain partnership but then what? 30-40 years working life left after that

9 + If owning the equity is your goal Associate – 4/5 years 3-4 years as an associate then salaried perhaps fixed share equity partner Positioning yourself to succeed

10 + Current market Economic Factors The Disciplines TransactionalLitigation - Co/Co/Property/Banking- Commercial Litigation - Insolvency/Employment- PI Private ClientNiche - Wills/Probate/Tax & Trusts- Tax/Construction - Conveyancing - Pensions/Planning/Environmental

11 + Where are the opportunities? Firm Type National/City/US firm Mid Tier/Niche New office opening High Street Firm Size v Remuneration Location Move for the opportunity?

12 + Practical Tips - Billing and competency assumed What makes you stand out? Niche specialism Work winning Managing key client relationships Building a team Training/mentoring role Cross referrals Secondments

13 + Marketing What does this mean? Marketing at your level with clients Arranging dinners/drinks evenings, sports events Local networking groups Chamber of Commerce C&I Group, AWS, JLD Industry events, breakfast meetings Publish articles in legal journals Internal update bulletins/know-how Delivering legal update seminars to clients

14 + Your personal plan Marketing/work winning - see above Technical skills Skills set-niche v generalist Billing and chargeable hours Feedback from appraisals/Advice/mentoring from partners Administration i.e. WIP and general firm wide procedures Internal/external profile Training/mentoring junior fee earners Your firm’s partnership criteria (if published)

15 + Moving to another firm for partnership Move with a view to becoming a partner – analyse risk Consider profile of practice Location change Client following – you v your firm - where is loyalty? Replacement

16 + Benchmarking Create a plan Set milestones Review regularly to assess achievements Be prepared to change focus Expect to work hard as competition fierce Don’t give up

17 + Other options to private practice Many opportunities in national and local government Solicitors in the armed forces Working in house for a large corporation Charity legal departments Judiciary

18 + What type of judge? District Judge (Civil) District Judge (Criminal) Circuit Judge? How many more?

19 + Judicial Positions Assistant Judge Advocates General Costs Judges District Judges (Civil and Criminal) Employment Judges First tier tribunal judges (Social Entitlement Chamber, Education and Social Care Chamber and tax Chamber) Immigration Judges Coroners And more than 30 others

20 + Benefits  Challenge  Flexible working hours  Salary / Pension

21 + Judicial Salaries 2009/10 District Judge, Tribunal Judge £102,921 Circuit Judge, Regional Chair of ET £128,296 President, Employment Tribunal £138,548 High Court Judge £172,753 Lord Justice of Appeal £196,707 Lord Chief Justice £239,845

22 + Fee paid Judges Deputy District Judges etc Important first step before obtaining a full time position 20 days sitting per year £468 per day

23 + But I’ve only just qualified…

24 + Key skills 1. Intellectual capacity High level of expertise in your chosen area or profession Ability quickly to absorb and analyse information Appropriate knowledge of the law and its underlying principles, or the ability to acquire this knowledge where necessary

25 + Key skills 2. Personal qualities Integrity and independence of mind Sound judgment Decisiveness and objectivity Ability and willingness to learn and develop professionally 3. An ability to understand and deal fairly Ability to treat everyone with respect and sensitivity whatever their background Willingness to listen with patience and courtesy

26 + Key Skills 4. Authority and communication skills Ability to explain the procedure and any decisions reached clearly and succinctly to all those involved Ability to inspire respect and confidence Ability to maintain authority when challenged 5. Efficiency Ability to work at speed and under pressure Ability to organise time effectively and produce clear reasoned judgments expeditiously Ability to work constructively with others (including leadership and managerial skills where appropriate)

27 + Evidencing the criteria Keep a diary of key cases Voluntary work or other non-legal activity Have a date in mind when you will start the application process Judicial shadowing Notes of making difficult decisions

28 + Application process Application form with three referees Written closed book exam Two closed book role plays Interview with three panel members

29 + More information:

30 + The Elevator Speech Articulating your key skills

31 Scouting for Boys It’s a book not a criminal offence! Created the Scout movement 100 years ago. BP in scouting stands for BE PREPARED!

32 + What is an elevator speech? An American concept Concise communication designed to be delivered in the time it takes a lift to travel from the top to the bottom floors of a building

33 + As versatile as a Swiss Army knife Networking events Careers fairs Speaking to potential employers If you are in a lift with someone important Focussing your mind on your key objectives and successes in your organisation It can be used in many situations:

34 + How long should it be? Wide variation between experts Minimum 20 seconds Maximum two minutes No reason why you can’t employ both Use a short as a soundbite Then use the long one once you’ve attracted interest

35 + Format of the soundbite Start with “a hook” Your first statement should require the listener to ask a question in return Avoid the tacky or corny Witty is good

36 + Example Hi, my name is Tom and I turn dreams into reality How do you do that? I’m a wedding planner for high income couples working with elite status hotels across the world

37 + It may sound cheesy but… It immediately demonstrates self confidence and self belief In the UK it is unusual and so will make you stand out from the crowd It opens the door to a pitch about what you are trying to achieve and how the other may be able to help you

38 + Full elevator speech About 200 - 300 words Dozens of examples on the internet Know your enemy! If you want a job explain how you will make more profit than current employees If you want sponsorship emphasise the return on the “investment.” The listener is likely to be thinking “What’s in it for me?” So make it plain.

39 Structure Depends on what you are pitching for If you are looking for a pay rise: Who am I? Why am I worth the extra money? What will the firm’s return be? Why am I different to other employees?

40 Things not to say I’m skint You gave Jane more so I should get the same I want a new car Because I’ll go somewhere else (they might just let you) Any other sob story

41 What’s your USP? Unique selling proposition Why are you the best in your department? What would the firm lose if you left? Why are you more profitable? Which client are with the firm because of you? Which major cases have you won?

42 + Structure for a job seeker Who am I? Who are the target employers? Define THE employer What need or issue does the employer face? Identify yourself in terms of job function What do you contribute? Prioritize the benefits THEN Identify the SINGLE compelling reason for the employer to hire you

43 Knockout blow Develop a statement of the primary differentiation of yourself The SINGLE most important thing that sets you apart from the competition

44 + Do’s and Don’ts Do’s: Sound effortless / conversational Rewrite your speech to remove odd words or clumsy phrasing Practice Be confident and enthusiastic Maintain eye contact Stop if the listener is bored/not listening End with an action request: business card / interview appointment Be short

45 + Don’ts Be shy Ramble / waffle Rush Focus on yourself Let it end with the listener thinking “So what?” Forget to update your speech regularly Sound monotone Go on and on and on and on STAND UP, SPEAK UP, SHUT UP

46 + Benefits If you are talking to a sponsor or potential employer this is obvious Use as a team building exercise Underline existing committee job descriptions to give the individual confidence in their role Transferable skill: useful for commercial breakfast meetings

47 Baden Powell said be prepared Be positive Be passionate Be potent Just not Pathetic Petulant Or perspiring


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