How transferable skills help lawyers change careers
Many of the lawyers I work with believe their career options are limited when considering a career change. They feel that their existing legal experience is niche and therefore that they have few transferable skills and limited alternative career options available to them.
Is this true? Are there only limited career change options available for lawyers?
Fortunately, the answer to both of these questions is ‘no’. There are many career options available to lawyers. It may just take a bit of time to identify the option that is most suitable for you.
How do I identify suitable career options available to me?
Firstly, identify all the activities you do each day at work. Perhaps you manage a caseload, attend court, draft documents, speak to clients or conduct negotiations. Keep going until you have covered every aspect of your job as a lawyer.
Once you have completed your list of activities, think about the skills you use to assist you in carrying out each task. Use the following headings as a guideline:
- Interpersonal skills
- Communication Skills (verbal and written)
- Drafting skills
- Research and problem-solving skills
- Technical skills
- Commercial Awareness
Once you have identified all the skills you use each day, go through each one in turn and make it as specific as possible. This will make it easier to match your existing skill set to alternative job ideas. For example:
‘Interpreting and explaining difficult concepts to clients through my intellectual analysis.’
The next step is to start eliminating the skills you least enjoy, leaving you with those that motivate and inspire you the most. It is mainly the skills you enjoy that you will want to take forward into your next role.
Now start researching different job and career ideas that you find interesting and identify those which closely match your enjoyable skill set. Be creative and you will soon find that many skills can translate from one career to another and your list of alternative career ideas will start to expand. For example, if you enjoy explaining difficult concepts in a straightforward manner then your investigations could include different teaching roles.
Use ideas from topics you read about in the paper or the TV. Also, and most importantly, use your network of friends, families and work associates to assist with ideas. Take an interest in the world around you and keep thinking!
As a lawyer, remember your career change options are not limited. If you are considering a career change, you have many transferable skills which make you employable and you use these skills to a very high standard. All you need to do now is build your self-awareness, become aware of the skills you use each day and remain creative as you progress with your career change.
Tessa is a qualified solicitor and coach providing specialist career support for lawyers. For more information or to arrange a free consultation visit her website at www.tessaarmstrong.co.uk, email firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 07989 343195.