Entering the legal world can be daunting for even the most confident junior lawyer. Between learning different skills in a new job, working alongside those many years your senior, and trying to navigate who you want to be; it certainly takes some time to find your feet.
With this in mind, we have put together a list of things that we feel junior lawyers need to know to help them navigate their early role to ensure a fulfilling and successful career.
By Elsa Tatam. Published 09 November 2022. Last updated 11 January 2023.
Practising law is a commitment
Practising law involves commitment to the profession, to professionalism, and to the discipline or area of law you may want to operate in. It can take many years to qualify as a solicitor. In their working life, junior lawyers will be no stranger to working hard and putting in long hours to achieve a final goal. Long hours and a heavy workload often go hand in hand when practicing law, at any level. However, the rewards are abundant, such as being able to enjoy a fulfilling career.
Your reputation is very important
It doesn’t take long to develop a reputation when practicing law and therefore, it is important that you always take responsibility for your behaviour and attitude. Once you have a good reputation, you will gain the trust of colleagues and others in the workplace. You will also gain the trust of clients and, if you prove yourself as consistently knowledgeable and trustworthy, both lawyers and clients will be more inclined to listen to what you have to say.
Integrity is key
Your ability to advise and reassure your clients will be what leads them to trust you - and you’ll want to maintain that. Upholding a sense of integrity is essential for building trust and a strong reputation for yourself. Therefore, integrity is one of the most important values for a junior lawyer to uphold. The profession is regulated, and the codes of conduct always require you act with absolute honesty and integrity - misleading a client is dealt with seriously within firms.
The importance of honesty and integrity are ingrained in our Professional Development programmes for junior lawyers including the Professional Skills Course (PSC) which focuses on commercial awareness, legal skills in practise, and offers a range of optional modules for trainees to build skills in an area of their choice.
Courtesy needs to be observed with everyone you deal with
As you enter the world of law, you need to recognise that respect is a very important aspect of your working life; respect throughout the firm, for all those working within the firm, for the clients, and respect for the system. Learning how to communicate effectively and respectfully is another key element ingrained into our Professional Development courses, teaching trainees to maintain professionalism at all times through the various forms of communication necessary to their career.
Networking can open up new opportunities
Networking is an excellent tool to open up new opportunities when entering the world as junior lawyer. Your professional network will serve as an excellent aid in raising your profile. By attending training courses, you will meet likeminded practitioners who you may well work with on matters going forward.
By attending industry events, you can help yourself by building up your reputation and showcasing your knowledge by interacting with the right individuals. Your networking ability will help you grow your reputation internally and externally. Networking is an excellent resource to help you gain new perspectives and new ideas from those outside your current circle.
Become a sustainable lawyer
Climate change is an issue affecting all parts of society, including the workplace, and law firms ae no different. Go green and consider your role in climate change; think about sustainability, your impact on the environment, and educate yourself on matters pertaining to climate change. The Law Society offers guidance on how climate change has, and will impact, the legal sector. These changes can even impact the advice you offer clients. The more you know the better prepared you are to inform change, both now and in the future.
Enhancing your skills can build up your confidence
When you’re training to qualify to practice law, it can be tempting to want to put education behind you and just get to the courtroom or to client matters. However, enhancing your skills can build up your confidence and capability in tenfold. The Professional Skills Course (PSC) is the final, compulsory part of training for trainee solicitors before they qualify as a solicitor.
The PSC is compiled of three compulsory core modules covering the key areas of practice:
- Advocacy and Communication Skills
- Client Care and Professional Standards
- Financial and Business Skills
There are then 24 hours of elective module training that are tailored to suit areas of interest and the skills that junior lawyers seeking admission can focus on:
- Practice Skills
- Contentious Skills
- Non-Contentious Skills
- High Rights of Audience
Interested in how to enhance your skillset as a junior lawyer and increase your employability? Discover more about our Professional Skills Course.