As we come to the end of the first month of 2018, it may be that you have had a hugely productive start to the new year. Perhaps you have updated your CV, your online profiles (particularly LinkedIn) and you have started interviewing for a new role. Perhaps you have already even secured a new job. Well done!

But there may be others among you who are still wondering where to start.

After all, finding a new job in 2018 isn’t as simple as it once was. For a start there are a wealth of options; deciding you’ve drained all possibility from the job you’re in is only the start. You then have to decide what direction you want your career to take – generalist or specialist? Full-time or flexible? London or the regions, or maybe even overseas?

And with many people now changing careers, it might well be that you decide to switch sectors or job role entirely. For example, we work with an increasing number of candidates who are coming into law from other sectors. The Big 4 professional services firms are an obvious draw for law firms looking for talent further afield. But we have placed great talent from beyond that too – our case studies on our Totum Leadership page include two leaders in law who came from advertising and retail.

We have also noted changes within the legal sector too. Where there may once have been a bit of an ‘us and them’ feel to lawyers and business services professionals, we now find an increasing cross-over as lawyers see business services roles as a genuine alternative to a traditional legal partnership.

 Our director Deborah Gray is making a presentation at the end of January on the subject of ‘Alternative Careers in Law’ that discusses these trends – we will report further after the event. But suffice to say we have known lawyers to shift into business roles including legal project management, product management, strategy and business innovation, and knowledge management. The list goes on.

Thinking big


So, if you’re still working on that new job for 2018, here are some things to consider:

  1. Even if you are desperate to get out of your existing position, try to take the long view. Consider where you would ideally like to be in five years’ time and incorporate that into your planning. Include in this, thoughts as to where and how you would like to work. You may not be able to achieve all of your wish-list in your next position, but you can choose roles that move you in the right direction.
  2. Don’t dismiss the idea of talking to your firm about your aspirations, even if they don’t align with what you are currently doing. This is a time of huge change in law and we often talk to law firms that are keen to expand functions and bring in new skills. Even if your firm doesn’t currently have the role or function you’re interested in joining, they may have plans to launch one in future – express your interest and you could put yourself in pole position to help establish it.
  3. If you fundamentally dislike what you do, don’t dismiss the idea of a career change. The legal profession and the workplace more broadly has never been so favourable for career switchers. You don’t have to stay with the career you chose when you were 22.
  4. If you know that you would like to incorporate some flexibility into your career in the near or mid-term future – then do some research into the firms that best sponsor the life choices you ultimately seek. If you dream of working part-time so you can also, say, run your own business or pursue a sporting endeavour, then perhaps best not to choose firms that are known for their traditional working culture.
  5. In this day and age, it’s also worth considering the values of the firm you will choose to work for. Many people find it increasingly important to work for companies that share their outlook on life. Take time to research the market to ensure you’re applying to the firms that boast brands you will be proud to represent.

Once you’ve made these ‘big’ decisions you might find it easier to engage in the specifics of your job search in the year ahead.


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