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Lawyer at 25...

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    Hi there,

    I am 25 year old guy, thinking about a career in law. This isn't the first time I've had this idea, and I actually hold a degree in Jurisprudence from Oxford. I don't actually recall the particular reason why I meandered away from this path, but generally I wasn't performing well academically, I remember struggling to obtain a decent internship/vac scheme, and eventually I discovered my passion for International Development. Unexpectedly I managed to snatch a 2:1 from the jaws of mediocrity, but this wasn't enough for me to recommit to the legal profession.

    Since, I have obtained a masters in int relations, economics and development from SOAS, worked for the NHS for 1.5 years, a humanitarian relief charity for 10 months, and currently I am working for an intergovernmental organisation on ICT4Dev issues.

    However, despite retaining a passion for international development, I find myself in a bit of a rut professionally. I am acquiring very little in the way of professional skills, either as a project manager or in the way of research. That is not to say I do not have achievements in either of these areas, but rather that I am struggling to develop any kind of specialism.

    So coming round to the meat of this post, this has led to some soul searching with regards to my future career. Despite leaving the law behind professionally, I have retained an interest, particular with regards to niche areas such as the right to development, and environmental law. However, I realise for me to effectively contribute to either of these areas I am under the impression I need to qualify as a solicitor.

    My question is whether my age and my lack of work experience will hinder my chances of obtaining a decent training contract? Also, I would be interested to hear from anyone who has transitioned from a commercial environment to something more niche along the lines afore mentioned.

    Apologies for the lengthy post.

    N
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    Basically, your age won't hinder you. Plenty of trainees are in their late 20s and plenty of firms like people with "life experience". If you sell your time working for the NHS and the humanitarian relief charity in the right way, I suspect you could do very well at a commercial firm.

    I'd keep an open mind as far as your areas of interest are concerned, though. Especially since most environmental lawyers spend their time defending polluters, rather than sticking it to them
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    (Original post by richie123)
    Basically, your age won't hinder you. Plenty of trainees are in their late 20s and plenty of firms like people with "life experience". If you sell your time working for the NHS and the humanitarian relief charity in the right way, I suspect you could do very well at a commercial firm.

    I'd keep an open mind as far as your areas of interest are concerned, though. Especially since most environmental lawyers spend their time defending polluters, rather than sticking it to them
    Quite. This is my concern. Part of the reason I am hesitant about embarking on this path is the knowledge that I may have to compromise my ethics - ethics which led me to working in the public/charitable sectors in the first place. There also seems to be a dearth information and career paths leading into the kind of work I want to do. I had thought about the Government Legal Service - is this something people here are familiar with?

    Nevertheless, it is good to know my age won't necessarily be a hindrance. Thanks for the info.
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    [QUOTE=swami;37718639]Hi there,

    I am 25 year old guy, thinking about a career in law. This isn't the first time I've had this idea, and I actually hold a degree in Jurisprudence from Oxford. I don't actually recall the particular reason why I meandered away from this path, but generally I wasn't performing well academically, I remember struggling to obtain a decent internship/vac scheme, and eventually I discovered my passion for International Development. Unexpectedly I managed to snatch a 2:1 from the jaws of mediocrity, but this wasn't enough for me to recommit to the legal profession.

    Since, I have obtained a masters in int relations, economics and development from SOAS, worked for the NHS for 1.5 years, a humanitarian relief charity for 10 months, and currently I am working for an intergovernmental organisation on ICT4Dev issues.

    However, despite retaining a passion for international development, I find myself in a bit of a rut professionally. I am acquiring very little in the way of professional skills, either as a project manager or in the way of research. That is not to say I do not have achievements in either of these areas, but rather that I am struggling to develop any kind of specialism.

    So coming round to the meat of this post, this has led to some soul searching with regards to my future career. Despite leaving the law behind professionally, I have retained an interest, particular with regards to niche areas such as the right to development, and environmental law. However, I realise for me to effectively contribute to either of these areas I am under the impression I need to qualify as a solicitor.

    My question is whether my age and my lack of work experience will hinder my chances of obtaining a decent training contract? Also, I would be interested to hear from anyone who has transitioned from a commercial environment to something more niche along the lines afore mentioned.

    Apologies for the lengthy post.

    definitely your age isnt a plus since in the same age there are lawyers with degree and two year experience but also isnt soo bad ....its all up to you and how good u think you ll be in this and how much you like it
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    I'm afraid I don't have anything particularly useful in regard to your specific questions, but I just wanted to say that I really identified with your post.

    I'm an Oxford lawyer, Finals start on Monday and that 2:1 is starting to look pretty questionable right now. It reassuring to know that you managed to survive Finals (!) and it's great to hear that you haven't gone down the stereotypical City path after you finished Oxford, like so many people seem to. I also have specific legal interests which don't tie in with corporate firms, so my advice would be to try and find some niche firms that share the same interests as you do. I doubt you'd find the Magic Circle and the like very rewarding. Accept that there isn't going to be a direct path into what you eventually want to do, but the road that you take to get there will be half the fun.
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    Most trainees at my firm started when they were 23-26. Some started when they were much older. Age by itself won't hold you back.
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    (Original post by swami)
    I had thought about the Government Legal Service - is this something people here are familiar with?
    The GLS is definitely an option, and plenty of people go into it because they have a similar background to yourself. However if you go in as a trainee you get very little influence over which department you go into and in some cases which seats you get to do. So yes you are working for the public sector, but you might not necessarily get to work on environmental stuff from the start. There is flexibility to move as your career progresses.

    Your background is something that is likely to be valued by the GLS as it does show a commitment to public service, and they do like that.

    It is still quite challenging to get through the trainee process, and it can be easier to get through once you are a qualified lawyer.
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    Thanks for the reassurance and advice guys.

    (Original post by tabbycat1)
    I'm afraid I don't have anything particularly useful in regard to your specific questions, but I just wanted to say that I really identified with your post.

    I'm an Oxford lawyer, Finals start on Monday and that 2:1 is starting to look pretty questionable right now. It reassuring to know that you managed to survive Finals (!) and it's great to hear that you haven't gone down the stereotypical City path after you finished Oxford, like so many people seem to. I also have specific legal interests which don't tie in with corporate firms, so my advice would be to try and find some niche firms that share the same interests as you do. I doubt you'd find the Magic Circle and the like very rewarding. Accept that there isn't going to be a direct path into what you eventually want to do, but the road that you take to get there will be half the fun.
    Ahh, the dreaded finals. Good luck, and without meaning to sound cliched, take every exam as it comes. I recall having a couple of shockers early on, but I would try to put it behind me, and look ahead at the next exam. And thanks for your advice; you're right that finding the right firm will be very important for me.

    (Original post by Aerasay)
    The GLS is definitely an option, and plenty of people go into it because they have a similar background to yourself. However if you go in as a trainee you get very little influence over which department you go into and in some cases which seats you get to do. So yes you are working for the public sector, but you might not necessarily get to work on environmental stuff from the start. There is flexibility to move as your career progresses.

    Your background is something that is likely to be valued by the GLS as it does show a commitment to public service, and they do like that.

    It is still quite challenging to get through the trainee process, and it can be easier to get through once you are a qualified lawyer.
    This is very useful info, thank you. My first hurdle will be to rediscover my passion/interest in the law. Having taken the decision several years ago now to move away from law, I have not only forgotten most of what I studied, but those reasons which motivated me to initially embark on this path. I figure I have missed the deadlines for vac schemes, so I guess I have got some time to mug up again. I doubt I will be able to take time out for work experience in the mean time, but in the course of my work I will work on cybercrime initiatives and the development of regulatory environment for open data projects - I'm hoping these will serve me well.
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    Here is some information about the work and training of the Government Legal Service (read this page too).

    And something on environmental law...
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    (Original post by richie123)
    Here is some information about the work and training of the Government Legal Service (read this page too).

    And something on environmental law...
    Uber useful. Thank you very much. To try and reacquaint myself with the law I was planning on going through some old essays, notes, and standard publications like the lawyer. Any other suggestions guys?

    N

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Updated: May 29, 2012
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