Hi all,

About a year ago I did a post on here about difficulties I was having with finding a job in a law firm.

I secured a job as an Admin Assistant with a firm back in November 2014 and have recently been promoted to Paralegal. However there's a few issues:

1. The senior partner (its a small firm with 1 senior and 2 junior partners) is a complete tosser who refuses to provide any training but still shouts and swears at staff when they make a mistake.

2. Initially I took the job in the hope that it would lead to a trainee solicitor position. The partners have said there's zero chance of this. The market for trainee solicitor roles in general is extremely competitive (a lawyer at another firm said 'unless you've got a vagina like a vice and 32DDs, forget it!') and it can take years to find one. The upshot of this is (in my view) that if I stay in the legal field I will end up being a paralegal the rest of my career with potential earnings only being about half what a solicitor could earn (at best).

With these two issues, I'm looking to leave my current job and possibly change career altogether. I've no real idea where to go from here though. The temptation is to just get any job to escape this one but I don't think 'running from' a job ever ends well.

I'd consider going back to studying for something else but I'm worried I may find there's no jobs in that field either and I'm back to square one.

Sorry for the length of this, partly its just to get this off my chest and partly I'm after some advice if possible.

Other careers I'd consider would include journalism or HR but I'm cautious about going back to studying for reasons above.

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HR is for women, but if you can break into it good for you.

So is being an Administrative Assistant, for the most part.


JB

HR is for women

There is no such thing as a job "for women" or "for men." Certainly not HR - I know plenty of guys in HR doing quite well for themselves.

Perhaps spend some time evaluating yourself and also spending time with a Career Guidance Counselor at the school you graduated from and/or your local university. You need to gather more info before you start planning out changes.

Short term, you could look to see about translating your paralegal experience into consulting roles. 

Long term is harder. What do you enjoy? What are you good at? 

Figure out which way you want to go before you take off running.  Keep your day job for now ... and think hard about what you want to do with your life.  Think about your aptitudes, your interests, your strengths, your weaknesses, and what kind of life you want to live.  Then, figure out what you need to do to get where you want to go.


Read 48 Days to the Work You Love, by Dan Miller and Quitter by Jon Acuff.

Once you have a destination and a plan ... then you can figure out the right time to leave your current job.  Now is not that time.


JB

I get the impression from your use of the term "solicitor" that you live in the UK or some other Commonwealth country. I don't know what the legal education system over there is like. I was in a similar job to yours up until recently - started out answering the phone and making copies, eventually started doing more paralegal-type work, though I never got my paralegal certificate. Basically, I started working there because I thought I wanted to go to law school, realized I didn't, and ended up staying there too long because I couldn't figure out what to do next. I knew the job I was in had zero advancement opportunities and wasn't going to give me the means to live the life I want. So I took a leap, accepted a job in a different industry (IT) and a different state and here I am.

Unless you have a journalism degree from Columbia or Northwestern and a gold-plated resume with internships at top magazines and websites, journalism isn't going to happen. You can write and blog as much as you want, you'll just either be doing it on your own time or as an unpaid intern.

HR is a good field to be getting into. You should reach out to people in the industry and see if anyone would meet with you for 30 minutes to an hour to talk to you about what they do and how they got there. Again, it sounds like you aren't American and most of the people on this site are, so we probably can't offer much advice on the specifics beyond that.

This website might be of some help.

http://www.shrm.org/pages/default.aspx

Why not keep the job to save money to pay for your own solicitor education / training?

Thanks for the replies, sorry I took so long to reply, been having internet issues. Yeah I'm in Scotland rather than the US (though I would move 'across the pond' tomorrow if I could!).

HR is kind've the same here in that its female dominated and they tend to want CIPD certs. I think some skills can be transferred over but have concluded its not really worth pursuing.

Issue is I'm not really sure what route to go down or even what the options are. There is a government-funded careers centre near where I work so may drop in there in a lunch hour see if they can help.

As for paying for training/education, unfortunately the only way to qualify is to do the postgraduate diploma (which I've done) then 2 years in a solicitors' firm as a trainee. You can't really pay for this or even offer to work for free as the Law Society (body that regulates solicitors) won't allow it.

Finally, something I'm sure alot of us can relate to - when thinking about careers, I've always got this worry that in 15 to 20 years time I'll look back and think 'I should've done....instead', was wondering if anyone has any tips for dealing with this?

"As for paying for training/education, unfortunately the only way to qualify is to do the postgraduate diploma (which I've done) then 2 years in a solicitors' firm as a trainee."

So this trainee period is like articling? I know a lot of people who took unpaid internships abroad in lieu of articling / the trainee period. They got invaluable international experience and made great connections. It added a lot of value to their resumes and it made them very attractive candidates once they returned home. 

ex: 

http://legal.un.org/ola/employ.aspx

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