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Career lessons

Planning your next career move: what do you want to achieve?

The legal industry has a reputation for being highly competitive when it comes to securing a coveted training contract. However, for many lawyers, the real competition begins post qualification in the race to progress to senior associate and potentially make partner. With the recent pandemic turning the legal industry on its head and sector winners and losers emerging overnight, career prospects have also become ‘make or break’ for many.

However, while uncertain times are unsettling, they can also provide a unique opportunity to rise to the challenge and showcase the reasons why you’re a valuable asset to your firm. With everyone from trainee to senior partner having to react and adapt as we emerge from the pandemic, demonstrating an agile mindset and the key skills you bring to your firm (or a potential firm) is more important than ever to make sure you stand out.

 

Build relationships

Your technical skillset and legal knowledge may be similar to that of your peers. However, your ability to build strong relationships with clients and colleagues as you climb the ranks is where you have an opportunity to shine. Even if you have exemplary knowledge of a certain area of law, if you can’t earn the trust and respect of others and build rapport, your career prospects will suffer. The adage ‘people buy people’ is as true for professional services as any other sector.

Research by legal software company Wolters Kluwers in 2020 found that ‘meeting changing client/leadership expectations’ was one of the biggest challenges international lawyers predicted they would face post-pandemic. In times of a challenging economic climate, this is never truer as you rely on the strength of your relationships with clients and colleagues to manage expectations and navigate unchartered waters. With this in mind, developing your softer skills is very important in achieving your career ambitions.

 

Find your USP

Another way to break from the ranks and progress your career is to think about what you can offer that is different from others. In marketing, this is called your ‘Unique Selling Point’ or USP. It might sound corny but identifying and exploiting it is how many household names have won out above their competitors. Do you speak other languages? Do you have a voluntary role outside of work, such as trustee of a local charity or chair of a local business group, that could bring kudos to your firm? What skills have you invested in? Have you undertaken any additional professional qualifications? The key is to find something that you have a genuine passion for and to harness this to your advantage – and of course that of your employer!

 

Take an international outlook

One way that lawyers who are interested in working internationally have expanded their horizons is to cross qualify so they can practice in other jurisdictions. This enables them to fulfil their career ambitions and benefit their clients and firm by offering a higher level of service and better ROI. The Qualified Lawyers Transfer Scheme (QLTS), which is the SRA recognised qualification for lawyers seeking to cross qualify and practice law in England and Wales, has been specially designed to allow legal professionals to study and work at the same time.

In many cases, lawyers qualify in under a year, which means those already working can still enhance their career prospects and take advantage of the increased demand for cross-qualified lawyers. One further point to note is that the QLTS is changing in October 2021, so many savvy lawyers are getting ahead and enrolling now.

 

Turn to technology

If technology is your thing then there has never been a better time to build your expertise and position yourself as the ‘go-to’ person in the firm. Despite recognising its importance and potential, pre-pandemic, many firms hadn’t seized the opportunity provided by new technologies. However, having had no choice but to embrace tech to keep operations going when lockdown first hit, this sentiment has rapidly changed, and for the better.

Homeworking technologies have been embraced, and this shift in attitude has also opened the door to other emerging technologies. From live chat to AI through to Cryptocurrency – there are many areas of technology where an associate with a keen interest and knowledge in a particular topic could easily become the expert in their firm and play an important part in its future, as recently noted by our own Chris Jorgenson.

For more information about the QLTS prep course and to speak with one of the team, get in touch today: https://barbriqlts.com/contact/

 

Why QLTS now?

Why take the Qualified Lawyers Transfer Scheme now?

The legal industry is becoming increasingly competitive worldwide, with firms proving to be even more selective about the professionals they choose to bring on board. As the sector prepares for the further globalisation of the legal industry, cross-qualification is becoming an important requirement for individuals looking to get ahead and firms who wish to expand their offering. The Qualified Lawyers Transfer Scheme (QLTS) allows legal professionals to dual-qualify as a solicitor in England and Wales, a prestigious addition to any CV. However, the method for cross-qualification will be changing from September 2021 with the introduction of the Solicitors Qualifying Exam (SQE) meaning that the QLTS route into qualification will eventually be phased out. So why should you choose the QLTS now and why should BARBRI be a part of your journey? Well, here are five reasons…

 

1. Reach your goals quickly

Have you set your professional aspirations and long-term goals? If this sounds like you, you’ll already know how important it is to put measurable benchmarks in place and to implement various (realistic) steps to help you get there. If you’re looking to demonstrate your practical skills and practise law across a variety of regions to support your firm’s global impact, the QLTS can help you get there now instead of waiting for the SQE in 2021. Nearly 15% of all current admission to the roll of solicitors in England and Wales are through the QLTS, proving its success thus far.

 

2. Take advantage of virtual learning

With many countries across the world still under lockdown restrictions due to COVID-19, it has put a halt to business operations and for some, this has also included team development time. However, BARBRI offers a complete suite of online legal courses (and have been doing so for quite some time), including QLTS Prep. This means that students can still get the full QLTS experience from the comfort of their own homes – and they’re encouraged to. With a mix of online learning materials and tutors to help keep learners engaged, distance learning isn’t a problem.

 

3. Experience a supportive, personalised approach

You may have already worked alongside BARBRI in the past for your bar exam or perhaps you’ve not yet had the pleasure. But we’ve been operating in the legal training industry for over 50 years and have the experience needed to get you over that line. Over 1000 people take the QLTS annually and the pass rates can vary but at BARBRI, our pass rate is 78% among first-time takers. Plus, we receive positive feedback time and time again from our students worldwide, particularly regarding the one-to-one support they received. So, when working with us, you can rest assured that you will get a personalised experience with all the guidance and support you need to get the results to succeed.

 

4. Accelerate your career progression

You may have set your own goals, but your manager/leader will also look to align your personal objectives to that of the firm’s business targets and growth plans.  It’s always good to bear this in mind and to be able to demonstrate what you bring as an individual to the firm to aid progression.  Whether you want to cross qualify for practical reasons including relocation or perhaps you’re looking to add a competitive edge, it will make you invaluable to your employer. QLTS will allow you to act on behalf of all clients in England and Wales and will allow you to practise under a wider jurisdiction, supporting clients on international legal matters, which will undoubtedly support your career prospects.

 

5. Access the support you need

No matter how capable we are, we all need a little extra support sometimes. Plus, it can be daunting to start any new training programme, particularly if it is a financial investment in your career. But with BARBRI, you can access support throughout the QLTS process from the moment you sign up with our sales team. Our pastoral care programme includes a mentor who is individually assigned to you for your MCT course to provide motivation and guidance throughout your study. Plus, you’ll be provided with a tutor for the OSCE who will be able to supply one-to-one practice with scheduled practice sessions through four scheduled calls. You’ll also receive written feedback from your tutor on any practice submissions, meaning our team will be with you throughout.

 

Your decision will ultimately be driven by timelines – how quickly do you want to cross-qualify? What professional goals do you already have in place? If you sign up now to the QLTS, you can rest assured that you won’t be disregarded once the SQE is introduced in 2021 and you won’t have to change qualification routes. Those who have cleared the QLTS MCT will be able to sit for the OSCE until 2022. So if you’re worried that you won’t have time to complete the full course by Autumn, there are considerations in place for you.

 

If you have any further questions, we’re here to help. So, for more information, speak to our team today>>>