Lawyers concerned about redundancy are looking outside their traditional roles for different opportunities, Bruce Anderson, managing director of career transition company Lee Hecht Harrison, told Lawyers Weekly this week.
Anderson said many people aged in their thirties and forties have not been through the downturn business cycle and are now witnessing reasonably senior colleagues being been made redundant.
"There are a lot in that age group thinking 'Gee, this corporate world is pretty thankless and tough, and although I worked my backside off to get a good job and to be making good money, in the end I am just a number' and I think my intuition is that lawyers are probably caught up in that as well," he said.
"I do see a number of folks who do have law degrees that I have spoken to in the last 18 months that are leaving reasonably senior legal roles and thinking about working in the not-fo- profit sector because they think their skills are very transferrable, as do we."
Anderson said lawyers could transfer useful skills from their time in practice, including being able to comprehend and interpret documents, oversee staff and project work and communication and risk management skills. He warned, however, that lawyers looking to transition into another career face difficulties in the economic climate.
"Employers [are] playing it safe, so if we take the situation of the young lady who is a lawyer who has decided she would like to be a CEO for a not-for-profit, it's a lot safer to find someone who has already done the job," he said.
"So that's something that everybody faces. They're interested to move, they have the skills and attributes to move, [but] people are risk-averse at the moment; they actually want someone who's done it before. So that's the number one challenge."
Anderson advises lawyers considering a career move to get involved in cross-functional projects and to develop their networks outside of law.
Look out for Issue 435 of Lawyers Weekly where we speak to lawyers who not only made the jump to another career, but speak to others who decided to make the move from their chosen profession into law.
- Sarah Sharples