find the latest legal job
Corporate and Commercial Partner
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: Adelaide SA 5000
· Adelaide CBD · Join a leading Adelaide commercial law firm
View details
Freelance Project Finance Lawyers
Category: Other | Location: All Australia
· Vario are looking for freelance lawyers with experience in project finance ideally within the renewable energy sector
View details
Vario Freelance Lawyers
Category: Construction Law | Location: All Australia
· We are looking for lawyers who appreciate the endless possibilities that a freelance career can offer.
View details
Freelance Construction Lawyers
Category: Construction Law | Location: All Melbourne VIC
· We are looking for construction lawyers who appreciate the endless possibilities that a freelance career can offer.
View details
Banking Associate - 1-6PQE - Allen & Overy
Category: Banking and Finance Law | Location: United Kingdom
· Banking Associate - 1-6 PQE - Allen & Overy
View details
New year, old you – change your career to embrace your differences

New year, old you – change your career to embrace your differences

New Year

 

New year, new you is the oft-repeated mantra when the calendar flips to a fresh year. But more often than not, resolutions remain vague goals, and people naturally slip back into their old habits, especially in the legal profession where daily to-do lists, stress and billing can overwhelm the longer-term aims, writes Matthew Kay.

But instead of looking to reinvent yourself for the workplace, why not find a new role that better suits your skill set and personality?

The ‘traditional’ law firm is increasingly changing, and today the range of possibilities for lawyers when it comes to how they deploy their talents, and therefore how they shape their careers, is far greater than ever before.

Although many may not feel like it, lawyers are now freer than ever to enjoy a career that not only embraces everyone’s differences, but uses these characteristics as a positive that improves services for clients.

In this modern world, clients are increasingly demanding a more flexible legal resource supply, businesses are run more tightly and many company directors don’t want to pay for a full-time, fully staffed legal team if they’re not always needed.

Likewise, much has been written recently about the rise of artificial intelligence (AI) in the legal profession – IBM’s ROSS was recruited by a US firm last year and most firms are now developing their own AI systems.

This innovation is eroding the 'commoditisable' end of the legal services market, meaning the opportunity for real-life lawyers is increasingly at the high-value-add end. It’s this end of legal services where personality, close personal relationships with clients and innovative, out-of-the-box thinking become much more important, distinguishing lawyers from AI and the 'lawyer clone' side of the market.

All of these developments are shaking up the traditional order, meaning that lawyers actually have a fantastic opportunity to rethink how they offer their services.

One option that is growing in popularity in Australia and the UK in particular is contract lawyering – where lawyers turn freelance and work through a legal resourcing hub on assignments for clients for a period of around six to 12 months.

This type of working addresses the work-life imbalance plaguing many busy lawyers and enables them to choose their work more carefully, often allowing them to concentrate on the law, rather than get distracted by all the other tasks that go hand-in-hand with a role in a busy law firm these days.

This way of working also benefits clients, who might need a lawyer for a very specific project, or to bolster an existing in-house team. 

At Vario, we also work hard to match an individual’s personality to the client and assignment. This is important in ensuring the partnership is a success. Soft skills are increasingly essential alongside legal ability  being parachuted into a project and expected to perform from day one requires a certain type of personality.

However, it’s not just more experienced lawyers who want to start freelancing as a way to rebalance their home and work life. We’ve recently done some research and found that a number of different personality types are drawn to freelancing.

Indeed, an experienced lawyer looking for a different pace of life is in there, but so is the junior lawyer who realises the traditional legal career path isn’t for them.

Working on a freelance basis also frees up more time to pursue other interests, and entrepreneurs and travellers are drawn to this way of working. Parents like working on assignments as it gives them more flexibility, but for many, the quality and variety of contract work is a real draw – attracting both experienced and junior lawyers.

So in 2017, rather than writing out a list of resolutions to ensure you’re fitting in and getting ahead, why not take control of your career, start embracing the innovation impacting the legal profession, and start working in a new way?

Matthew Kay is the director of Vario at Pinsent Masons.

Like this story? Read more:

Book commemorates diamond milestone for WA law society

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

New year, old you – change your career to embrace your differences
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Debate rises over Victorian judiciary attack
Jan 24 2018
Debate rises over Victorian judiciary attack
The Victorian Bar has become the latest to go on record condemning recent political attacks on the V...
Michelle Quigley QC
Jan 24 2018
Vic Barrister who helped stop major heritage redevelopment joins Supreme Court
Michelle Quigley QC, who assisted a coalition to oppose the redevelopment of St Heliers villa estate...
Building, construction
Jan 24 2018
Building finish for NSW coroner’s complex slated for early 2019
Efforts to relocate the state coroner’s facilities from Glebe to Lidcombe are on track, according ...
APPOINTMENTS
Allens managing partner Richard Spurio, image courtesy Allens' website
Jun 21 2017
Promo season at Allens
A group of lawyers at Allens have received promotions across its PNG and Australian offices. ...
May 11 2017
Partner exits for in-house role
A Victorian lawyer has left the partnership of a national firm to start a new gig with state governm...
Esteban Gomez
May 11 2017
National firm recruits ‘major asset’
A national law firm has announced it has appointed a new corporate partner who brings over 15 years'...
opinion
Nicole Rich
May 16 2017
Access to justice for young transgender Australians
Reform is looming for the process that young transgender Australians and their families must current...
Geoff Roberson
May 11 2017
The lighter side of the law: when law and comedy collide
On the face of it, there doesn’t seem to be much that is amusing about the law, writes Geoff Rober...
Help
May 10 2017
Advocate’s immunity – without fear or without favour but not both
On 29 March 2017, the High Court handed down its decision in David Kendirjian v Eugene Lepore & ...