There are many options if solicitors looking for a career change within the legal sector or beyond, there are a total of 3 options you can choose from. With the right experience and, you can be an in-house solicitor or open a private practice. You can also be a sole practitioner:
- In private practice
- As a sole practitioner
In-house solicitors look after the legal needs of an organization. Your role will go beyond providing legal advice like understanding the context of the organization’s legal strategy and business plan. Job titles may include a legal officer or general counsel.
To be successful as an in-house solicitor, you will need:
- Critical thinking and good judgement
- Great writing skills
- Great communication skills
- Team working and collaboration
- To be persuading, influencing and being resilient
As an in-house solicitor, you can get employed at:
- Commerce and industry
- The Crown Prosecution Service
- The Government Legal Profession
- Local authorities
- Law centres
More than 93,000 solicitors in England and Wales work in private practice because private law firms provide legal services to different types of clients, ranging from individuals to businesses.
As a private practice solicitor, you will be involved in:
- Civil Litigation Suit: When two parties are involved in a legal suit; the private attorney represents their client in civil litigation proceedings. Suits like these usually demand monetary compensation such as those regarding malpractice, accidents, or contracts.
- Commercial Case: Related to business, it is associated with legal actions like mergers and acquisitions. When one company wants to buy another, there are laws that govern the purchase.
- Divorce And Child Custody: A client in a family court case dealing with divorce and child custody issues will hire a private solicitor.
- Malpractice Suits: These take place because a medical professional has injured someone. Malpractice suits usually involve doctors that need an attorney, same as the injured party. Similarly, medical professionals like dentists and optometrists might also be involved in a malpractice suit.
The job requires a person to have patience when dealing with clients because they may be under pressure or emotionally upset, and a skilled private attorney will also know how to convince a judge or jury when representing a client in court. In addition, another skill necessary is keen attention to detail. Legal nuances and minor details can make or break a case.
Sole practitioners are self-employed and make up 4.4% of all solicitors in private practice in England and Wales.
To be a sole practitioner, you need to have 36 months of practice within the last 10 years as a solicitor. After that, you need to have authorization from the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA).
The SRA has given expected skills and behaviours in four areas:
- Ethics, professionalism and judgement
- Technical legal practice
- Working with other people, and
- Managing themselves and their own work.