What can alternative legal service providers do for your in-house career?
Eleven years since the Legal Services Act shook up the legal profession in the UK, the new providers are not so new any more. Instead we’re increasingly talking about the new normal. Alternative Legal Service Providers of many flavours have established and flourished to a degree that’s changed the landscape of the legal industry in the UK. When we founded Halebury ten years ago, we talked about the NewLaw market, but the learnings, innovation and progress that we’ve seen as lawyers since then have given rise to a smarter, flexible legal profession that’s ready to look forward into the future.
For lawyers looking to try a new way of working, the arrival of new models in legal means more choice, and a chance to find the role that is the right fit. For some, an umbrella model where you can grow your own practice offers the right balance. Others feel that the recruitment agency model gives maximum flexibility. The key point is that lawyers – at all stages of their careers – no longer have to choose between the private practice partner-track on the one hand, and the search for a corporate in-house role on the other. There are almost as many career styles in legal as there are lawyers to enjoy them.
A great deal of the conversation within the NewLaw space to date has been about agile or flexible working. Yes, agile/flexible work is important, but look beyond the hours you work per day or per week. Flexibility means more than that. For us, being flexible means empowering lawyers to pursue the kind of work they want, in the sectors and industries that interest them. It means being in control of your income, rather than aiming at arbitrary targets and a fixed, remote approach to remuneration.
If you are a lawyer considering your next move, it goes without saying that you should do your research and know the full range of choices available. But you should also look at what you are looking to achieve for your career over the long term. Of course it is important just to have a project to work towards, and income coming in. But what is your long-term plan and which organization is best placed to help you achieve it?
As part of our recruitment process at Halebury, we look at what a lawyer is aiming to achieve, past the first couple of projects and for the long term. We only take on lawyers we know we can support in these goals, because we believe it is important to deliver on this for our team. No two team members have the same career, and we provide support that is tailor-made for each team member, based on their role in our specialized team. Our ambitious growth plan does not alter that goal: although we are expanding rapidly, our focus is on keeping our team to a boutique size, so that we can maintain personalized support as the team’s careers progress.
It is also important to look at the company’s proposition, as even though you might not be an employee, you will be firmly associated with the brand. Do you like the way the company is seen in the marketplace? Do you like the way it engages and supports clients? Do you want to work with other members of the legal team? Will you work in an environment where your peers support you? Overall, does the company embody you and your values? Does it reflect your reputation you have worked so hard to achieve? Do not take these questions lightly, even regarding a consultant role. These questions will define your career and the choices you make to achieve it.
At Halebury, we are proud of our journey, and the journey the industry has taken in parallel. As senior in-house lawyers, we have shown that you can have the career you want, and you do not have to sacrifice income to do it. In fact, with the right team and support structure, the professional and personal rewards can be even greater. We are always looking for people ready to join us in doing things differently. If that sounds like you, then please check out our current roles, or join us soon at an event. NewLaw may not be as ‘new’ as it was ten years ago, but the flexibility and control it can offer might give your career the boost you are searching for.
Follow Halebury co-founder Janvi Patel on Twitter on @janvi25.
For recruitment enquiries please contact:
Head of Recruitment
t: 020 7127 2500