5 reasons to become a lawyer later in life

19th March 2018

Choosing to become a lawyer later in life can be daunting. There is a lot to consider, including where you will study, how you will financially support yourself during your training, how you will find a training placement, and how you will find the time to research the future law firms you would like to work for.

Yet mature students have many advantages that they will have naturally acquired, which could give them the upper hand over their fresh-faced competition.

Read on to discover what those potential advantages are, and how you can capitalise on them when starting out on your career path into law.

1. Your life experience will give you a natural advantage

Completing your law qualifications and training takes a great deal time and money before you even get near a permanent position, yet your previous life experience means that you are aware of the practical realities of a working lifestyle. In this way you will be better equipped to adapt to, and handle, the long, intensive and demanding days that are required as you train.

In addition, your life experience will mean you are a well-rounded person who has developed interests, skills and a life outside of work that will make you an appealing candidate to law firms if highlighted in your application forms. Not only that, but these structures and support systems will help you cope with the intensive and stressful work environment of law.

2. You have transferable skills

Depending on your previous work history, becoming a lawyer later in life means that you may very well already have developed the vital skills you will need in areas such as leadership, negotiation, team work, organisation and communication.

You may also have already worked in a commercial environment, which will lend itself well to demonstrating to potential future employers your commercial acumen and awareness of how business works.

3. You're dedicated and committed to your new career

By making the bold move of changing careers over the age of 25, you have already demonstrated your dedication and commitment to making a success of your new profession in law. Law firms love to see motivation, drive and an entrepreneurial spirit in their trainees.

4. You're in no rush

Without the pressure of having to decide whether or not to study law at the age of 17 or 18, you can take your time to weigh up the pros and cons of changing careers. You can afford to wait and only move forward in applying for the GDL and your training position when you are ready to.

5. You know what your interests are

The fields of law are wide and varied, and eventually you will have to decide what kind of law you would like to practise. Having spent some of your adult life working in another industry, you will have a better idea of what does, and does not, interest you professionally.

In addition, you will have had time to develop interests beyond the academic and the professional. Perhaps you volunteer for a charity or are involved in other organisations or societies. As a result, you may have a better idea if you'd suit working in, for example, family, commercial, property, human rights, crime or finance law.

To explore current legal vacancies at JMW, visit our careers page.

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Daniel Clark is a Partner and Director of Marketing located in Manchesterin our Marketing department

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