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Life after Law: event at The Hub Westminster

You know you don’t want to be a lawyer forever, but if not this, then what? In 2013, we’re looking to link you with more resources that can help you with this journey, but for now, we ran an event on Tuesday evening at the Hub Westminster (amazing space!) around leaving the legal world.

We know that a lot of you global members were interested in being there, so we made sure to film it… although half of the event was interactive, which we didn’t film (because, you know, if someone’s boss saw that they attended the event – awkward). Also, we just heard about this dinner happening, organised for people who want to escape the law – check it out here.

Life After Law from Escape the City on Vimeo.

We heard from:

  • Alison Naftalin – Founder & Director of overseas development charity Lively Minds – ex Government legal advisor
  • Nick Lindsay – ex-Olswang, then set up his own company secretarial business; 
  • Eva Voutsaki – ex-immigration Lawyer, now photographer and lecturer.
  • Mark Pallis – former Barrister specialising in Human Rights, devised BBC drama Garrow’s Law and served as both Legal & Historical Consultant and Story Editor over the show’s 3 series.

Unfortunately, these two speakers couldn’t be with us on the evening, but their transcripts are available below.

  • Emma Mapp – ex-commercial-property lawyer, then set up the London Photo Festival – her talk HERE
  • Deanne Cunningham - script editor at Kudos Film and TV, on Sky Atlantic show The Tunnel - her talk HERE.

On the evening, a lot of you were asking about other interesting organisations. I mentioned Virgin Unite, Kiva, ClearlySo, On Purpose, Volans, and the Venture Partnership Foundation is another one – it is a private equity backed venture philanthropy organization with a portfolio of 10 innovative charities/social enterprises. Read more here.

Slides from Esc presentation here, which focused on psychology:

Tom is an ex-city lawyer now working there, and he shared his advice below:

  • Look before you leap – it is possible to change course but it’s not that easy and you don’t want to be unemployed for ages – legal skills aren’t as transferable as we think in non-legal employers eyes. Although the professional skills that you develop as a lawyer (writing e-mails, being professional, negotiating, confidence, maturity, organization, project management etc) are useful, there are lots of people who are not lawyers who also have similar skills, and our specific expertise (at least in most corporate disciplines) is not that useful outside our box – you therefore need to get credible experience in your target area, which you are likely to have to accept doing for free (often even if it’s just another type of law e.g. charity law).
  • You don’t need to have a definite vision of exactly what role you want to fill – don’t let that put you off – head towards areas that you instinctively find interesting and over time it will start to fall into place, you will find out what gets you going, keep heading towards that.
  • Network network network – if you can get around the standard HR/recruitment people you will have a headstart/a lot better chance of finding roles where the employer/experience giver  doesn’t want to go to the expense/effort of doing an extensive recruitment process – its easier for them if they meet you , like you and can find a place for you. You also build up knowledge of your target market/area by meeting people and discussing the issues, so its worth meeting people in the right area even if they aren’t potential employers themselves. They might also refer you to people who are potential employers (this is how I got my last two roles). And when networking always think about what you can give the other party – not always possible – always be brave (why not contact this person, nothing to lose) – never be offended if people ignore you – don’t get your hopes up by one particular lead that seems helpful and keen to assist and who never then follows up after initial meetings, there are many of these – use your own networks relentlessly – particularly lawyers/partners – the more senior the bigger the networks and I found at least that SJBerwin partners went out of their ways to help me make introductions.
  • Use LinkedIn, absolutely.
  • Write a blog.
  • Use twitter.
  • Be patient and confident – if you managed to become a lawyer, you can manage to become something else.