Flexibility to take on new roles and challenges vital for law students

04 Dec, 2013

Flexibility to take on new roles and challenges is key for successful legal careers, experts tell Nottingham Law School conference


Future law students will need to show increased flexibility and be able to react more quickly to the changing legal landscape as they go through their education and early careers, according to experts.

Speakers at the Your Future, Your Legal Career conference, held at Nottingham Law School, told current law students that, while they may not ultimately work as barristers or solicitors, opportunities would still exist within the legal profession.

The conference was hosted by Nottingham Law School in collaboration with the University of Nottingham to highlight the need for anyone considering studying law to fully explore the medium and long-term opportunities.

Professor Jane Ching, of Nottingham Law School’s Centre for Legal Education and member of the research team for the recently completed Legal Education and Training Review said the nature of the legal professions and legal work was evolving.

“There will be new law jobs, not necessarily with existing law titles, and new roles for new kinds of lawyers,” said Professor Ching.

Despite the shifting landscape, the Dean of Nottingham Law School, Professor Andrea Nollent said prospects for law graduates remained extremely promising.

“The profession is undergoing revolutionary changes and those studying law now may not end up working as barristers or solicitors, but there are opportunities and, whatever shape the landscape takes, legal advice will always be needed” she said.

Speaking after the conference, organiser Paula Moffatt said: “The legal world is changing and undergraduates will need to react to those changes. It is vital they keep themselves up to date.

“Law schools have a duty to make sure their students have a realistic view of the workplace they are heading for and that they are equipped to take advantage of new opportunities.”

Alan Sinnett, partner and regional head of Shakespeare’s South West Midlands practice explained to the conference how law firms are changing with a shift away from partnership-heavy practices.

A single partner and possibly two associate partners would typically oversee up to 30 paralegals and other support staff, he said.

But alternative business structures, which opened up the prospect of outside investment, and newcomers into the legal market, such as the AA, the Co-op and Eddie Stobart, meant qualified lawyers would continue to be in demand.

And Mr Sinnett said greater commercial awareness would be critical, adding that a law degree with its disciplines in analytical skills and critical thought would always be held in extremely high regard outside the legal profession.

Picture: Professor Andrea Nollent

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