What to do if you're not kept on by your firm
Many people start their training contract expecting to remain in the firm once they qualify. It can be disheartening to learn, at the end of the two years, that your firm isn’t going to offer you a position. So what should you do next?
Try not to regard this as a negative. After two years of training with the same firm, it can be a prime opportunity to move onto pastures new. This is a great time to take stock and work out what you want to do next. You will have learned a lot over the last two years, and your view on your future career may have changed during this time. Use this knowledge to work out your next steps.
It’s worth talking to colleagues within your firm to get advice and guidance. Those who have supervised you through your training contract will know the quality of your work. Just because they haven’t offered you a position in the firm doesn’t mean they don’t value you. Talk to them about any opportunities they know about in other firms. Equally, if you have met lawyers at conferences, training events, graduate-recruitment fairs or at firm socials, use those contacts.
Since your firm isn’t offering you a position, they will hopefully be willing to provide a reference and for you to take time out for interviews without needing to keep this quiet.
Recruitment agencies are another good resource you can explore at this time. They know the market and learn about opportunities as soon as they arise. It can save you time and effort in finding your next position if you let a recruitment firm do the leg work. You can also register with as many different agencies as you want – this won’t cost you a penny since the employers are the ones that foot the bill.
Have a rethink
Use this as an opportunity to rethink your career and the direction you want to pursue. By moving to a new firm, you have a fresh slate and can apply to the firms and departments that particularly interest you. It may be that you have worked in a large law firm and would prefer to move in-house or to a more specialised firm. Alternatively, you can look at professional support lawyer roles or non-legal opportunities if you decide that client-facing roles are not for you.
This could also be a chance to review your life generally. If your firm retains you, this will dictate where you live. If the firm doesn’t keep you on, this is a great time to think about relocating. You may wish to move to a different area or even look for work abroad.
Similarly, you could do some extra training or further your education. This can give you the edge when applying for future roles, since you will have increased skills and knowledge that you may not have acquired if you had remained at the firm where you trained. pa