How to use the Junior Lawyers Division in your legal career
Membership organisations can provide many opportunities to young solicitors, such as gaining vital information about the legal profession, learning about issues affecting the industry and establishing valuable networking connections with other legal professionals in their local area, as well as around the globe.
What is the Junior Lawyers Division?
Founded in 2008, the Junior Lawyers Division (JLD) is the portion of the Law Society designed specifically for junior lawyers, such as licensed professional counsellor (LPC) students and graduates, (including those employed as paralegals), trainees and newly qualified lawyers with up to five years of experience. In addition to the national organisation, the JLD has approximately 60 local groups and membership is free and automatic for those within its membership group, although local JLD groups are independent of each other and of the national JLD, and membership criteria may vary. For those interested in leadership positions, there are spots available each year on the JLD execute committee, including a specific LPC student seat.
What does the JLD do?
The JLD campaigns in accordance with its members’ interests to try to bring about positive change, and in recent years has lobbied on a number of issues, including student funding, proposed changes to the qualification process, budget cuts affecting legal aid and the trainee minimum salary.
Along with representing junior solicitors, the JLD provides valuable information about becoming a lawyer and the issues facing the legal industry. Local JLD groups throughout England and Wales sponsor a variety of events, including lectures, monthly meetings and social opportunities that give young lawyers the ability to meet and network with other junior lawyers who work and live in the same area to help make new connections and expand their professional networks.
The JLD provides many benefits for its members, such as:
Campaigning and lobbying on pertinent issues.
Giving young solicitors the opportunity to get involved and influence their profession in a positive way.
Providing advice and useful information.
Responding to inquiries from the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA).
International outreach efforts.
Offering accredited continuing professional development training for free or affordable rates.
Providing both local and national social and networking events.
Some of the networking events offered to the JLD’s 70,000-plus members include the following:
LPC/Paralegal and Junior Lawyer Forums. Four such forums are presented each year, two specifically for LPC students and paralegals, and others geared towards trainee solicitors and junior qualified lawyers. These forums focus on specific issues affecting the membership and provide hints, tips, guidance and advice to those entering the legal profession.
JLD Conference and Ball. This annual event features cutting-edge speakers, lively forum debate and a black-tie ball.
International Weekend. Another yearly happening, the JLD, along with the Young Barristers’ Committee, the European Young Bar Association and the London Young Lawyers Group, holds a three-day training conference that's attended by young solicitors from Europe, North America, Australia and throughout the world.
The Law Society Excellence Awards and the LawWorks Pro Bono Awards. The JLD has its own category in each of these events, and awards recognise outstanding junior lawyers who have made contributions to the legal profession.
Career conferences. These events focus on a multitude of issues affecting JLD members, including information about practical skills, advice for junior lawyers in the work environment and tips on how to obtain a training position.
Aspiring lawyers are welcome to attend any and all of these events to increase their knowledge and start building connections. In addition to attending events, young solicitors are encouraged to connect with the JLD on the organisation’s website, newsletter and Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn pages to get updated on upcoming events and activities.