As we all know, the competition for training contracts is fierce at the moment and it is getting more difficult to get a foot in the door, particularly when there are less positions and more applicants than there were 10 years ago. So what can be done?
The key weapon in your arsenal that will prepare you to face the competition in this tough legal world is your own knowledge. Knowledge of your abilities, experience, attributes, strengths, weaknesses and interests are essential in this ruthless marketplace.
Not too long ago, what you learnt in law school was sufficient to secure you a career as a solicitor. With new cases and precedents being set daily and an increased obligation on solicitors to market their own services, this is no longer true. Your formal legal education now has a very short shelf life. Learning must be a continual pursuit to help you stay one step ahead of the competition and I would say that it is absolutely vital to continued success.
According to Denis Waitley, a recognised business coach, research has confirmed that no matter what the field of employment, people with large vocabularies – i.e. those who can speak clearly and concisely who use simple as well as descriptive words – end up achieving their goals more often. This is particularly true in the legal profession, where it is not only important to have a large vocabulary, but also to be able to communicate in Plain English. Firms are particularly keen to recruit young lawyers who understand complex legal issues and who can “translate” them and explain them in a common sense way to clients, who may not necessarily understand all of the legalese used.
By using well chosen, carefully considered words, you can enhance client relationships, perform well at interviews, negotiate a pay rise and get instructions from that promising client! There really is nothing that you can’t achieve with the right knowledge behind you.
I would suggest the following action steps to help you with this: -
- Increase your reading by 100% and focus on reading more non-fiction. Try reading books on marketing, accounting, presentations, goal-setting and so on. Some of the examples given in my earlier blog here may assist.
- To find more time to read, decrease your television watching – most of it is just junk anyway! Although I said that increased knowledge is a powerful thing, it is highly unlikely that knowing which “celebrity” was voted out of the jungle last week will help you to secure that training contract!
- Surf the internet and subscribe to motivational newsletters. I would suggest the following as a good place to start: -
I will also be launching a newsletter in the New Year, so for more information or to join our mailing list in advance, please sign up to our mailing list on the top right of this page.
- 4. Read at least one non-fiction book per month and listen to at least one additional audiobook during your commute or downtime at home.
5. Keep a journal – whenever you read or hear something of value, make a note of it. And make sure that you review your journal on a regular basis, maybe once a week or month, to remind yourself of all of the gems of knowledge that you’ve picked up!
What other methods have you found to be successful in increasing the power of your self-knowledge?