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Why I chose law (and why I’m glad I did)

Jake Palmer

It’s one of the 3 original ‘professions’, so people have been choosing law for a very long time. Indeed, there are many reasons to choose a career in law, some of which will resonate with you while others may not. In this blog post, I’ll outline what convinced me and, with the benefit of hindsight, explain whether experience has matched expectation (spoiler: it has).

Firstly, I wanted a varied and exciting working life by working with interesting clients. This has certainly been my experience so far. Indeed, one of the best parts of the job has been taking instruction from complex businesses in many sectors and understanding how they operate internally and in the marketplace in order to give commercially sensible advice. As a result, I’ve found the work interesting and dynamic.

A factor that attracted me to a law firm (rather than, say, a consultancy firm) was the academic nature of working with the law. Legal research is a common trainee task; producing research notes takes me back to what I enjoyed about studying: exploring new topics in depth and working towards a reasoned conclusion. I have found that Bristows takes this a step further with its tech and pharma speciality. Getting your head around a new bit of pharma or information technology can be seriously challenging but is also highly rewarding.

I quickly settled on becoming a solicitor rather than a barrister for two main reasons. Firstly, I liked the idea of seeing a matter through to the end. For contentious work, solicitors typically take instructions at the pre-action stage right up until the end of trial; for transactional work, solicitors will be involved even beyond completion of a deal. Secondly, I wanted to be working in a team and more closely with clients.

In practice, I have been involved with different stages of deals/cases and worked with different teams along the way. There has been plenty of contact with clients as well as with barristers, experts and witnesses.

As warned in the preamble, this is a personal list. In terms of gathering a reasonable understanding of what to expect, I recommend researching the profession generally but also talking to people with experience. Try to speak to any lawyers you may know through your network or talking to representatives at law fairs or at firm events.

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