What to do when you have been made redundant

It is never pleasant being told that you have been made redundant. After years of studying, training and believing that you are adding value to a firm- it is a blow. However, one must try to stay as positive as possible and realise that such decisions are operational and a sign of these economically precarious and unprecedented times, as opposed to anything personal and specific to you as an individual.

Once the initial shock has worn off, you need to try to re-group and focus in on exactly what the next step is. Do I stay in the Law? Take a sabbatical? Look for another position? My advice would be, don’t do anything rash. If you have been happy as a lawyer and would not have normally been looking for a career change, then the advice would be to look for something different- the needs of firms and departments vary according to their differing client platforms- just because you have been made redundant at your last firm, doesn’t mean that your skill set is not a perfect match and requirement elsewhere.

If you do choose to stay in the Law and move firms then here are some top tips:

• Don’t spread your self too thinly nor panic! In essence, try to limit your contact with recruitment consultants to two or three trusted names- chances are that between them you will be able to cover the market sufficiently. If you contact too many, then you may lose track of your applications and your relationships with your consultants will be diluted- hence, the process becomes counter- productive.

• Try to stay as flexible as possible. This means contacting firms that you wouldn’t normally have approached- i.e. smaller, boutique practices outside of the Magic or Silver Circle. It is also a good idea to remain as flexible as possible in terms of location i.e. could you move to a Regional practice? It might not even involve relocating- often, a slighter longer commute can mean taking advantage of a wider pool of firms without too much of an upheaval. If possible, International opportunities should be considered too- granted, a lot of firms in the Far and Middle East are now looking for domestic experience and language skills. However, there are still some opportunities that remain open to candidates who have solid backgrounds and impressive UK experience.

• See it as an opportunity. It is also important to be as flexible as possible regarding the role itself. What may seem like too generalist a role or too narrow, could be a good option to widen your skill set or specialise. Also remember that roles do develop as you go along, Partners and teams change etc and so the specifics within the job description should not be taken as 100% verbatim of what the role will be on a forever and amore permanent basis. Try to stay as open as possible.

• It is only temporary. The cyclical nature of the economy means that it can’t last forever. Economists are already intimating that there might be a slight recovery looming in the Banking sector- which means that a knock on effect in the law might not be too far away. Moreover, the longstanding ‘expansion and contraction’ policies of Banks and Law firms hopefully means that once the redundancies have been made and a few months have passed, firms will start recruiting again- which is good news for everyone!

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