I have spoken with a number of candidates post COVID who were primed to do the OE but are at cross-roads in their career and have been seeking advice on what alternative routes to now take.
Traditionally, around 3 years PQE most Solicitors go on their OE to London to gain exposure to global markets and big complex deals all while being able to travel Europe. This is a rite of passage for the Kiwi youth and naturally holds a lot of allure. However, with COVID we have seen border closures and extreme tightening of travel meaning this dream now is no longer a realistic possibility in the short to medium time.
If you have itchy feet but are unable to go overseas to scratch the itch often a move to a new firm may be a good idea. You have got a few years’ experience under your belt and can move from a top tier firm to say a boutique or mid-tier which will give you the opportunity to work with and learn from a new Partner, broaden your skill set, give you access to different ways of working with new clients, systems and colleagues all while further developing your legal knowledge.
A move in-house can give you a totally fresh perspective and a different way of utilising your skills. You will be working for the one client where you are advising and working in the business rather than for a business. There are no billable hours and traditionally there is a better work/life balance which has been a focus for many post COVID. These factors combined have made in-house roles a popular option.
Moving into a Compliance focused role?
Compliance is a huge growth area in New Zealand and post-COVID continues to grow, with a number of new regulatory projects and looming deadlines on the horizon and Candidates with a legal background are often highly sought after in these roles for their technical understanding. Whilst it is stepping away slightly from the legal world, it is a great way to also develop some new skills further.
Moving into an HR or ER role?
The Employment law space has been particularly busy both during and post-COVID, not surprising given the conversations most businesses have had around redundancies, wage subsidies and employee well-being. As a result, we have seen HR and ER Contract roles increase to cover these requirements and sometimes a Contract role can be the interim solution for you until the UK and Europe have their boarders relaxed. This would be another alternative opportunity where you are working directly for a business as a trusted adviser where you are able to utilise your legal knowledge.
So, what next?
Give all these different routes some thought as they will increase your knowledge, broaden your skill set and ultimately increase your marketability overseas for when you may feel more comfortable about embarking on your OE. If you wish to know more call Louise Hall-Strutt for a confidential conversation 021 022 42690 or firstname.lastname@example.org