Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Should we be placing more importance on helping to build the personal development skills of newly qualified solicitors?

Do you remember your first day as a newly qualified solicitor?   I am assuming you can as we often remember the first day of a significant event.  Did it include a bigger caseload, more responsibility, new expectations, a new secretary, greater targets, new colleagues and perhaps even a new suit?  

Just as I remember my first day at primary school involved making a Humpty Dumpty collage with my teacher, I also remember my first day working as a newly qualified solicitor.  I was certainly wearing a new suit and was no doubt hoping not to fall off the wall!
Qualifying as a solicitor is a significant event in someone’s legal career and requires personal development in many key areas including case management, client care, time management, decision making, practice development and building effective relationships.  However, it can be a real challenge for newly qualified solicitors to remain focused on these areas.  They lead busy lives and understandably often give priority to delivering their case load.   However, underperforming in any of these key areas can result in stress and loss of productivity and motivation.

So should we be placing more importance on helping to build the confidence and personal development skills of our newly qualified solicitors?

Two emails which have landed in my inbox in the last few days suggest that we should.  The first advertised an alumni career coaching service, which is being launched in association with a law college in response to an interest in one-to-one careers support and personal development services.  The second advertised the Junior Lawyers Division’s Newly Qualified Solicitors Forum which is a one-day free skills event for newly qualified solicitors to equip them with the skills necessary for life in practice.  

A career coaching service and a skills event are two fantastic resources which will help ensure our newly qualified solicitors develop into the best solicitors and stay sat on the wall!

I would be really interested to hear your comments and ideas.

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