05 April 2018

By trainee solicitor Zoe Gillingham

Why do you want to be a lawyer? It's an important question and one, no doubt, that you'll have given some thought. I've met plenty of successful lawyers who always knew this path was the right one for them. Equally, I have met many for whom the law is a second career, and, although I'm not a qualified lawyer just yet, the law is my second career too.

A change of profession

A change of profession to the law can seem a daunting prospect – you will leave a role in which you were established and had developed a reputation to embark on something that is (most likely) completely new. But this should not put you off. The work we do at Burges Salmon is stimulating and rewarding, and also challenging and demanding – often all in the same day.

We are given early responsibility at just the right level to stretch but not expose us, and plenty of opportunity to gain experience in areas of the business we are most interested in. Plus, colleagues will always find the time to discuss your career aspirations so that the training contract meets both your needs and that of the firm. 

Life as a trainee solicitor

After working for a number of years, then going back to uni for two years to complete the conversion course and the LPC, I was keen to start adding value as a trainee as soon as possible. Within my first few weeks I was regularly liaising with counsel, clients and the court, assisting in preparation for a trial that saw me through my entire dispute resolution seat. It was fantastic experience to be involved in a case right through to judgment and I truly felt as though my contribution was appreciated.

Right from the get-go, Burges Salmon will give you everything you need to succeed. The training at the firm is fantastic and there is no expectation that just because you have worked before you will know how to be a lawyer. We are all selected on our individual merits and the beauty of the training contract is that we all start in the same place.

Transferable skills

That said, the firm doesn't neglect the experience that you bring with you. Lots of the skills you'll have already developed will be extremely relevant – organisation and transaction management skills are key attributes required for many lawyerly tasks, regardless of the department that you are in. Our client's instruct us because we offer a different experience and we recruit from all walks of life so that as a firm we can continue to deliver the excellent service and exceptional value that we are known for. 


Finally, I want to emphasise how serious we are about the value of diversity in our organisation. Diverse teams are demonstrably more successful, which is why as well as supporting diversity of gender, race, and sexuality, we go further; to us it means bringing to bear the experience and ideas of people from different career backgrounds and life experiences too.

As a career changer you will certainly be welcomed and valued at Burges Salmon.

Key contact

Holly Fey

Holly Fey Head of Resourcing

  • Recruitment and resourcing
  • Inclusive employment
  • New starter onboarding

Law as a second career

I've met plenty of successful lawyers who always knew this path was the right one for them. Equally, I have met many for whom the law is a second career...
Zoe Gillingham, Trainee Solicitor

Trainee Solicitors

Our award-winning training programme gives you expert guidance in your career and access to high profile clients.
Find out more

Latest tweets