Information on the Wide Range of Career Options Open to Solicitors. Alternative Career Options Information to Accompany Job Seeking Skills Video 2

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1 Information on the Wide Range of Career Options Open to Solicitors Alternative Career Options Information to Accompany Job Seeking Skills Video 2

2 CONSIDERING ALTERNATIVE CAREER OPTIONS Many careers exist for solicitors outside the traditional law firm. If a solicitor decides not to work for a firm of solicitors there are numerous options open to them across the law spectrum. Skills that solicitors acquire during their training make them eminently employable for alternative positions in other sectors. Achieving qualification as a solicitor demonstrates that you have resolve, intelligence and the skill to be successful in your chosen path. Some of the skills that are transferrable to almost any legal position include the ability to: Carry out research. Analyse issues and find satisfactory resolutions. Write succinctly. Communicate clearly. Handle and distil large amounts of information. Work under pressure. When deciding on an alternative career it is important to find one that will allow you develop your interests. If you work in a career that you find rewarding, you are likely to perform to your maximum ability and achieve the best possible results. Before you opt for a new career you should first analyse your key skills and decide what areas are best suited to you. In order to do this you will need to carry out a self-analysis. To carry out this analysis you should identify your particular likes. Divide these likes into specific actions or behaviours. You may like to research or write project reports. Analyse what it is you like about these assignments: Do you like to: Write the report? Interact with the source of the information? Analyse the data? When you have carried out a self appraisal you will be in a better position to know what options to investigate and pursue. Important Disclaimer Please Note The Law Society does not give any guarantees, undertakings or warranties concerning the accuracy, completeness or up-to-date nature of information within this document. The Law Society also does not take responsibility for any dependence or reliance placed on the use of career support information provided - and cannot accept liability for any loss or damage incurred as a result.

3 RANGE OF ALTERNATIVE CAREER OPTIONS Company Secretary The role of a company secretary is a senior position in a private company or public organisation. It is usually a managerial position. A company secretary advises the company about their legal compliance and obligations. If you join a company at assistant company secretary level you can then qualify as a chartered secretary in order to take on the role of company secretary. Solicitors, with up to five years professional experience, who wish to pursue a career as a company secretary will undertake just four exams to attain the status of GRAD.ICSA. Solicitors with over five years professional experience are required to pass two modules in order to apply to become an ACIS. For further information on training as a company secretary see the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators website at: In-house Legal Advisers Apart from company secretary there are further in-house positions for solicitors. For many solicitors, the prospect of not having to deal with billable hours and the opportunity to be involved at a decision making level in a company has made inhouse legal positions attractive. An understanding of legal issues including legislative, regulatory and contract law is desirable for a solicitor to work in-house. Banking and Finance The banking and finance industry involves complex legal, regulatory and compliance issues. Legal professionals, particularly those with backgrounds in finance, banking, securities and tax can command lucrative positions. Such professionals can use their knowledge to become compliance specialists, funds administrators and risk managers. The financial services industry has also been actively recruiting newly qualified solicitors in recent times. In some cases post qualification experience is not necessarily required but familiarity with corporate and commercial banking will be an advantage. Recruitment Consultant Several solicitors have joined recruitment firms in Ireland and have established rewarding and fulfilling careers in recruitment. Many, but not all, specialise in the legal job market.

4 Funds Management Funds management is the professional management of financial securities (such as shares and bonds) and other assets (such as property) in order to meet specified investment goals for the benefit of the investors. Investors may be institutions such as insurance companies, pension funds, corporations, etc. or private investors. Solicitors are particularly suited to funds management work especially if they have good experience of international company secretarial, taxation and /or commercial banking. Legal Cost Accounting Solicitors have both joined existing legal cost accounting firms and have also set up their own firms. The Institute of Legal Costs Accountants is the self- regulatory body for the legal costs accounting profession in Ireland. The Institute is managed by the Council elected annually by members. The aim and objective of the Institute is to represent the interests of its members and also to ensure that each member maintains the highest standards expected of the profession. Legal costs accountants in Ireland have a long history of appearing before the Taxing Masters of the High Court, the County Registrars of the Circuit Court, The District, Circuit and High Courts, Arbitrators and Tribunals to represent the interests of their clients. The Central Bank / Financial Regulator The Central Bank offers positions for solicitors in its Financial Regulation Directorate. Positions are for enforcement solicitors and are in the areas of financial regulation, insurance regulation and consumer enforcement. The appointments are on a fixed term contract basis. Skills required for the positions included the ability to: Demonstrate initiative and flexibility. Analyse and make sound judgements. Show strong verbal communication and influencing skills. More information at: Insurance The insurance industry offers further career options for solicitors. The Insurance Institute of Ireland outlines the career options in the industry on its website. Further information is available on:

5 Policy and Communications Roles Many solicitors move into non-governmental organisations and leverage their skills and qualifications to move into positions that involve them working on policy matters and in advocating for targeted groups of people as a communications officer. Typical organisations that solicitors join include The Irish Centre for Civil Liberties, Immigrant Council of Ireland, Refugee Information Services and the Irish Traveller Movement. Legal Executives/Paralegals/Legal Secretaries Qualified solicitors can work as legal executives/paralegals or legal secretaries. Legal executives can handle a variety of legal matters. They often work with solicitors and barristers. The areas most likely to employ legal executives are litigation, commercial property and corporate law. Legal departments of banks also employ legal executives/paralegals and legal secretaries. Legal Publishing Career opportunities arise in legal publishing which could be of interest to solicitors. The positions are usually as editorial assistants or editors. The research and writing skills honed by solicitors are a perfect fit for these positions. The following is a list of some of the legal publishers in this country: Blackhall Publishing. Clarus Press. Cork University Press. First Law. Four Courts Press. Gill & Macmillan. Government Supplies Agency. Incorporated Council of Law Reporting. Irish Academic Press. Irish Centre for European Law. LexisNexis Butterworths Limited. Oak Trees Press. Thomson Reuters. The Internet has also created new job opportunities with companies providing electronic legal services. Providers of electronic legal services include: First Law. Lawlink. LexisNexis Butterworths Ireland. Westlaw.

6 Patent Attorney Patent attorneys advise clients on applying for new patents with the Irish Patents Office. They help clients to get the most commercial advantage from their companies patents. They also help clients to fight disputes that arise in relation to their patents. The job of a patent attorney is technical and typically requires a science or engineering degree. Some patent attorneys work in law firms and they also work in major multi-nationals. Further information can be accessed on: Trade Mark Attorney A trade mark attorney is generally a person with legal experience and is entered on the Register of Trade Mark Agents. A trade mark attorney ensures that their client s trademark is free for use and registration. This is done by researching existing and pending applications for trademarks. In order to qualify as a trade mark attorney a person is required to have completed the necessary studies in the law and practice of trade marks. Before a person s name is entered on the Register of Trade Mark agents it is necessary to have successfully completed the prescribed examination. Further information on: Risk Management Consultants Legal consultancy firms employ solicitors on a consultancy basis. Usually solicitors are required to provide strategic advice and risk management support to legal firms. Considerable post qualifying experience is typically a prerequisite. Independent Law Centres Independent and community law centres exist on the very front line of public interest law practice in Ireland. They provide access to justice for marginalised and disadvantaged people in the communities that they serve and also campaign on matters of social justice. Solicitors are pivotal to the operation of independent law centres. Solicitors provide clients with support and advice and also campaign, advocate and litigate on matters considered crucial. The largest independent law center in Ireland is Northside Community Law Centre. Colin Daly who was long-term Managing Solicitor there was appointed a district Court Judge in 2013.

7 An Garda Síochána An Garda Síochána has recently advertised for the position of head of legal services. This is a newly created position and demonstrates a change in direction for An Garda Síochána. The role is to provide strategic direction to ensure An Garda Síochána meets its legal obligations. The position was advertised on: Legal Aid Board The Legal Aid Board recruits solicitors directly through public advertisement, on the Legal Aid Board website and on the Law Society of Ireland website. The Legal Aid Board also recruits administrative, paralegal and specialist civil service positions from time to time in accordance with the terms of a recruitment licence granted to the Board by the Commission for Public Service Appointments ( CPSA ). Alternative Dispute Resolution Alternative dispute resolution encompasses both mediation and arbitration. Work experience will be required to operate as a mediator or arbitrator. The Law Reform Commission published a consultation paper on alternative dispute resolution in The Commission paper can be accessed on the Law Reform Commission website at: The Law Reform Commission s consultation paper has recommended that mediators be trained and accredited. The Mediation Institute of Ireland is the professional association for mediators. The four categories of membership offered by the Institute are general member, associate member, certified mediator and practitioner mediator. The Chartered Institute of Arbitrators Irish Branch is the professional body for arbitrators in this country. An experienced arbitrator may apply to become a chartered arbitrator. This involves peer assessment of the arbitrator in particular, his/her ability to issue logical and coherent reasoned awards. Tax Consultants Registered tax consultants work in different areas of business. Tax consultants can specialise in consulting on mergers, acquisitions, wealth management planning, and tax planning structures for business, etc. Some law firms and accountancy firms employ tax consultants. Many solicitors undertake taxation qualifications. The Irish Tax Institute is the body responsible for professional tax qualifications. Student handbooks are available at:

8 Equality Authority The Equality Authority employs a number of people to fulfill roles and to provide a number of services. Vacancies arise in the Equality Authority from time to time. The following is a list of services and roles carried out by the Authority: Administration section. Library facilities. Equality studies unit. Legal section. Communications. Injuries Board The Injuries Board formerly known as the Personal Injuries Assessment Board ( PIAB ) employs a multi-disciplined and skilled team of over 70 people. The careers opportunities available at the Injuries Board cover technical, legal, financial, health and safety, human resources and other professional resources. Vacancies with the Injuries Board become available occasionally. Legal Teaching and Training A great number of solicitors are involved in teaching law but most do it on a part-time basis. The increasing involvement of new players in legal education (such as Independent Colleges and others) has provided a nice increase in part-time opportunities. Many solicitors teach in Irish universities both on a full time and on a part-time basis. These solicitors in the main, but not exclusively, specialise in law. Chief State Solicitors Office The Chief State Solicitors Office (CSSO) comprises principally of solicitors, legal executives and administrative staff. Entry to the professional stream is at Solicitor level. Candidates must be enrolled as a solicitor or expect to be enrolled or qualified on or before a specific date. Notices appear from time to time on their website concerning vacancies for contract and locum positions. See: Director of Public Prosecutions Recruitment and selection of staff for the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP) is done through the Public Appointments Service (PAS). Competitions to fill vacancies at professional legal and legal executive level are advertised by the Public Appointments Service in the national newspapers and on their website at

9 LEGAL RESEARCH OPPORTUNITIES Government Departments have recruited a considerable number of legal researchers. The introduction of the public sector recruitment embargo has dramatically reduced the numbers of new jobs becoming available. The positions that currently arise tend to be on a fixed-term contract basis. The Department of Health, and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade are examples of Government Departments that have recruited law graduates. Academia A further alternative for legal professionals is a career in legal education or academic administration. Qualified solicitors may consider following a career in academia. Increasingly, the minimum qualification requirement for a full-time academic post is a doctorate in law. A strong publications and research record is also a requirement for securing a full-time academic appointment. The Law Reform Commission of Ireland The Law Reform Commission employs a team of legal researchers. Vacancies for legal researchers tend to arise in the summer and vacancies are advertised on: Researchers can be located in any of the three areas of the Commission s activities. Solicitors with a law degree meet the criteria to apply for these research positions. Other essential requirements are practical experience and/or aptitude in conducting legal research and the capacity to write well and have good IT skills. Positions with the Commission are on a one year contract basis. Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions The Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions employs legal research as well as solicitors. Both types of posts are on a fixed term contract basis. Competitions to fill legal research vacancies are advertised by the Public Appointments Service in the national newspapers and on their website at:

10 Office of the Attorney General Two varieties of positions arise from time to time at the Office of the Attorney General - the positions of legal researcher and graduate library trainee. Both positions are filled on a fixed term contract basis. The Courts Service Judicial research assistants provide legal research support to members of the Irish Judiciary. The posts are based in the Judges Library in the Four Courts in Dublin. The essential requirements for the job are as follows: A law degree at a minimum standard of 2.1. An extensive knowledge of Irish law and the Irish legal system. Proficient knowledge of research methods and materials. Ability to edit and proof read documents. A good knowledge of Irish and in particular an ability to read and understand legal materials in the Irish language is considered an advantage. Judicial Fellows Judicial fellows are assigned by the President of the High Court to work with one or two judges whose major commitment is to Judicial Review, Chancery, Commercial and Competition Law lists in the High Court. The fellows are appointed for a maximum period of two years. Judicial fellows get a direct insight into the judicial process. The main duties of the fellows are to carry out legal research, writing, collation of materials, editing and other tasks, including attendance in court. The requirements for the positions are as follows: Qualified solicitor or barrister. University degree to a minimum standard of 2.1. A proven ability for legal research and writing and good information technology skills and work methods. Office of the Parliamentary Legal Adviser The Office of the Parliamentary Legal Adviser ( PLA ) gives legal advice to the Houses of the Oireachtas in relation to live legal issues. The PLA advises on a wide range of issues such as contracts, procedure in the Houses, employment law, TDs and Senators entitlements, parliamentary privilege, etc. The position of legal researcher to the Parliamentary Legal Adviser is advertised on:

11 The Oireachtas Library Legal researchers are employed by the Oireachtas to provide research services to support the work of both Houses of the Oireachtas, Oireachtas committees and individual members of the Oireachtas in respect of their parliamentary duties. Legal researchers are under the supervision of the head of research. The main duties of researchers are to: Provide a quality research and analysis service on behalf of members, committees and staff of the Oireachtas. Provide high quality information services to individual members and committees. Provide quality assurance for research/information products and services. Keep abreast of the information and research requirements of committees and individual members. Contribute to the development of the library and research service by sharing ideas and experience. The essential requirements for the positions are as follows: Qualification as a solicitor or barrister. A good knowledge of Irish law. Experience and thorough knowledge in conducting legal research is an essential requirement. Good computer skills and related technology skills. Criminal Law Codification Advisory Committee The Criminal Law Codification Advisory Committee was established under Part 14 of the Criminal Justice Act The function of the advisory committee is to oversee the development of a programme for the codification of the criminal law. Commissions of Inquiry Different Commission of Inquiry boards have employed solicitors to support their work for example the Ryan and Murphy Commission of Inquiry into child abuse. The commissions advertise from time to time for legal staff. Research opportunities in Universities There has been an increase in the research output of universities over the last number of years. Positions as researchers are often advertised for different research projects. The minimum job requirements for these positions vary from job to job. These positions are advertised regularly.

12 EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES IN EUROPE The following is a small survey of employment and training opportunities open to solicitors in the European Union and Council of Europe. The minimum requirements for these positions vary. European Commission The European Commission has a traineeship office. All trainees are awarded a monthly grant of 25% of the basic remuneration. For traineeships, the grant for inservice training has been set at per month. For further information see: European Language Legal Translators The European Commission and the Court of Justice of the European Union ( ECJ ) regularly recruit legal translators. The European Commission has published a call for expressions of interest for translation of legal and judicial documents of the European Union and revision services for various language combinations. The combinations include translations from: Irish into English. Irish into French. French into Irish. For further information see: Alternatively, Council of Europe There are a number of employment and internship opportunities available through the Council of Europe. The Council is in the process of reviewing their traineeship policy. The online application forms are available at:

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