Advice for the Newly Qualified Lawyer

Kevin Sinnott, Managing Director

You have finished your training contract, you’re now a qualified lawyer… let the celebrations begin!

But once those celebrations subside… the reality kicks in. With an abundance of potential at your door – making the next career decision may feel like one that carries the weight of the world.

After all, you’ve spent years in law school to attain a degree, many hours to secure a training contract, the completion of the training… and now you’re faced with…

What’s next?!

Here we give our top tips for Newly-Qualified lawyers who face what can be a very difficult decision when finally completing their training contract.


1. Consider your practice area

This is such an important consideration for junior lawyers as they embark on their legal careers. It can be the difference between a career that is fulfilling, exciting and inspiring, and one that falls short in providing the motivation each day.

Employers are attracted to candidates who have some demonstrated interest in a particular practice area whether that interest is shown through prior work experience, internships during law school, or extra-curricular activities.

It also should be noted that moving practice areas a few years down the track can pose as a challenge due to a number of factors. Hence the importance of making a thorough, considered choice on your area should not be overlooked.

When making this all-important decision, turn to the people who are living with the decision they made in your position now. Reach out to lawyers working in the practice area that you’re considering and ask them what their opinions are (LinkedIn is a powerful tool for this!)

It’s also vital to take into consideration your own personal interests and where your natural talents lie. Different practice areas suit different personalities, so get a thorough understanding of what skills would be needed before making the final decision.



2. Secure your mentor 

A remarkable 75% of executives say mentoring has been critical to their career development, according to a survey by the American Society for Training and Development.

Gaining a mentor is one of the most important things you can do for your future career. It’s an access to first-hand information that can aid in your important decisions, an opportunity to ask questions and advice, and someone who can act as a beacon of inspiration for your journey.

To gain a mentor, think about who you could ask in your current network. Perhaps there was a partner you really resonated with during your training contract, or a Senior Associate you were incredibly inspired by. If you haven’t found someone in your own personal network, perhaps you’ve come across someone’s work in your city who you can reach on LinkedIn… whilst a mentor isn’t guaranteed from this, if you never ask, you’ll never know!

However, as with anything, you only get in as much as you put in for a mentorship dynamic. So, come to the relationship prepared to apply the lessons you learn, offer value where you can and have a positive, go-getter attitude to every meeting. By doing so, you’re setting yourself for your best chance of a successful career, that has been accelerated with the help of a mentor.

3. Ask yourself: where do I want to be in 10+ years time?

As a newly qualified lawyer It is very important to map out your long-term goals and objectives. While it may seem overwhelming to think 10 years ahead into the future, it is an exercise that will serve you well in a quick-moving, ever-evolving world where multiple job changes throughout a career are the norm.

For instance, is it your dream to become a partner at an international law firm, do you want to travel overseas? Are you interested in the tech/start up space? By choosing which area to specialise in you really can set yourself up or reduce your chances in achieving your career goals. As a example, is has proven to be a much easier move for transactional lawyers to make a move overseas that it has been for litigators.

It’s important to take the time to think through your personal, financial and career goals and revisit these regularly to audit whether the career path you’re on allows you to achieve these. If you’re on a career trajectory which isn’t fulfilling these goals, it’s time to pivot and recalibrate.

If you’re wanting to get an expert advice and insight to make the important decisions in your early career – Sonder are here to help. Our team are all equipped with a legal degree at a minimum and are able to sit down and map out your long-term career goals alongside you.

To make an appointment, simply email or call us on (02) 8277 4511.

Sonder Consultants are a boutique legal recruitment firm specialising in both in-house and private practice, and have opportunities in domestic and international markets. For more information on career advice or opportunities in your respective field. Contact Kevin for a confidential discussion on: email kevin.sinnott@sonderconsultants or give him a call on 02 8277 4511.  

“The future belongs to the competent, get good, get better, be the best!”

– Brian Tracy

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