The Law Society of Ireland is unique among Irish professional bodies with regard to the amount of support provided to members in the areas of career management and challenges.
The Career Support Service is a key resource, and we are a team of three full-time staff. We work with solicitors who find themselves out of work, who face changed work conditions, or who are seeking a new career direction. There is wide-ranging help available through the multiple services provided by Career Support.
We provide telephone or email help, where solicitors with any kind of career-related query can contact us by phone or email to access immediate assistance. Members can also arrange a one-to-one consultation with a Career Counsellor to discuss career management and job market matters. This is a free-of-charge service and, while these consultations are usually face-to-face, they can also be provided via Skype or telephone to suit members who cannot conveniently call into Blackhall Place.
We can help members with their CV: they are welcome to email it, or other job seeking correspondence, to us for review and feedback. Sample CVs and helpful guidelines on drafting CVs are also available. Solicitors can also access a facility to upload their CV onto the Law Society website. This register is viewed by employer members who are seeking staff, particularly for locum and short-term contract requirements.
We are proud that the Legal Vacancies section of the Law Society website is Ireland’s premier online source of information about legal work opportunities, and receives more than 2.5 million visits each year. Members can sign up to receive notifications about particular types of opportunities or about opportunities in a specific location or region of Ireland.
We also have a unique Return to Work programme, which helps solicitors to navigate a successful return to work after time out of the profession spent caring for children or other family members. The programme helps participants to figure out how to integrate back into mainstream legal work, as well as how to organise a good work/life balance.
We organise regular seminars and workshops on career matters and job hunting, and the Careers section of the Law Society website contains a large bank of information, videos and guidance that members can access whenever suits them best.
We provide further support to members who are self-employed - particularly sole practitioners - through the Practitioner Support service. This assistance can be accessed through consultations, SKYPE, telephone and email. Some of the typical issues addressed include setting up in practice, regulatory matters, practice management challenges, leaving practice and planning for retirement.
Last, but not least, solicitors who want to look at the option of buying, selling or merging a practice can utilise the BuySellMerge facility. This facility is located on the Law Society website and is a free, anonymous online forum that can only be viewed by members. Solicitors can post details of what they want and link up with members who have possible matching interests.
Keith O’Malley is Head of Career Support and Practitioner Support at Law Society of Ireland firstname.lastname@example.org