As you will know if you are a Court of Protection solicitor, Court of Protection is a very close-knit niche of the legal sector. In a sector where everyone knows everyone, you might feel hesitant to explore new job opportunities within the same town or city, because of how accepting a new role might be perceived by your current employer and might affect your reputation.
However, over the last 12 months I have made a number of placements within Court of Protection and have seen first-hand how solicitors can really benefit from dipping their toe in the jobs market and taking a look at the kinds of positions on offer away from their current firm.
While law firms with specialist departments are relatively few and far between, there are still plenty of exciting and rewarding roles on offer for those who are open to considering the making a move at law firms across Manchester, the North West, Yorkshire and the Midlands.
The North West
In the North West, most Court of Protection teams are located in Manchester. In the city centre, you’ll find larger firms including Slater and Gordon, Irwin Mitchell and Hugh Jones. On the other hand, lawyers looking to avoid commuting into the city might consider Linder Myers in Sale or Gorvins in Stockport, both of which also have highly regarded Court of Protection departments.
Elsewhere in the region, there are a handful of other firms in Merseyside and Lancashire, such as Jackson Lees in Liverpool and O’Donnells in Preston who work within the Court of Protection
Compared to Greater Manchester and Merseyside, in Yorkshire, there is less of a Court of Protection presence, but the market is growing. Wrigleys and Irwin Mitchell currently boast the largest and most-established departments, however Ramsdens Solicitors, also deal with Court of Protection matters and other firms such as Keebles, are looking to set up dedicated teams.
In Birmingham city centre, Shoosmiths and Irwin Mitchell have huge Court of Protection teams and are often on the lookout for talented solicitors. Anthony Collins also has a dedicated department in Birmingham and Wright Hassall has a team of Court of Protection solicitors in Leamington Spa.
The benefits of considering a move
The prospect of a longer commute might deter you from considering firms further a field. However, those who are willing to widen their search and are open to travelling from Liverpool to Manchester, for example, can really benefit.
By exploring opportunities elsewhere, it may be possible to secure a better package. If you move from a smaller regional practice to a larger city centre firm, you might also get the chance to work on better-quality and more interesting work, enabling you to develop your specialist expertise in a way that may not be possible at your current firm.
If you think that a longer commute isn’t practical for you, it’s important to remember that only a small number of firms still stick to a rigid 9 to 5 working pattern and most employers are open to flexibility. As I explored in a previous blog about flexible working in the legal profession, many firms are now offering flexible hours or home working, allowing lawyers to work around train timetables or leave the office early to beat the rush-hour traffic.
What’s more, many firms are open to considering solicitors with experience in a different but related area of the law such as a catastrophic injury or medical negligence. While these lawyers don’t specialise in Court of Protection, because they have experience of dealing with relevant matters in their current roles, they have the skills law firms are looking for and could quite easily make the transition to Court of Protection.
It’s not just solicitors that can benefit from making a move, however. Court of Protection paralegals are also in a very strong position. Because they are so sought-after, they can earn as much as £30,000, considerably more than their peers in other practice areas.
Are you thinking about taking your next step?
As you can see, there are a range of exciting opportunities for Court of Protection solicitors who are open to making a move and developing their career.
At Realm, I work with court of protection departments across the North West, the West Midlands and Yorkshire recruiting court of protection lawyers at all levels.