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A photo of the Story Bridge in Brisbane city at dusk

Building your legal career

We recently spoke at a Career Planning Seminar for the Queensland Young Lawyers Association and thought it worthwhile writing a quick blog summarising some of the key takeaways from the night.

There is no one size fits all to planning a legal career. If you have started working in a law firm, your career planning needs to start now. These days the law is a profession which has the tendency to pigeon-hole you very quickly and so you need to be working toward a goal from early in your career. It is often quite hard to make a lateral move as a lawyer. Whether it be a move to a new practice area, a move in-house, overseas or into a commercial role, it’s not as simple as you might expect.

To start to prepare a career in the law, some of the things you should be thinking about include:

  • Why do you practice the law?
  • What motivates you professionally?
  • How are you finding the practice of law versus the study of the law? You may have decided at university you wanted to be an M&A lawyer but you may not like the reality of the day to day job.
  • Do you love the business development side of law?
  • Are you a technical, black-letter lawyer?
  • Are you comfortable working to budgets?
  • Is work / life balance important to you?
  • Are you in the right practice area for your personality?

By asking yourself some of these simple questions you can begin to put together your plan – what do you want to be doing in the next two, five and ten years. Do you like life in a law firm or do you think you want to move in-house, overseas, into government or completely out of the law.

This is where as experienced legal recruiters we fit into the picture. Whether you want to find the right firm as a platform for partnership, don’t like the practice area you fell into out of law school and want to change practice areas, want to go in-house but don’t know how to get there, want to get overseas for a few years, think you might like the more relaxed hours of government. We have seen it all and can tell you if you are on the right pathway or help you make a series of moves to get to your end goal and sometimes create jobs for you. Sometimes that might mean staying put and not making a move right now because you are actually in the best place to achieve your end goal.


At Peppercorn Recruitment, our Partners are both former lawyers and have a combined two decades of legal recruitment experience. We have provided frank, honest and pragmatic advice to many lawyers over their careers on matters such as negotiating salaries, drafting CVs, interview tips and tricks and of course, changing jobs.

We hope you find this a useful point of reference in your career planning, but should you wish to have a confidential discussion about how we can help, please contact either Peter or Ross. We’re happy to help!