Throughout my career in the legal industry I have been lucky enough to experience a wide variety of work, which has benefitted me greatly. From working within top law firms in Southampton to acting as an in-house legal advisor within the recruitment industry before eventually coming back into the legal sector with Hybrid, everything I have done to this point has shaped my abilities and skills as a legal professional and I wouldn’t change a thing.
Now don’t get me wrong, I have experienced my fair share of the occasional “is this what I want to do” moments, but it is how you deal with these moments that defines how you are able to grow and progress with your career. Ultimately, you have to challenge yourself with what you think is possible before you can really progress.
One such moment came when I decided I wanted to leave the legal industry. I had become disenchanted with the traditional law firm “system”, feeling as though it was outdated and not right for me. The scary part was thinking that I had just wasted the last 4-6 years of my life, with the goal of becoming a solicitor, because I wasn’t enjoying my work and I wasn’t enjoying the pre-conceived notion of what a career in law looked like.
I couldn’t have been more wrong.Moving into an in-house position allowed me to enjoy an energetic and younger environment that I was not used to. The office would buzz when candidates were placed and that enthusiasm was infectious. When I first started, every day was different and brought new complex challenges for which I needed to research and apply a solution. My experience and skill set were appreciated and celebrated. This role was key to giving me a commercial perspective on the legal guidance I would provide, allowing me to have more of an impact.It was during my time being an in-house legal advisor that I realised there were other routes to achieve my goals. I may not want to qualify and follow the traditional solicitor route anymore, but why should that stop my development and career that I had worked so hard for?
CILEx offered me the perfect route. With CILEx I would be able to work outside of a traditional law firm but still qualify as a Chartered Legal Executive (another form of lawyer). Through completing the Legal Practice Course previously, I was able to obtain Graduate Member status upon application and continue my journey to qualification.
Unfortunately, I soon realised that my employers would need to satisfy certain criteria for me to obtain the qualification, which they couldn’t reasonably do. I was once again in a position of contemplating “how do I progress to where I want to be”? I was not keen on a move back into the traditional legal firm lifestyle, based on my previous experiences. I needed something different, something that felt fresh and could challenge me and get me to where I needed to be. That is when I found Hybrid.Hybrid are completely different to every experience of the legal industry that I had had up until this point; they really do bring the Hybrid ethos to life by being ambitious, disruptive and friendly. Ryan and Alan were gracious enough to offer me the opportunity to join and have since supported me fully with my qualifications.
The work, since I have joined Hybrid, has been both challenging and enjoyable. The learning curve was steep with areas of law I was not familiar with, but the role continues to challenge me with a variety of matters on a day-to-day basis.
Overall, my experiences have taught me that there are always other options; just because you have problems and can’t progress in a role it doesn’t have to be a dead end. Your career is what you make of it and challenging yourself is the best way to push yourself forward.So, the question you need to ask yourself is this – are you being challenged enough?
Written by Jonathan Craddock.
Jonathan graduated in LLB law from the University of the West of England in 2012. He then completed the Legal Practice Course in 2013 before working with some of Southampton’s top law firms.