Working in the legal profession
Working in the legal profession

Working in the Legal Profession

Working in the legal profession

The Irish legal sector is a dynamic and growing field, offering a wealth of opportunities for job seekers with a passion for the law. With many multinational companies establishing their headquarters in Ireland, there is now an increased demand for a diverse range of legal professionals. Working in the legal sector provides a career that is both rewarding and challenging. Legal professionals can use their problem-solving skills for complex cases, empowering them to make meaningful impacts on people's lives.

403 survey respondents who work in professional services

Ben McShane - Director, Finance, Legal & Accounting

​Ben is the Director of Cpl’s Financial Services Recruitment team which is the leading FS Recruitment team in Ireland. Our clients include Investment Managers, Banks, Consulting Firms, Insurers, Law Firms and Fund Services Providers. Prior to working in Cpl, Ben worked within Investment Management in a prestigious Private Bank and in Fund Services with one of the world’s largest Global Custodians.

Ben McShane - Director, Finance, Legal & Accounting

What are the best pathways to a career in the legal profession?

Becoming a solicitor is the first thing person thinks of when considering a career in the legal arena. Completing the FE-1 exams is the traditional path to joining the Law Society of Ireland and being registered as a solicitor. Most students complete an undergraduate degree in law before or while sitting their FE-1s.

Once registered, a new member of the Law Society will need to complete a traineeship. The traineeship lasts 2 years and 6 months; during this time, the trainee will typically complete 4 seats, e.g., corporate, funds, tax, and litigation. This gives the trainee a flavour of what area of law they prefer before committing their future career to any particular area.

However, there are many roles within the profession which do not require the completion of the FE-1s. People with undergraduate law degrees fulfil a variety of roles. Many provide legal advice or work in higher education or conveyance, to name a few.

What are the top soft skills needed for a career in legal?

For a successful legal career, it's vital to possess strong communication and time-management skills and the ability to think critically when problem-solving.

What benefits can legal candidates expect to be offered?

Legal candidates can expect to be offered benefits, including employer pension plans, annual bonuses, further education opportunities, and medical insurance.

What is the difference between private practice and in-house offerings?

The main difference is private practice roles often offer higher annual bonuses, while in-house positions tend to offer higher employer pension plans.

244 survey respondents who work in professional services

What flexible working arrangements can a legal candidate expect?

Legal positions now offer an optimal blend of both in-office and at-home work, with two days working remotely to maximise flexibility while three office visits ensure team collaborations remain strong.

How does company size affect legal salaries?

Salaries within the legal sector vary greatly depending on organisational size. For example, solicitors employed by multinationals could expect a significant financial boost of up to €20,000 to €25,000 compared with those working in smaller firms.

​How do years of experience affect legal salaries?

Professional experience in the legal sector is a strong predictor of higher salaries. On average, each additional year spent working within this field can increase annual salaries by €3,000 to €6,000.

How does higher education or other learning and development affect legal salaries?

Obtaining an advanced degree or other learning and development may not necessarily increase salaries for positions in the legal field. However, those same qualifications can give candidates seeking traineeships an edge over their competition.

What are the expected salary growth levels in legal?

Working in private practice, legal professionals can expect their salaries to rise significantly after 5 years' Post-Qualified Experience (PQE). An individual at a top-tier firm could see pay exceeding €105,000. Meanwhile, in-house roles also offer financial rewards with a PQE of five years delivering earnings between €85,000 and €110,000. It's worth noting that these salary ranges are mainly based on top-tier firms, and salaries tend to be lower at medium and small-sized firms.

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