We have had a scenario in where a lawyer is middle-ranking in local government, could take voluntary redundancy as it is being offered across the organisation, has a good employment record, but is worried about the recruitment market (is willing to go into private practice though). Should he stay put, or should he take redundancy and look elsewhere, and if so would you recommend sticking to local government or moving to practice?
Rayhaneh Tehrani, manager, Sellick Partnership says:
This is an interesting scenario, and one that in my opinion has no right or wrong answer. It would depend on how safe your position is at your current organisation, and whether or not you want a new challenge, which is a decision only you can make. Voluntary redundancy can be a great step if you have already been considering a new challenge. However if you are happy in your current establishment, and you feel your role is secure, you may want to stay put for the time being.
The Local Government recruitment market is currently very good, with extensive opportunities across the UK for the right candidates. If, as you say, you are an experienced legal professional with an in-depth knowledge of your chosen specialism and a great track record, then I do not think you would struggle to find more work. What you may want to consider is your salary. If you chose to take redundancy, you may find it challenging to achieve the same rate, especially if you have had multiple increments during your time with your current employer. This is something you should research thoroughly, but if you are not concerned with a slight reduction in salary, or your rate of pay staying the same then looking for a new position may be a good option.
As for a move to the private sector, this could also be a great opportunity but I would suggest treading with caution if you are considering this. Private sector clients tend to look for a great deal of experience and a very high level of knowledge in public sector candidates, and in my experience those that are not able to make the move smoothly return to local government after a short amount of time. However, if you are experienced and feel you would like a challenge, this could be a great step to take, just ensure you pick the right firm with an area of law that suits your skillset.
You may also wish to consider taking on some locum assignments. The locum market is continuously growing, and is very buoyant at the moment so you would not have any problem getting work. This would be a great move if you are still considering your options as it would give you a great deal of flexibility. Taking on a locum assignment would allow you to stay working within an area of law and earning a wage, whilst considering what your next permanent step may be. Locum rates are generally much more competitive than permanent salaries also, making them a very attractive option for many legal professionals in the market.
I hope this has helped in some way, and I wish you luck in your next endeavour.