I am an in-house commercial lawyer with some 30 years’ experience. I have not worked for a year and matters are becoming difficult.

My not working is involuntary. I have actually won two interim roles in the time, but both were scrapped before I could start when internal approvals at the hirer were not forthcoming. I am also encountering some evidence of discrimination. Otherwise I have had some interviews, mostly for interim roles.

I have a CV that shows experience at blue chip telecoms and defence cos as well as writing for PLC and Lexis Nexis. I also have line management and governance experience. For interim work in particular, I do not mind the level of any role (except head of legal which does have special considerations). In-house work is usually fairly general and everyone usually deals with their own problems whether small or large.

I have taken (and acted on) advice on CV’s etc from the National Careers Service and others.

Has anyone any ideas about what I can do next?

Laura Hayward

Laura Hayward, associate director, Sellick Partnership says…

Firstly can I say that it is hugely disappointing that you are facing discrimination in your job search. I predominantly recruit for the public sector and discrimination isn’t something we come across often at all; I am sorry to hear that you are facing this in your job search.

There are a few things that you could think about/do to help. Firstly you could sign up with specialist legal recruitment agencies, if you haven’t already done so? Recruiters generally have strong relationships with their clients so we are able to speak with them on your behalf and most importantly, work proactively rather than waiting for the right role to turn up! It may be that this is the reason we don’t often come across cases of discrimination; having worked with our clients for a long time we tend to know what each one likes and the profile that will fit their organisation – this eliminates your details being submitted to organisations which aren’t going to be the right fit for you and vice versa. Each organisation and each candidate are so different that it can be a little like finding a needle in a haystack when it comes to finding the right role – hopefully aligning yourself with a good, experienced specialist recruiter will make this a little easier for you?

You may also want to consider a change of sector, and I think the public sector may be a good option. Sellick Partnership have a wealth of experience working within the public sector and I have noticed a real surge in demand for contracts lawyers with commercial experience. Our clients regularly look for locums with a strong commercial background on both a temporary and permanent basis, and I would imagine that public sector organisations would be happy to consider you. There is a real mixture of backgrounds that are now working within the public sector and more recently the higher education sector; our clients are often attracted to candidates that have a strong in-house background within commercial contracts as they are able to make the transition relatively smoothly into a new sector.

It is incredibly rare for us to have an excellent commercial lawyer who wants to work to be sat at home, the demand is just too high nationwide, so I would urge you to think about what other options are available to you.

If you are open to looking at the public sector please do get in touch as I feel we could assist you greatly in your job search!