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Moving from Science into Law


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Theses slides are from a talk given at the 2010 series of Careers After Biological Science talks at the University of Leicester. The speaker Ed McFarlane graduated in 1989 and worked for a while in genetics research before taking the Graduate Diploma in Law

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Moving from Science into Law

  1. 1. Moving from Science into Law Ed McFarlane Legal Adviser EEF Ltd
  2. 2. My Career <ul><li>1989 B.Sc. (Hons) Biological Sciences – Microbiology/Genetics/Biochemistry </li></ul><ul><li>1990 ESF Traineeship Biochemistry Dept. </li></ul><ul><li>1991-1993 Research Assistant Genetics Dept. (Yeast genetics) </li></ul><ul><li>1993/4 CPE De Montfort University </li></ul><ul><li>1994/5 Legal Practice Course DMU </li></ul>
  3. 3. My Career <ul><li>1996-97 – Civil service: Inland Revenue; Crown Prosecution Service </li></ul><ul><li>1997 – Legal Helpline; Direct Line </li></ul><ul><li>1998 Royal & Sun Alliance Legal Helpline </li></ul><ul><li>2000 Employment Law consultancy </li></ul><ul><li>2003 Employment Tribunal advocate </li></ul><ul><li>2009 EEF Ltd </li></ul>
  4. 4. Current work - EEF Ltd <ul><li>Employers’ Association </li></ul><ul><li>Formerly the Engineering Employers’ Federation </li></ul><ul><li>Represents and assists employers in manufacturing and other larger employers </li></ul><ul><li>Provide representation, legal support, networking </li></ul>
  5. 5. My job <ul><li>Represent employers at Employment Tribunals </li></ul><ul><li>Participate in External Conferences with Trades Union </li></ul><ul><li>Advise employers </li></ul><ul><li>Training/Lecturing </li></ul>
  6. 6. Employment Tribunals <ul><li>Relatively informal Court </li></ul><ul><li>Defend claims for Unfair Dismissal; discrimination; unpaid wages. </li></ul><ul><li>Take case from commencement to conclusion – drafting defence, preparing documents, drafting statements, representation in Tribunal. </li></ul>
  7. 7. Employment Tribunals <ul><li>Representation is undertaken by solicitors, barristers, Trade Union reps, Consultants and Litigants in Person. </li></ul><ul><li>Key to job is knowledge of the facts of the case and the law that helps or hinders your case. </li></ul>
  8. 8. A typical day <ul><li>Start work 8.30am to 6pm – (weekends) </li></ul><ul><li>Dictate a witness statement </li></ul><ul><li>Handle around 10 phone calls from clients </li></ul><ul><li>Around 20 emails from clients/opponents </li></ul><ul><li>Post </li></ul><ul><li>Draft legal argument or opinion </li></ul><ul><li>Draft a Compromise Agreement </li></ul>
  9. 9. Range of tasks <ul><li>Attend a Tribunal hearing </li></ul><ul><li>Attend an external conference </li></ul><ul><li>Litigation and advice preparation work </li></ul><ul><li>Keep up with law </li></ul><ul><li>Advice in telephone or in writing </li></ul><ul><li>Deliver/prepare training </li></ul><ul><li>Site visits </li></ul>
  10. 10. Employment Tribunals <ul><li>Key Legal Skills </li></ul><ul><li>Cross-examination </li></ul><ul><li>Presenting Legal arguments </li></ul><ul><li>Negotiating settlements </li></ul><ul><li>Mastering up to 500 pages of documents </li></ul>
  11. 11. Lawyers’ lives <ul><li>Solicitors: private practice </li></ul><ul><li>Billing targets </li></ul><ul><li>Long hours </li></ul><ul><li>High pressure </li></ul><ul><li>Exacting professional rules </li></ul>
  12. 12. Lawyers’ lives <ul><li>Solicitors may also work in </li></ul><ul><li>Local and Central government </li></ul><ul><li>In-house Counsel (larger companies) </li></ul><ul><li>Consultancy firms </li></ul>
  13. 13. Lawyers’ lives <ul><li>Barristers </li></ul><ul><li>Self-employed </li></ul><ul><li>Work in Chambers </li></ul><ul><li>Advocacy and Advice </li></ul><ul><li>Itinerant life-styles </li></ul><ul><li>Thick skins! </li></ul>
  14. 14. Tips for getting the edge <ul><li>Outstanding degree </li></ul><ul><li>Connections </li></ul><ul><li>Experience </li></ul><ul><li>Pro bono work </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t have a conviction! </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t get into financial trouble </li></ul>
  15. 15. What if you don’t qualify? <ul><li>Considerable debt burden? </li></ul><ul><li>Alternative jobs </li></ul><ul><li>(i) Consultancy </li></ul><ul><li>(ii) Company Secretary </li></ul><ul><li>(iii) Compliance management </li></ul>
  16. 16. Salary Survey <ul><li>In-house Counsel – North West England 2009 </li></ul><ul><li>Years Min Norm Max </li></ul><ul><li>NQ £33,000 £40,000 £42,000 </li></ul><ul><li>1 £36,000 £44,000 £46,000 </li></ul><ul><li>2 £40,000 £46,000 £51,500 </li></ul><ul><li>3 £43,000 £50,000 £62,000 </li></ul><ul><li>4 £48,000 £57,000 £65,000 </li></ul><ul><li>5 £50,000 £60,000 £67,000 </li></ul><ul><li>6 £52,000 £66,000 £70,500 </li></ul><ul><li>7 £58,000 £71,000 £107,000 </li></ul><ul><li>8 £60,000 £76,000 £110,000 </li></ul><ul><li>9 £62,000 £95,000 £124,000 </li></ul><ul><li>10-14 £64,000 £105,000 £168,000 </li></ul><ul><li>15+ £65,500 £120,000 £196,000 </li></ul>