We spoke with Taylor Wessing’s graduate talent advisor, Lydia Block, about the demand for engineering students in law. You don’t need an undergraduate degree in law to qualify as a lawyer and the skills you’ve developed as an engineer, including problem solving, logical thinking and research skills, will be popular with law firms. What’s more, you don’t need to venture far from your engineering background unless you wish to – there are a number of specialisms you could enter that involve working with clients in emerging sectors such as life sciences and technology.
The link between engineering and science may not be an obvious one. Why do engineers make good lawyers?
Engineers have a huge range of skills that can be transferred to the legal profession. Their ability to communicate and present, solve problems, write detailed and factually correct reports, not to mention their ability to extensively research an issue and come up with an evidence-based recommendation, all go hand in hand with what lawyers do on a daily basis. Additionally, an engineer’s logical thinking, problem-solving skills and ability to plan provide the ideal platform for a successful transition into law.
Why should engineers consider switching to law? What can training as a solicitor offer an engineering student or graduate?
Taylor Wessing's focus on tomorrow's industries, such as life sciences and technology, means that trainees will get the chance to work in emerging sectors, presenting a real opportunity to get to the heart of new and influx areas of the law. As one of our four key international industry focuses, our Life Science and Pharma sector's objective is to be a market-leading one-stop shop for pan-European and Asia Pacific legal advice for life sciences companies. Through our six-month seat rotations, trainees will have an opportunity to get involved and make an impact in this area of great strategic importance within the firm.
Why do firms such as Taylor Wessing encourage engineering students to consider applying for their training contracts?
Engineers undoubtedly bring a different perspective to the firm – our broad client base means there are very few backgrounds not relevant to a role at Taylor Wessing! Non-law graduates often display a defined commercial awareness and knowledge base of their subject area. This understanding is invaluable to transfer to our clients. Non-law students also tend to display high levels of tenacity, resilience and commitment; completing an undergraduate degree, followed by the GDL (a one-year law conversion course) and LPC (the vocational stage of training for solicitors) is certainly no mean feat!
What do your clients get from dealing with engineers turned solicitors?
Our client base within Life Sciences ranges from small biotech companies to global pharmaceutical giants. Clients appreciate lawyers who are able to adapt to changing environments and utilise their finely honed critical and evaluative thinking skills in order to meet their needs. Additionally, engineers often have a good work ethic, derived from their busy university schedules. This places an amount of confidence in the lawyer that they will have the stamina to act as a trusted advisor for the client – something we are seeing increasing amounts of at Taylor Wessing.
Why do law firms look for such consistently strong academic results?
Working in the legal sector requires you to demonstrate a high level of academic ability and acumen at all times– dealing with clients with complex issues can be intellectually challenging and your prospective employer will want to see the evidence that you can handle this, no matter the subject you’ve studied.
How can engineering students show that they’ve researched the profession and are committed to a legal career?
Engineering students can show their commitment to pursuing a career within the industry in a number of ways. Most law firms will hold open days and insight days specifically targeted at students from a non-legal background. This is a chance to spend some time with a prospective firm, find out the opportunities available to you, gain an understanding of the application process and experience the company culture.
Engineering students are also able to apply for most summer vacation schemes, and doing such a scheme means they are automatically considered for training contract positions. Additionally, there are a number of law-specific products available to students, such as TARGETjobs Law, that give an insight into the different law firms, their industry focus, trainee reviews and much more information to help any non-law students make an informed judgement about the firms that interest them.
Please note this is not TARGETjobs content and written by the employer.