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January 27, 2020, by Leah Sharpe

Want an exciting legal career? Join a startup

By Tom Bangay, University of Nottingham alumus and director of content at Juro

As one of the best law schools in the world, Nottingham graduates naturally progress to top law firms. But private practice and corporate law aren’t the only options for Nottingham’s lawyers-in-waiting. Venture capital-backed startups have started to take over legal, attracting billions in investment and presenting exciting options for graduates.

Everywhere, companies are disrupting lawyers’ traditional work. Marketplaces like Axiom, Flex and Lexoo connect businesses with lawyers of all levels, to handle whatever commercial issues they’re facing. Companies like Brightflag and Apperio help companies and law firms to streamline their operations. Companies like Juro, Contract Express and SpringCM help with more efficient contract management. And they all benefit from hiring law graduates with commercial awareness and strong academics.

What does this mean for graduates exploring career options?

The good news is that legal tech startups are always hiring, with a range of roles appealing to different personalities. Graduates who enjoy the law’s meticulous, precise nature might enjoy getting stuck into ‘customer success’. This is where law graduates often focus at Juro, helping lawyers build the templates and contracts they use to close deals.

Commercially minded graduates might prefer business development. The best sales people in legal have a keen understanding of what lawyers actually want and the financial rewards available to top tech sales people can outstrip even those alumni at the Magic Circle.

As a law graduate, I focus on marketing: how to talk to lawyers about their work in a way that’s human, accessible, and actually educates them on how technology can make their lives easier. No day is the same and I get to pick the brains of C-suite leaders at companies like Monzo, Deliveroo and Skyscanner.

There are disadvantages to startup life too. Starting salaries don’t compare to the huge numbers that City and US firms offer new lawyers. And while the hours aren’t quite the 80-hour weeks at elite law firms, startup life is intense. Venture-backed companies have impossible targets of their own: sometimes everyone in the company needs to get their hands dirty with something urgent. And job security isn’t a given – by definition, most startups fail.

But there are considerable upsides. Startups tempt talented people to take a chance on them by offering share options – if your company becomes successful, you could end up with a serious financial windfall. The pace of learning at a startup is unique – I’ve worked at a bank, a media group, a charity and various publishers and learned more in a year here than in the previous five. Whether it’s sales, operations, engineering or actually running a business, there’s no better place to learn.

Perhaps most importantly, it’s fun. You’re never bored or stuck in internal politics – there isn’t time! To learn more about legal tech startups, check out the Legal Geek community.

If you’re interested in finding out more about careers in law, visit our website.

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