in Careers Advice, Changing Jobs

Leaving the Legal Profession

Is it Normal to Hate Working as a Solicitor?

OK – you have spent 4 years being a solicitor, and you hate it. You dislike your clients, your boss, the money, the hours, your colleagues and life in general. What do you do?

Firstly, do not worry that you are unusual. This is common, and we come across solicitors, barristers and legal executives who all find after a certain amount of time that being a lawyer is just not what they wanted out of life. It is common across the professions and not just in law.

We have come across lawyers who have left the profession and become: recruitment consultants (you do not have to look very far for these!), doctors, plumbers, builders, teachers (legal and non-legal), property developers, shop assistants, administration assistants, court administration clerks, freelance police station representatives, charity and aid workers, forestry workers, farmers and many more.

Some want to return after a few years out when they realise that the cut and thrust of the legal world is lacking in their lives, but others do not regret it.

Have a think about what it is you actually want. It is the lack of autonomy that you do not like, the high level of responsibility, the working conditions, the lack of prospects, the salary levels, the actual caseload or the clients? If it is any of the above apart from the caseload or the clients, you may be better thinking about a move in law as opposed to outside.

If you want more autonomy have you considered setting up on your own? The Law Society publish a book on setting up a small law firm, and this can be found on their site following the publishing links.

If you want prospects, are you with the right firm? If you hate your boss, why not find one you like, or alternatively look for partnership opportunities (ask at your current firm as well).

If you are finding the work stressful, and life is really not enjoyable, visit the Law Care website at as they have some excellent information about coping with stress etc.. as well as helplines to assist you. They now also have an article on alternative careers with lots of information.

If you do want to move, why not contact us? Have you considered relocating to a new area and starting afresh? Click here to register or speak to us.

Further in depth advice can be found at and

You can get further assistance from us via telephone and face to face sessions in careers by visiting

Jonathan Fagan

Jonathan Fagan LLM FIRP is Managing Director of Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment. He has been recruiting solicitors and legal support staff for law firms and in house legal departments for over 20 years and handles roles from junior fee earners through to partners and law firm sales/purchases. A non-practising solicitor on the Roll since 2000, he is also the author of a number of legal career books, which are available at You can contact Jonathan at