"Are private practice law firms interested in lawyers from local government? If so, what should I be emphasising when I apply to them?"
Kaye Thumpston says:
"The demand depends a lot on your discipline within the public sector and your level of experience. More in-demand areas tend to be planning, employment, contracts and procurement, although childcare has also been a popular option over the last year.
Often, it can be easier to make the transition to Private Practice where you have only been in the public sector for a relatively short time and have previous private practice experience. Alternatively, if you are a very senior local government lawyer with good connections across the public sector, you may appeal to larger practices with specific public sector teams for business generation roles.
In applying for an opportunity within private practice it would be key to emphasise that you possess a strong sense of commerciality, and to support this with examples as far as possible. Business development will be a large element of a role in Private Practice, therefore give some thought to your contacts within local government organisations and whether you may be able to introduce work to the firm via your own network. It may also be advisable to joining local networking groups or breakfast clubs to expand your network of private practice solicitors and local business people."
Emma Khanna and Raj Sidhu say:
"Law firms that are involved with representing local authority clients or that deal with government projects tend to be keen to take on candidates with local authority experience. However, it is essential that candidates have relevant experience in the area of law they are applying for. Examples of firms that deal with this type of public sector work include Creighton & Partners and TPP Law.
With regards to the type of skill sets that are transferable to the private sector, generally speaking law firms will be interested in childcare, social housing and community care law. Usually law firms will request that candidates have LSC supervisor status. Planning law is also an area that comes up from time to time as being considered transferable to the private sector, as candidates that have worked within this area of law in private practice have generally had involvement with local authorities."