“I don’t want to do that type of law, it’s boring” Unnamed Mental Health Law Paralegal, December 2018.
This topic of conversation could keep law students and lawyers going for years to come, but today we had an email from a paralegal who was enquiring about a job. He asked what specific area of law the role was for and we explained that it was mental health law. He replied to say that he’d done that and found it very boring and had no wish to do it again. Had we got anything more exciting such as corporate finance?
I have to say that when this email arrived in our office the recruitment consultants all had a read and a good laugh. Usually we get enquiries from commercial lawyers wanting to do the exciting face to face law of the high street, but not appreciating that solicitors on the high street get paid considerably less than their counterparts in commercial law practice. Somewhat different to hear of a candidate expecting to find corporate finance interesting and mental health law boring..
One of the main reasons given by commercial lawyers for not wanting to carry on and to move into something on the high street is that they view commercial law as boring and high street law as exciting and dynamic.
Which would you rather do? A field of law where you earn a six figure salary and potentially be working in a very dry area of law, or alternatively on the high street working with people on a day to day basis to help them with their legal problems for considerably less?
I suspect that the grass is always greener on the other side, regardless of the salary, and most commercial lawyers would probably find most high street law unbelievably tedious and boring without any excitement at all. The same applies to high street lawyers doing commercial law..
Of course the difference between the two is the amount of money that is going to make its way into your bank account if you work in corporate or commercial fields as opposed to high street. The work pretty much remains the same – most legal work is procedural in that you get a case and you follow a procedure. There will be times when cases fall outside the procedure, but on the whole you will be doing the same thing again and again and again just for different clients.
Mental health law is possibly one of the least boring areas in the legal profession because the work varies so dramatically. The actual procedure will remain the same, but the clients you work with will be extremely different to each other, and a lot of them very colourful indeed.
So for the paralegal who wanted to be doing an exciting area of law, to say that mental health law was boring probably means he’s going to be very unpleasantly surprised when he comes to do corporate finance, which we think is one of the driest and most procedural areas of law there is.
So what is the most boring area of law? Answers on a postcard to firstname.lastname@example.org.