Lawyer Career Changer Profile

Rob Birkett



Legal Career

Constant & Constant & Constant, Solicitor, Shipping Litigation, London

New Career(s)


Career Change Story

I left private practice shipping litigation to go in-house with a London based shipowner, in their legal and insurance department. I followed the (shipping) industry and national press, legal periodicals, and saw the position advertised in The Times legal section. I also kept in touch with a couple of shipping-specific recruitment consultants along the way, and had at least one in-house interview via word of mouth, through a friend in shipping private practice who had a client looking.

However, I had a nagging feeling that I wanted to try a more entrepreneurial venture at some point. I was also getting much more interested in re-training as a professional coach and developing my own coaching practice at some stage.

In short, it was to have more control over my time, decisions and direction. I also wanted to be able to help individuals make their own changes in their careers/lives through coaching.

Career Change Reflections

I find the absence of billing targets, timesheets, and marketing onus very liberating. These are replaced by scrutiny in other ways, however, and a whole new set of pressures exerted by a highly commercial atmosphere. It isn't a soft-option due to the immediacy of issues that arise, and a permanently on-site principal. You are acutely aware of the financial implications of every issue arising. Less law (some arbitrations are conducted in-house, litigation is instructed out), more claims avoidance, in a best practice way, and troubleshooting. More regular hours, until there is breaking news during the night or at weekends. But that's shipping.