The path to qualifying as a Construction Lawyer will start in the same way as qualifying in any other legal practice area. Our article on how to become a Solicitor details the different routes that you can take to qualifying as a Solicitor.
While studying towards the Legal Practice Course (LPC), you should start to apply for training contracts with boutique construction law firms or larger firms that have a dedicated construction practice.
Rupa Lakha, Construction Partner at Charles Russell Speechlys LLP told us about her steps to qualification and beyond in an interview:
“I applied for training contracts after completing my LPC and was successful in securing one at Speechly Bircham LLP (now Charles Russell Speechlys LLP) following the 3-week summer scheme selection process. I have been exceptionally fortunate with my career progression; I have evolved from a trainee through to associate, senior associate and then on to partnership within one law firm.”
While not everyone’s career development may be as smooth as Rupa’s, one of the key takeaways is the summer scheme that she undertook prior to applying for a training contract. The competition you face in applying for a construction law training contract will be stiff, so any legal work experience that you can demonstrate will swing the odds in your favour.
Construction Lawyer Skills & Knowledge
Check out any Construction Lawyer job description and you will likely see some or all of the below skills and knowledge as essential requirements:
• Contract drafting, reviewing, and negotiating skills.
• Sound knowledge of all industry specific contracts, regulations, and procedures.
• Detailed understanding of the construction industry as a whole, not just the legal aspects.
• Knowledge of commercial and transactional law.
• An approach that is strategic, analytical, and creative.
• The ability to work with a range of legal and non-legal professionals.
• Verbal and written communication skills.
• The ability to break down complex concepts into everyday terms.
• Relationship building and client facing skills.
• A knack for anticipating and preventing future issues.
• The ability to advise clients on contentious issues and guide them through various forms of dispute resolution.
• The ability to prepare a case, represent clients in court and carry out the other tasks associated with litigation.
• Any knowledge or experience of related industries like engineering, infrastructure, or architecture.
As mentioned previously, construction law overlaps with several other legal disciplines, including litigation, finance, commercial property, residential property and many more. Any experience, including training seats, in these practice areas will enhance your CV when it comes to applying for construction law jobs.