Editor’s Weekly: Spend your pennies wisely

What would you do if you landed £10,000? I’d probably blow most of it on a shopping spree at Primark (of course if it were the lottery it would be haute couture all the way) and then use the change to buy all my friends a drink or two.

As you can tell when it comes to money I’m not great at prioritising. Indeed, I’m currently reading Confessions of a Shopaholic and have been rather disturbed by my likeness to the lead character. Although I fear even she has more taste than me!

That said, even I know that if I were still at law school and was offered cash by my future employer to defer my training contract I should spend the money and more importantly the time wisely.

With one exception the money being given to future joiners has come with no strings attached. Norton Rose, which has so far emerged as the most generous firm on the issue of trainee deferrals, is offering up to £10,000. But the firm isn’t waving goodbye to its money easily – each trainee has to submit a proposal as to why they should be eligible.

The move has sparked unprecedented media attention and even got a mention on BBC Breakfast News last week. It was therefore only a matter of time before the press releases came flooding into my junk email folder from organisations desperate to chip in with their tips on how students should spend their unexpected gap year.

Leading the charge was the Law Society, which has cautioned students who are deferring to avoid gaps in their CVs by doing pro bono work instead. Then there were the releases from organisations looking for volunteers to work abroad.

But the one that really caught my attention was from ‘leadership consultancy’ (whatever that is) Dynamic Transitions. The press release quotes managing director Judith Germain as saying: “Many graduates may be drawn into seeing this as a free ticket to a year of ‘loafing’ before they start their training, but in reality they need to realise they are also being tested to see how self-motivated they can be when left to their own devices.”

All of the above are useful suggestions but I personally don’t think there’s any harm in treating some of your gap year as ‘you time’ as there will be plenty of time during your training contract to hone your ‘soft skills’. So once you’ve done your stint at your nearest pro bono clinic you’re better off jumping on a plane and flying somewhere exotic. That way, the limited paralegal positions that do exist can be taken up by people who need a little more help than those who already have their futures sorted.

<a href=”mailto:husnara.begum@lawyer2b.com”>husnara.begum@lawyer2b.com</a>

PS – the Nutshells competition is now closed so thanks to everyone who entered. I’ll announce the winner next week and of course the correct answer.

PPS – we’ve got another commercial awareness quiz on the home page so make sure you have a go.