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Hello Everyone. Can anyone help me with some advice on how to move into legal accounts? I have six years background in accounts.

I have spent six years working in accounts at the transactional level, mostly purchase ledger and I would like to move into legal accounts. I would appreciate some advice on whether this would be possible and how to go about it. I am considering studying to become a legal cashier with the Institute of Legal and Financial Management if this would help me to get a foot in the door and progress from there. I am very keen to work in legal finance and any advice would be greatly appreciated.
Asked by: Jayne Hogan
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I currently work in Legal Accounts as a Legal Cashier/Credit Controller in the City. I only had around 6 weeks experience behind me of the Legal side of things, before I started at this firm. I would recommened you look through the "Solicitors Accounts Rules" most firms now ask you for a good understanding of these rules (editions are changing all the time so the more recent one would be ideal). I work in a very small firm (only 2 of us in the department) therefore, we work on a lot of things between us. If you go to a larger firm (as you stated you have worked on purchase ledger) you can work on one thing for example Client Account, Office Account or Purchase Ledger Clerk. Beginning at a smaller firm helps you settle in to the Legal side of things a bit, and it won't be too "full on", however, as you have previously been an accountant perhaps a larger firm would also be ok. Anything is possible when you look into it, it took me a while to find the right firm, and the right side of accounts I wanted to do, but now I love my job and I would never move from Legal. Not only is it interesting, but you get to meet a lot of new people in the same sort of situation too :-) LSN London links on twitter/on this website advertise a LOT of Legal Accounts jobs, perhaps looking on here regulary will find the one for you. If not any type of agency could help. I found that going through the firms directly helped me a lot more. I know of a firm directly at the moment who could possibly be looking for new Legal Accountants. If your interested, get in touch. Stephanie.janewebb@yahoo.co.uk Hope this helps! :-)
Thank you Stephanie. I have e-mailled you at the e-mail address which you have provided.
Hi Jayne, The legal sector is a tough one to get in to due to the preference for Solicitors Accounts Rules knowledge, but is by no means a closed door. There are many parallels between Accounts Payable in the legal sector and other industries, but there are often professional disbursements, expert fees, Counsels fees etc that have to be charged back to the client, and this is where the difference lies. In terms of the characteristics of candidates that are generally successful in Legal Finance roles, I'd say strong communication skills in dealing with partners and fee-earners would be a key one, previous experience in working in a corporate environment, a stable work history and also high attention to detail. We have placed a number of people in to their first legal sector positions who have displayed these characteristics. The ILFM qualification would give you a much stronger insight into the day-to-day dealings of a Legal Cashier, and as Stephanie mentioned, give you an introduction to the Solicitors Accounts Rules and how to deal with client funds. If you were to begin this course, it would show prospective employers that you are serious in beginning a career in Legal Finance so it certainly wouldn’t hurt, but you may still find some firms only considering applicants with previous practical experience. One other piece of advice that may be worth mentioning, is that you may find it easier getting your foot in the door within a small/medium or even a regional law firm. Generally speaking, they are more open to looking at candidates from outside the sector. It’s also worth bearing in mind that niche recruiters are often given a very specific brief by their clients, so it would be wise to also look at direct applications, as Stephanie suggested. I hope this helps. If you would like to discuss this further, please feel free to call me on 020 7072 0953 or e-mail me at danielcumberworth@balancerecruitment.com. Kind regards, Daniel Cumberworth
Thanks for the advice Daniel. I currently work in the public sector but have some work experience from a legal firm on my C.V. I will definitely drop you an e-mail as I think that I am already registered with Balance Recruitment as a candidate.
Hi Jayne I am the tutor for the ILFM Diploma course. I am more than happy to answer any questions that you may have about the course or the benefite of becoming a member. You can email at james.wright@ilfm.org.uk Kind regards James Wright
Dear James, Thank you for your comment. I have e-mailled you at the e-mail address which you have provided. Regards, Jayne Hogan

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