By Daniela Aroche
Simmons & Simmons recently announced that it would make the MBA a permanent option within its graduate recruitment process and - having already signed 25 of its future trainees onto the MBA programme with education provider BPP this September - the firm will now offer all potential recruits the option to take up the one-year course before starting their training contracts.
According to Karen Waldock, director of recruitment firm, Hughes-Castell the move by Simmons is a unique way of attracting graduate trainees to the firm - by offering something that their competitors are not, and hence distinguishing themselves in the market.
"It is a sign that firms are focusing on offering other benefits to attract talent, particularly since a graduate trainee salary is relatively low so they would absolutely be looking for benefits that will help them in their career long-term," she said.
This suggests that an MBA would be an advantage - but is it?
According to Jacqueline Keddie of Law Alliance, the value of an MBA in terms of career progression depends on how and if you use it - it is simply down to the individual and whether or not they employ the skills they've acquired during their MBA studies.
"On an academic level it makes sense that an MBA qualification would make a difference, but a lot of lawyers think that it's enough just that they've gone out and done an MBA - they must show how exactly the MBA has made a difference," she said.
An MBA qualification adds to the candidate on paper, but it's evidence of the management skills the MBA is supposed to instil that the firm will truly be impressed by." The bottom line? Lawyers should not rest on their laurels once their MBA study is complete.
You can do an MBA at any age and at any stage of your career, but Keddie for one advises that it's best to undertake this kind of study as a graduate, so you have more time to put the skills learnt into practice as you mould your career.
"The more senior you get, the more differentiable you are as a candidate, but junior lawyers are all much of a muchness - at a junior level an MBA probably makes the candidate stand out a bit more against the competition," she said.
"If you're going to undertake further education, better late than never; but if you want it to really beef up your CV, do it within the first three years and ensure that it's at a top institution."
Top 12 MBA Institutions
London Business School
Australian School of Business (Sydney)
Australian Graduate School of Management (Sydney)
Melbourne Business School
Macquarie Graduate School of Management (Sydney)
Nanyang Business School (Singapore)
Hong Kong UST Business School
Chinese University of Hong Kong