NQ Advice – 5 things to consider

10 May, 2016

NQ Advice – 5 things to consider

NQ Advice – 5 things to consider in 2016

May/June is always a difficult time for 2nd year trainee solicitors, the bulk of which will be expecting to qualify this September. It’s hard for anyone to deal with uncertainty in the fundamental aspects of adult life and one’s future employment prospects certainly fall into this category.

Law firms certainly recognise this. They invest heavily in trainee solicitors, often over a number of years and appreciate the essential importance of continuing to nurture junior legal talent. That said there are other factors for them to consider. This is the time of year when budgets are set for the new financial year. Firms’ ability to recruit at NQ level often hinges not just on firm wide performance but that of individual teams, particularly within medium/large organisations.

Law firms must also account for the macro-economic picture when planning for the future and this consideration is domination by the EU referendum and the potential uncertainty of so-called Brexit this year. Uncertainty usually leads to an aversion to taking risks. Allied to this, large firms in the regions have recruited heavily at NQ level over the past couple of years, while also investing in more training contracts for the first time since the great recession.

It is against this background that you are seeking to secure permanent employment in September. Some of you will have a clear indication from your training firms as to the chances of securing NQ position. Others will currently be undertaking internal and external interviews. Some of you will be sure about the discipline they seek to qualify into, others will be less certain. There is no normal – everyone’s circumstances, hopes and aspirations are unique.

Its customary for legal recruitment agencies to offer advice to would be solicitors at this time but in general there is no right and wrong – it really does depend you. We’ve therefore simply composed a list below of 5 things to think about. In our experience, if you carefully consider the below and act accordingly, you’ll greatly improve your own chances or building a rewarding career post September:

  1. Think about what is most important to you in a post qualification role – this could be anything from the type of firm, to culture, type of work, team fit, money, work/life balance, career prospects, potential to secure a secondment within a business, location or an organisation’s CSR Policy! It could be something else. Just work out what is most important.


  1. Having done this also work out where you can show flexibility. Unfortunately, you’ll have to be very lucky to find a role which ticks all of the boxes. Given that, if you can comprise be prepared to. Particularly if you’re looking to qualify into a discipline with fewer roles such as employment or family.


  1. Be passionate. While flexibility can be an advantage in some respects, you could be doing your new role for the next 40 years so you’ve got to love it. And it’s not enough just to love it, you have to be able to demonstrate your passion to would be employers.


  1. Staying in your current firm may or may not be the right answer. It depends on your circumstances and what’s on offer. Don’t dismiss all other options just because your current firm have offered you something. Only do so if what’s on offer works for you.


  1. Prepare thoroughly and properly for any internal or external interviews you undertake. In many respects NQ interviews are a unique experience. They require proper preparation and thought. We have years of experience preparing candidates for this challenge and we are happy to provide as much advice as you require.


For more information on NQ positions and advice for September please contact Paul Warburton – paulwarburton@thinklegalrecruitment.com