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NQ’s choices…choices…. make the right choices…. So what choice should I make?

As a newly qualified solicitor, emphasis is certainly made on you choosing the right firm to start your legal career with. Do you stay with your training firm or seek other options out there? It is equally important to choose the right discipline that you wish to qualify into. You are at the beginning of your legal career and the choices you make at the point of qualification can have an impact of the rest of your career.

During your training contract you benefit from experiencing a broad range of disciplines in key areas. You are able to rotate through different areas of law gaining experience without much certainty of where you will end up upon qualification. Often you will have the SRA’s traditional four-seat structure mixing ¬contentious and non-contentious work. When I speak to trainees who are coming up to qualification most have a good idea of the seat they want to qualify into, which tends to be ‘the one they enjoyed the most’.
It is important that given the option, you are able to qualify into the discipline you wish to continue your legal career in as it becomes more difficult to transfer your career into other areas of law the longer you stay within that discipline.

I speak from personal experience. When I qualified as a Solicitor, the market was at a low and there were not the option on offer for trainees as there is now. I am currently recruiting for newly qualified positions in commercial property, commercial, construction, corporate and litigation roles across the East, West and South Midlands including East Anglia. The market is extremely buoyant and newly qualified solicitors are very much in demand.

Personally, during my training I enjoyed the civil litigation side of personal injury. However, I qualified into employment law and the majority of my work split covered non contentious matters and advisory work. The aspects I enjoyed the most during my training were the advocacy, county court litigation and the highly paced mixture of fast and multi track files. At the time I qualified I was pleased to have the security of a legal job upon qualification and did not consider the option of looking at other firms. I liked the firm I trained with, I was familiar with the work and liked the people I worked with. I think it is important to think outside the box, and consider other options and ask yourself the question, what area of law would I want to be practising in five years time? As this is your opportunity to consider your choices now.

It is not impossible to move from areas of discipline, particularly if they have connection such as commercial property and construction, however to get yourself off to a good start, think about what discipline you enjoyed the most during your training seats and most importantly ask yourself the question; “why did I enjoy that aspect?”

Maybe your firm are able to offer you a NQ role in the seat you want, great! It may be your training firm have another position available but not in the area you wish to qualify into. You may need that job on qualification or want to remain with the firm you trained with. There is always the option to consider moving as an NQ to another firm that can offer you that discipline and training in the specialism you desire. All very important questions you need to consider ensuring you keep yourself safe in securing, not just the NQ job, but the legal career that you will enjoy and therefore thrive on.

To discuss the career options best for you, please contact Victoria Noble or visit our website BCL Legal.

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