There has been a whirlwind of activity in the newly qualified solicitor market over the past few months. From careers seminars and CV writing clinics to meeting with trainee solicitors and ultimately helping them secure their dream jobs all over the UK.
We are now a mere month away from when most of you will complete your training contracts and the good news is that there remain more jobs than NQs! A real sign of the times and the strength of the legal market.
For those of you that have yet to secure an NQ job for September or for those of you that may have accepted a position in haste and now have the niggling feeling that it isn’t the right move for you then do get in touch. We find, that in the main, most candidates underestimate how desirable and sought after they are as NQs. At this stage in your career you remain highly malleable and economically it makes sense for firms to hire you once the cost of your training has already been covered. So, if you feel the job you have accepted isn’t quite right for you, in terms of discipline, firm, salary or perhaps location, then we can certainly help.
Firms are exceptionally flexible in their requirements at the moment. We are frequently seeing candidates that have trained at smaller firms take the step up to larger regional and national/international firms where salaries in the regions are up to £40000 and quality of work, clients and training are exceptional. We are also seeing firms relax their usual academic requirements where good training has been obtained and they can see clear potential. The hands on experience you will have gained at a smaller firm can often set you apart from some of your peers. A commercial approach and business development and client management skills have become of particular importance to firms since the recession. If you can demonstrate skill in this area it will go a long way.
Firms are even recruiting candidates into positions where they don’t have direct experience in the area. This is particularly true in banking, tax, real estate, construction and commercial roles so don’t be put off enquiring about a particular job because you haven’t had a training seat in the area. You’ll be surprised how many transferable skills you will have gained during your training. At many firms, there isn’t the option of certain seats, this is particularly true of banking and tax and firms appreciate and understand this.
Finally, don’t panic if you haven’t secured a job by September. The market is such that we continue to be instructed on NQ positions throughout the year. We are unlikely to have the same volume of NQ jobs later in the year so we’d certainly recommend you getting in touch now, but there will still be options.
If you do find yourself without a job come September then focus on continuing to gain legal experience, whether that be in a paralegal role or even through volunteer work at your local Citizens Advice Bureau or law centre. It will ensure that your CV has no gaps in it and demonstrate to potential employers your determination in pursuing your legal career.
This would of course be a last resort and in all honesty, in the current market, where demand for newly qualified solicitors is outstripping supply, we are confident of being able to help secure jobs for all of our NQ candidates.
For a confidential and in-depth discussion on newly qualified jobs, please contact Angharad Warren at BCL Legal. Whilst Angharad specialises in the placement of solicitors into Birmingham’s leading commercial firms, BCL Legal has a wide network of legal consultants who can help with your job search nationwide.