Angharad Warren
Angharad Warren
Associate Director: Private Practice

Articles From the Team

Which area of law should I qualify into?

When you first decided to pursue a career in law, you probably wouldn’t have thought as far down the line as which specific area of law you wanted to qualify into (as an ex-solicitor I know I didn’t!).  It was probably enough to focus on getting through your degree, (GDL), LPC and securing a highly competitive training contract!  However, as we once again start heading towards March and September 2018 qualification dates (not forgetting all those in between) it’s important to try and focus on what it is you think you will enjoy doing for the rest of your career!  Everything that came before was important but this is the big question about what you see yourself doing for the remainder of your working life (unless of course you move on to career no. 2 at some point!).

The good news is that the market is pretty buoyant in most areas this year so no matter what your preferred area, we should be able to present you with a number of options.

The other important point to mention is that the ‘NQ season’ for us starts earlier and earlier every year so whilst in previous years we may not have started placing September qualifiers into roles until March/April, nowadays this seems to happen from January!  This isn’t the norm but if you aren’t already registered with us then now is the time to do so!

Although not impossible to switch disciplines post qualification, it can be difficult so ideally you want to be making the right choice from the outset.

If you are undecided about which area of law is for you then here are a few points for consideration…

1. What work have you enjoyed the most during your training contract?  This is regardless of which team you got on with the best and where you had the most fun!! Colleagues may change but the work will remain the same so you need to have a genuine interest and passion for it.  You’re also likely to be far more successful in your career if you really love what you’re doing.

2. Where did you get the best appraisals?  Do you have a particular flair for a certain area of law?  Work to your strengths.  You may be a natural litigator or more at home in transactional work.

3. What are your motivators?  You may love corporate work but not the unsociable and often unpredictable hours, particularly is you have a young family or commitments outside of work.  If so, a role within a discipline that can offer a steadier stream of work may be better suited to your lifestyle.

4. Is firm name or work more important to you? For oversubscribed areas you may find that you’ll need to search more widely to secure the right position (we’ll call this your back-up plan).  This may mean a longer commute, relocating or perhaps moving to a smaller firm.  If you are looking to qualify into an area where there are plenty of newly qualified jobs and your aim is to work for a top 50/20 firm then it’s going to be far less competitive in a busy area.  We wouldn’t recommend pursuing a particular discipline just because it’s an easier option but if you are torn between a few different areas then it’s worth bearing in mind.

5. Would you rather stay at your training firm in an area you know you don’t want to qualify into rather than move to a new firm?  After two years (more for many of you with prior paralegal experience at your training firms), you are going to feel comfortable with and understandably loyal to your firm but if your firm can’t offer you a job in the area you want to qualify in to then you should be speaking with us about more suitable options elsewhere.

6. I want to qualify into an area where I don’t have any direct experience!  Talk to us, we regularly help candidates move into areas of law they have no prior experience of – it isn’t impossible, particularly at the NQ level!  Often, you don’t get the seat choices you want but if you can demonstrate a real enthusiasm for an area then we should still be able to explore some options with you.

Here at BCL Legal we have a large team of legal recruitment consultants who can manage your job search no matter what geographical location or discipline you are considering, so for a confidential discussion call us now. 

For more information contact Angharad Warren at BCL Legal.

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