Joe Blackburn
Joe Blackburn
Associate

Articles From the Team

I’m a trainee solicitor about to qualify, what do I do?

It’s well and truly that time of year once again – trainees across the North-West are approaching decision time. Internal processes are in full swing, and many soon-to-be NQs are facing up to the fact they need to express interest further afield i.e. other than the place they’ve spent the last couple of years.

The good news

If this is you, my first piece of advice is: don’t worry. The legal market is the most buoyant it’s been in some time. There are far more jobs than candidates across almost all disciplines, and there are many opportunities for NQs across the market.

BCL’s March NQ talk

I thought I’d summarise a few key takeaways from the NQ talk, which was held by BCL Legal in March. The event’s key-speakers – to guide attendees through the NQ process – were Tom Bridgford (Partner at Eversheds), Colette Withey (Director at EY) and Joy Kingsley (Senior Partner at JMW). 

1. It’s your future, what do you want?

It’s daunting leaving a firm you’ve worked at for two years. Not only are you comfortable, it involves starting again; you enter a new firm with a new culture yet you don’t bring the reputation you’ve built. Above all else, the main thing you need to think about is your future. If you know what you want to satisfy your career ambitions, and your current firm can’t offer it, you owe it to yourself to look elsewhere.

2. Two-page CV?

Another piece of valuable advice was centred on CV writing. You don’t need to stick to the old-school rule of a 2-page CV. Make sure it’s detailed and focussed, containing specific examples of the work you’ve done. Blow your own trumpet rather than your department/firm’s trumpet! For example, specifically mention what you did on the deal, rather than what the team did.

3. Exploration

 If possible, pick a couple of practice areas you’d like to explore. Nobody can guarantee there’ll be the right amount of jobs to meet NQ preferences. If you apply to two areas, you’ll improve your chances of securing the job you want. However, we observe movement between practice areas further down the line, so don’t think this decision is going to stay with you for life. Colette Withey (Director at EY) moved from real estate to commercial and was keen to stress that skills are transferable.

As internal processes come to an end, we anticipate an extremely busy time across the market. With that in mind, if you’re about to qualify, and there’s no job for you where you are, or maybe you fancy finding out what’s out there, we have NQ vacancies across all practice areas. If you want to find out more, come in for a coffee and we’ll tell all about the current market.

For more information contact Joe Blackburn at BCL Legal.

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