Articles From the Team

Qualification comes early this year

Tonight, BCL Legal are hosting a career talk at their Manchester offices on Deansgate. The evening has attracted considerable interest, with many trainee solicitors signed up to hear experienced consultants give tailored advice on the current market conditions and process leading up to qualification. The talk should be thought provoking, particularly given the changing legal landscape in Manchester over the last year, and vast array of options now available to newly qualified solicitors.

On approaching qualification, as a trainee solicitor you will take into account a number of factors when deciding on your perfect newly qualified role. Historically many newly qualified solicitors have opted to stay at the firm at which they trained, being familiar with the firm, the culture and surroundings to ease them into their new role as a solicitor. However, this year seems different. The legal market is undoubtedly much busier for one, transactional work in particular is booming and we are already seeing firms interview trainees for start dates in August/September, simply to snap up the best talent in the market early.

This means if you are looking for a new position you need to prepare now – many firms can already identify gaps in their teams, which means you need to act early to beat the rush. There are huge opportunities available too for trainees from smaller firms looking for a step up. Given the upturn in property work, if you have commercial property experience from a small local firm, good academics and the ambition to take a step up there will be opportunities available. We have recently assisted two candidates move from local high street practices to commercial property teams in national firms, giving them career changing opportunities both in terms of the quality of work on offer and increase in salary and earning potential.

Manchester is very much open for business, and it’s not just the traditional law firms that are busy. Accountants KMPG and PwC last year established corporate legal teams in Manchester, offering quality corporate M&A and restructuring work, but in a quasi in-house environment offering new opportunities to corporate lawyers of all levels. They look set to broaden their remit to other practice areas in the near future. We also read this month that Freshfields will become the latest law firm to establish a base in Manchester. They are understood to be looking to find a 100,000 sq ft site in the city, following in the footsteps of Berwin Leighton Paisner who opened in June and Latham & Watkins who announced in January that it will open a business services office in Manchester during the first half of 2015.

The advice therefore is don’t be led into accepting a role internally simply because it seems the easiest thing to do. There are a wide range of firms and options in Manchester, so shop around and make sure you choose the right role for you – this is a huge decision that will impact your career long term after all. Seek advice from us early and consider your options, in a market this strong there may well be something better out there for you.

For more information on our career talk this evening, or to contact a consultant at BCL Legal, please contact us or call 0845 241 0933.

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