Articles From the Team

Qualification quandaries?

Summer is fast approaching (well despite this weeks crazy weather – snow in April?!) and for many that means planning holidays, BBQs, Sunday afternoons in the park - all very lovely indeed. For those of us in legal recruitment it is also NQ season!

If you are a trainee solicitor qualifying in September congratulations! You are nearly there, all the hard work and years of studying have paid off and you will finally be able to call yourself a qualified solicitor. I remember it being a bit of an odd feeling – a mixture of excitement and nerves, that first day as an NQ and wondering whether it would feel different. Helpfully being told by my senior colleague that the main real difference meant that I stuffed things up I could now be sued – cheers for that!

Fingers crossed you are sitting pretty, you really like the firm you have trained at, they have a space in the department you want to qualify into and you are the only person in your intake who has applied for that vacancy – job done….

In reality this is not the case for most – the area you want to qualify into is oversubscribed, you didn’t get a chance to do a seat in the area you think you want to work in, the firm are only keeping on 5 trainees and there are 8 of you. So what should you do? How can we help?

As specialist legal recruiters, we pride ourselves on being in the know when it comes to NQ season and have been carefully monitoring the progress of the firms in Birmingham so we can offer you informed and hopefully useful advice! As we approach May, you should have already found out what vacancies there will be in your firm come September and are in the process of interviewing for a vacancy that you want. Albeit we know that each firm is different and operates on different timescales – so if that is not the case for you please don’t panic!

Our team in Birmingham speaks to September NQs and our contacts at all the firms on a daily basis and so consider that we are up to speed on what is going on and have a pretty good understanding of where external vacancies might appear once the firm complete their internal recruitment in the coming weeks.

The best advice I can give at the moment is that if you don’t think you will be staying at your current firm, for whatever reason, now is the time to get prepared! When was the last time you updated your CV or went for an interview? Probably when you applied for a training contract? A lot has happened since then! Think about all the legal experience you have had and how much you have achieved. So if you haven’t already, dig out that CV and get down all that info (if you need inspiration check out the careers advice section on our website which even has a proforma document or better still pick up the phone and give me or one of my colleagues in the Birmingham team a call for a confidential chat about your situation. Having been through the process myself I would be happy to help you and make it as stress free as possible.

I specialise in placing lawyers into Birmingham's leading commercial firms. Please feel free to call me on 0121 237 5611 or email me at to discuss new roles.

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