Jessica Holt
Jessica Holt
Associate: Private Practice

Articles From the Team

I don’t qualify until March – when should I start exploring my options?

This is a question many March NQs are asking themselves.

No doubt you’ve seen friends or colleagues go through the qualification process in September. Maybe you’ve just moved into your final seat; perhaps a newly qualified solicitor has just joined your existing firm from elsewhere and “taken” your dream job.

Firstly, it’s never too early to start thinking about your options. Over the past two weeks, I’ve spoken to a number of March qualifiers who believe there’s no point exploring the market until the New Year because qualification feels so far away.

This year’s NQ market moved so quickly: firms were making offers to September qualifiers as early as February/March, so job offers for March qualifiers can start as early as October, making November the perfect time to start if you haven't already done so.

Essential considerations

Make sure you’re clear on the NQ process at your current firm. If you don’t already know, it’s completely reasonable to start asking about it. Explore the options with your current firm as early as you can so you know whether to explore elsewhere.

If you decide you want to move on from your training firm, make sure you’re prepared. You don’t want to miss the boat.

  1. Practice area. Which area do you want to qualify into? It’s always good to keep a relatively open mind on this. If you’ve enjoyed a couple of your seats and see yourself practising in a number of areas – tell your recruiter. There’s no issue in applying for jobs over a couple of practice areas.
  2. CV. Start collating this now. The last thing you want is to hear about your perfect job but not be in a position to apply for it because you haven’t yet put your CV together. Try not to be too generic when detailing your experience - if you want to qualify into corporate, provide details/values of any deals you’ve worked on. If you want to qualify into real estate, detail any transactions. The same applies to all practice areas.
  3. The firm. Again, try and keep an open mind on this. It’s impossible to understand a team and have a clear picture of them until you’ve actually met them. Don’t discount a firm because you heard something negative from a friend of a friend of a friend.

If you’re a final seat trainee approaching qualification in March or April and want to have a confidential chat, get in touch today.

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