Juliet Lawson
Juliet Lawson
Senior Associate: Private Practice

Articles From the Team

Signs of a strong Yorkshire NQ market in 2017

Well, the UK government may have just triggered Article 50 but there are already signs of a strong NQ market in Yorkshire this year.

Last summer I spoke to so many trainees who were infuriated and anxious about the impact of the Brexit vote on the junior legal market. Were firms going to completely pull up their drawbridges and put a total freeze on recruitment, sit it out and wait to see what the real impact is going to be, hoping to be able to hold onto their existing talent? ‘It was bad enough trying to find a training contract in the wake of the global crash in the first place without now having to deal with a total stagnation in the market when it comes to NQ roles’ was the quite real fear.

As recruiters we were worried that firms who had already signed up September qualifiers might feel forced to pull the offers but it didn’t happen, at least not in commercial disciplines, and very little in other disciplines, and the NQ roles kept coming.

It would be foolish to think that there’s no caution whatsoever in the market but in reality, so far, there’s been very little impact in relation to the number of roles across the board, not just at NQ level, being released.

From mid-March onwards, we have already been seeing NQ roles for September qualifiers being released across a number of practice areas including property litigation, corporate, commercial, construction, employment and commercial litigation, and that’s still very early in the ‘season’.

Some practice areas as ever seem to be more popular than others, and will be more competitive. A lot of NQs are looking for general commercial and commercial litigation; fewer candidates are looking for corporate or property litigation.

The message is clear across the board – think widely on roles, look at the mid tiers, especially in the popular areas, even if you’re coming from a top tier; in a growing market like Leeds you will be able to move back up a couple of years down the line having gained some solid experience and often higher levels of responsibility on matters than you might get with the top tiers.

Consider associated areas – for example think property litigation in a good firm if commercial litigation roles are thin on the ground, get 12 months under your belt and then think about revisiting the market.

Consider compromising on location to get the practice area you really want. It’s not forever and it will give you the right platform for your career.

And unless you’re already guaranteed the perfect role in your current firm, consider your external options in parallel with the internal process to ensure that you don’t miss the boat on roles in your chosen practice area.

The run-up to qualification is a challenging time in your career. You’re juggling trying to cram in as much good experience as you can for your CV with the whole internal / external role conundrum and sometimes multiple interview processes that may not all come together at the same time, but we’re here to help you navigate your way through.

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