Articles From the Team

The next step – stick, twist or no choice?

The rat race is over, you’ve finished your education, you’ve got your training, you’re coming up to completing it…the hallowed turf is within touching distance…..but is it?

You are faced with another big decision – have you secured a NQ role, in a discipline you want, with your training firm? Are there no roles in the area you want but you want to stay out of loyalty? Is it time to move on? Do you not have a choice?

Some people have it easy when it comes to being a NQ but if you don’t, you must remember that as well as well as choosing the right firm, it is equally important to choose the right discipline. You are at the starting point of your legal career and the choices you make will have an impact of the rest of your career.

If you were lucky to do a rotational training contract you will have experienced a broad range of disciplines in key areas. You rotate through different areas of law, where the first 6 weeks of each seat you learn the ropes, the next 12-14 weeks you build your confidence and become quite useful and the remainder of your time you worry about your next seat and wind down to the point where in your last week you’ve not got much left to do.

Often you will have had the SRA’s traditional four-seat split mixing contentious with non-contentious and most NQs have a good idea of the seat they want to qualify into, usually their most enjoyable.

The choice you make is very important as you’ll likely spend the rest of your career there, so make sure you give it some serious thought. It is not impossible to change later on in life but it can be complicated and usually results in a (big) drop in salary.

I speak from experience as when I qualified as a Solicitor I pretty much had to go where the jobs dictated, deep down I knew it wasn’t the right decision but ploughed on regardless.

But now sitting on the other side, my advice would be – do not take what you’re offered if you know it isn’t right for the long-term!

Maybe your firm can offer you a NQ role in the seat you want, great! Maybe your firm have another position available but not in the area you wish to qualify into but don’t accept for fear of not having a job come September.

Of course, 99% of us need that job on qualification or, as mentioned above, you want to remain with the firm you trained with out of blind loyalty < not the right reason to stay!

There is always the option to consider moving as an NQ, to somewhere you will not always be seen as “the trainee,” or to another firm that can offer you that discipline and training in the specialism you desire.

You have lots to think about and things you need to consider keeping yourself in a job, but you also want to have a legal career you will enjoy and therefore thrive on.

Please do get in touch if you want to discuss NQ roles/ options and the next step!

To the next step!

For more information contact BCL Legal or email us at

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