Brighter minds.



Bygott Biggs talk to this year’s NQs…

We recently completed this year’s round of careers talks with the Junior Lawyers groups across the region and as always, it was interesting to hear the issues that were uppermost in the minds of those coming up to qualification.

The JLD members were encouraged by our early data on retention rates and, in most cases, they were feeling optimistic about their chances of being retained. This was the most positive we have seen upcoming NQs since before the recession and is very encouraging.

There was a lot of interest in the opportunities to move in-house which sparked a discussion on the implications of doing so for training and support at this crucial stage of development. The delegates were also keen to learn what areas of law are typically dealt with in-house and some were surprised to learn that the focus is generally on commercial contracts.

As they embark upon either an internal or external application process Trainees were keen to know how the interview process would unfold and what (if any) were the typical questions asked at interview. One of the key points to come out of this was that interviews don’t just delve into legal technical expertise but also form a personality profile to assess team fit and softer skills such as networking and business development.

There were the ever popular questions about salaries and also the query as to whether there is any scope for negotiation of salary at NQ level. We explained that firms spend a lot of time benchmarking their salaries and that any deviation from the set NQ salary has firm wide implications, especially further up the pay scale. Hence, firms are highly unlikely to negotiate individually at this level.

There was a discussion on timescales and when the NQ jobs tend to be released. We explained that traditionally jobs start to be released around Easter but that this year we had seen a noticeable increase in the number of NQ jobs available earlier. We have already placed a number of NQs in to roles for this September.

We discussed which practice areas were in demand and what Trainees should be giving consideration to, particularly if they were keen to qualify into an area where there was not as much demand. Corporate and Real Estate are so far proving to be the areas in the highest demand with commercial firms, but Private Client is also showing a fairly consistent degree of interest from firms of all sizes.

Finally, the team held an informal CV clinic which allowed members the opportunity to brush up their CVs with feedback being very positive that this would be beneficial for both the internal or external NQ application process.

If you’re approaching qualification this year and would like to discuss any of the points above or even, take look at the opportunities that might be available for you please do not hesitate to get in touch with David Mayfield or Richard Betts.

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