Experience: Following completion of an undergraduate marketing degree from the University of South Africa, I completed a Professional Diploma through the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM). In addition a further Diploma in digital marke…
Insight & Advice
- Salary Calculator
- Moving as a Partner
- Crucial stages in your career
- Associate pay trends
- Private Client Rediscovered
- Five tips for managing talent
- Opportunities in Australia
- Q&A: BLP HR Director
- Q&A: Memery Crystal
- Q&A: Executive Director Nomura
- Post-recession market
- Q&A: Hill Dickinson Managing Par
Advice: Newly Qualifieds
It is never too early to start planning your career. And, once you’ve formulated a plan, you should revisit it on a regular basis.
We recommend that you follow this timetable:
6-9 months before qualifying
(January-March for September qualifiers and July-September for March qualifiers)
You are in your third seat and it’s time to start thinking about what you want to do when you qualify.
Talk to us now about the practice area(s) that interest you: We will advise you on how you can best position yourself for qualification and beyond.
Some of the questions we are most commonly asked include:
- I may want to go in-house or move regionally/internationally at some stage in the future – will the decision I am taking now impact on this and, if so, what are my choices?
- Are other law firms really any different from the firm where I am now?
- Are the hours really that much longer at a US firm?
- What’s so magic about the Magic Circle?
- What happens if I receive an offer from another firm but decide to stay at my current firm?
- Is this process confidential?
- Can I qualify into an area in which I did not sit as a trainee?
- I am unsure what I want to do – what do you suggest?
- I will probably stay at my current firm but am unsure whether they will offer me the position of my choice – what should I do?
These are just some of the dilemmas you may be facing. We are here to provide the answers and guide you through an important milestone in your career.
The decision you take now could affect the rest of your career. We have many years of experience in working with trainee solicitors to assess their options and find the right way forward for them and their careers.
Write a CV: If you already have one, we provide a personalised CV appraisal service. If you don’t yet have a CV, you should prepare a first draft. We can then work on it together.
4-6 months before qualifying
(March-May for September qualifiers and September-November for March qualifiers) If you have a CV and a clear focus on what you want to achieve, you are already two steps ahead of the many trainees who are just starting to think about what they should do next.
In finding the right role for you, we recommend two approaches:
Consider actual vacancies: Vacancies for newly qualified solicitors tend to start appearing from about six months before qualification. Certain firms have a regular need for newly qualified solicitors in particular areas. We will apply on your behalf for actual vacancies as and when they come through.
Discuss firms of interest: We also take a more pro-active approach and talk to any of our client law firms that may be of interest to you to find out if you might be of interest to them. That does not mean that we send your CV to lots of firms. Instead, we carefully identify a list of suitable firms for you and then speak to our established network of contacts to elicit more options for you. Often this can mean that you can secure a position before it comes onto the market.
2-3 months before qualifying
(June-August for September qualifiers and December-February for March qualifiers)
You will have made applications and be attending interviews. We provide in-depth interview training and can guide you every step of the way. (Please read through our section on interview advice.) Once an offer comes through, we will guide you through the acceptance process.
The final process
Start date: We will, on your behalf, liaise with the firm about start dates. If you want some time off before starting or have pre-booked a holiday, don’t worry – we will sort things out with the firm.
Salary negotiations: There is less room for negotiation of salaries at NQ level, as salaries are set regardless of practice area. We will advise you on the salaries on offer at each law firm.
Keeping in touch: We will stay in touch to see how your new job is going and make sure that promises are being delivered.
Start early: Your ideal role may have already come through and been accepted by someone who was quicker off the mark. Make sure that you are in a position to consider and apply for roles right from the off.
Work in partnership with us: Talk to us about all your plans in detail. And do so as far in advance as possible. The more information we have about your requirements and the sooner we have that information, the better job we can do for you. You can rest assured that everything we discuss is confidential.
Invest some time in preparing a strong CV: When we speak to a firm on your behalf, we will, of course, encourage the firm to interview you. However, at the end of the day, the firm’s decision will come down to whether you come across well on paper.
Prepare fully for an interview: The better prepared you are, the more confident you will be.
Keep control of the process: If you choose to work with other recruiters, make sure they do not send your CV to any firm without your consent. Many lawyers choose to use us exclusively because they know that their process will be handled professionally and appropriately at all times and recognise that we have their best interests at heart. This can also ensure that you get objective advice with one recruiter handling all of your options and you will also get prioritised as an exclusive lawyer. If you do choose to work with a number of agencies, make sure your CV gets sent just once to a firm. Firms will be unimpressed if they receive your CV from numerous sources as this will suggest that you have little control over your own CV.
—Chief executive, City law firm