Qualifying as a NQ Solicitor in 2022? Find out what to do next!

Qualifying as a NQ Solicitor in 2022? Find out what to do next!

You completed the LLB, obtained your Diploma in Legal Practice, and are now on the cusp of finishing your Traineeship- it’s a very exciting time!

Understandably, individuals have many questions about how their career will progress as their training contract comes to an end;

  • What practice area do I want to undertake?
  • What other opportunities may be out there for an NQ solicitor?
  • Will I stay with my current firm?
  • What is expected of me when I qualify?

So, when you reach this point as a trainee, it can be easy not to take a step back, consider your options and begin to assess the type of culture, practice area and career path you are keen to undertake.

What do you need to be thinking about right now?

Below is a brief guide on the main things all Trainee NQ solicitors need to consider as they approach this crucial qualification time.

1. Should I Stay or Should I Go?

When considering your options, an important starting point is to reflect upon if you want to remain at your current firm. For some, it can be a reasonably straightforward yes/no outcome; however, if you are questioning this, below are a few points which to consider:

  • Is there a genuine and viable option to explore an NQ role in your desired practice area with your current firm? – you will have an idea of the preferred practice areas you want to specialise within on completing your Traineeship. It does not necessarily mean it will solely be the practice area you pursue your entire career; however, it is essential to assess if this would be a real possibility with your current firm.
  • Can I genuinely develop and progress my career at my existing firm? – a good barometer to use is those of your colleagues at the firm; has the firm genuinely invested in developing, retaining, and progressing their careers or does there seem to be an element of career stagnation?
  • Traineeship gratitude or misplaced loyalty? Without a doubt, all Trainee solicitors will be grateful for the opportunity to train with a firm; this does not necessarily mean you should accept an NQ opportunity with your training firm. When considering this aspect, it is best remain objective to your career goals aspirations and assess these against NQ opportunities in the broader sense.
  • When should I begin to consider my options? Each firm has different timescales for releasing and engaging their trainees for NQ positions. If you wait to hear what happens at your firm, you may miss out on other external opportunities.
  • What is my most significant driver for securing an NQ position? We have supported trainee Solicitors since 1998 & without doubt, each motivation for exploring an NQ opportunity is  always driven by many important factors. If you consider any avenue (be it internally or externally), it is important to have defined parameters before considering your options.

2. Partnering with a Legal Recruitment specialist

For most soon-to-be NQ Solicitors, partnering with a specialist legal recruiter will be a very new experience. FPSG do not have a one size fits all approach; as a respected and established legal recruitment specialist, we have a successful track record of partnering with Trainee Solicitors to achieve the following:

  • Guidance and extensive support throughout the entire recruitment process; from initial discussion, CV formatting, interview preparation, salary negotiations, on-boarding & post-start aftercare.
  • Utilise our client partnerships in Scotland, London & Offshore legal markets: FPSG have many excellent client relationships with boutique firms, regional firms, and internal law firms across a variety of practice areas.
  • Offer in-depth advice: You may have already received an offer for an NQ position at your current firm; we are on hand to guide you on this to offer insight to the market externally. It may lead to discovering a firm that may provide a better-suited opportunity for your career needs. Loyalty is a great thing and commendable at this stage of your career, but it is vital to ensure you are considering your long-term prospects.

3. Assemble Your Trusted Counsel

When you have set your mind on exploring a new career opportunity, it is best to discuss this with those closest to you early on in the process, either before or after an initial discussion. Be it your most trusted peers, industry contacts, friends, or family members. In essence, you want to have what is often described as your board of directors to provide you with the necessary guidance on becoming an NQ solicitor.

How can we help you?

At FPSG, we have over 15 years’ expertise as Legal Recruitment specialists, focused on building long-term relationships to understand the goals and crucially needs for clients and candidates. We don’t believe in a one-size-fits-all approach. We will work with you in the strictest of confidence to explore the above aspects further, understand your expertise and identify who we believe would best align with your career goals.

For a confidential discussion, please get in touch with our specialist legal recruitment specialists Allana Logan or Hugh Hardie on 0141 270 5000 or legal@fpsg.com.