In our experience often the same questions and concerns are of relevance to second year trainees and NQ lawyers across the board. We have selected a few of the issues most frequently raised, and have tried to provide pragmatic and practical responses to them - of course, many of the issues may already have been covered elsewhere on this website.
Q: When do I need to start making applications? / Is it too early for me to be speaking to an agency?
A: There is no hard and fast answer to this one. Have a look at our NQ Process and TImeline pages. It is worth repeating here that every firm sets its own recruitment plan each year and will take into consideration the vagaries of the market before beginning its NQ recruitment drive.
Q: This is the first time I have used an agency. How does it work and should I register with a few agencies?
A: At Frasia Wright Associates we take pride in our professional integrity and confidentiality, which are the cornerstones of our approach to recruitment. For practical guidance, our NQ Process and Timeline pages will provide you with more detailed information. It is important to state also, that as a candidate you will not be required to pay for our services and any assistance we provide you with will be provided free of charge.
When considering how many agencies you should register with, it is crucial that you ensure that you are in control of where your CV is being sent and that you manage the process. The last thing you want is to be branded a time-waster because your CV is being sent by any number of agencies to the same firms. Our recommendation is that you use no more than two agencies at any given time, and that you keep a careful record of who is doing what and when on your behalf.
Q: I have been told that the big firms prefer to advertise their NQ vacancies in-house. I would like to work with a big firm so should I apply directly to them?
A: The answer to this question is really time dependent. However, in the current market it is unlikely that firms will even know what their external needs will be until the end of the first or second quarter of this year.
Even if you do decide to apply directly, there is certainly nothing to be lost by contacting us early in the process in order for you to benefit from our specialist services - CV and interview preparation - and knowledge of the market and prevailing trends. Our NQ Outlook™ consultants will be happy to provide you with what ever assistance they can to ensure that you receive the right offer for you at the right time.
Q: My firm has offered me a post in commercial property, but I really want to move into litigation and there are no NQ posts available in litigation. If I am unable to secure a litigation post elsewhere, then I would like to take up my firm's commercial property offer. My question is how do I manage the timing of this as my firm needs a response as to my decision within the next month?
A: Once again, the answer to this question depends on timing. Most NQ litigation posts, year on year, seem to appear from March onwards, and there is usually a lot of competition for them. Bear in mind, however, that a candidate who trains and stays on with the same firm will become far more marketable nine months to a year after qualifying, and more attractive to other firms. This is so even when, as in this case, such a candidate wishes to move from commercial property to litigation, as long as he or she can demonstrate the appropriate commitment and desire to move to litigation.
Q: If I take in-house positions straight after qualifying, will I have the flexibility to move back into professional practice later in my career?
A: While it may prove a little more difficult for a candidate to move from an in-house role to professional practice, it is certainly possible and can be achieved if managed and motivated correctly. This is particularly so given that as in-house legal departments are increasing in size and not outsourcing as much to external counsel, more and more in-house roles are becoming specialised to cope with the needs of the organisations.