Becoming an NQ solicitor is an exciting time, it can also feel a bit scary. You may not be sure what’s next for you. Whether you’re feeling positive or unsure, here’s some things to consider about what’s next for you…
Thinking about staying at your current firm?
If you’re happy in your current firm and hoping to stay on post qualification, it’s a good idea to chat this through with your current employers.
- Make it clear that you’ve enjoyed your time there up to now and that you would like the opportunity to stay and continue your career within the firm.
If your employers are aware that you would like to continue your career within the firm, they will be able to give you a lay of the land. They might have an opening for you as a qualified solicitor or they will be able to plan ahead to make room for you. It’s important to keep communication around this as clear as possible, so that you will know where you stand.
- This doesn’t mean that you’ll get a job in your preferred department, or that your current employers will have the capacity to keep you on.
If there is a position available for you, it might not be in your preferred department. You should consider which departments you would be happy to work in and whether this aligns with your career goals. It’s possible that your firm won’t be able to keep you on – if this is the case, it is better to know!
- Be prepared for the potential need for a back up plan!
Whether it’s an alternate area of law that you’d be happy with, or making the move to a different firm – you should be prepared with a back up plan. Mostly importantly, your back up plan should be something that you’re happy with, not something you’re settling on. This is your career – so make sure that it works best for you!
Ready to move on?
You might be considering moving to a new firm upon qualification. This could be your own decision, or you may be in this position due to a lack of opportunities at your current firm. Regardless of the circumstances, there are a few things that you can do to help make this transition a bit easier…
Think about your experience
Your experience can be a guiding factor in this decision. What are you good at? Where do your strengths lie? Chat through your options with a trusted individual. This could be a colleague, mentor or recruiter. Having an understanding of your experience and talking it through will help you to make an informed decision.
Consider where, geographically, you would be happy to work. If you don’t mind commuting, decide on how far you’re willing to travel. Also think about relocation – would you move to a new town or city for your ideal job? It might be a good time to move back home, in with a partner or closer to friends.
What’s your type? (of firm!)
Decide what type of firm you’d like to move to. You might like the idea of moving to a smaller, boutique firm if you were part of a large firm – or vice versa. During training, you will have had exposure to a certain type of firm and discovered that you love it – or not! Qualification is a great time to try out a different way of working.
Just for now…
Look at temporary job options – would you consider working on a fixed term contract for a while? Temporary contracts are a great way to get exposure and experience to your preferred area of law. Sometimes they lead to permanent opportunities, too! This might be a good route to go if you’re unsure of what you want in the long term.
Taking an alternate path?
Some people find that after qualification, they want to reassess and discover new opportunities. If you feel disengaged from the legal profession, or simply want to use your skills elsewhere – this is a great time to take stock and rethink.
If you decide to stay within the legal profession, but want to consider moving away from traditional fee earning roles – why not check out our blog on career options for solicitors? There are plenty of options to explore like supervisory, operational or business development roles!
Be conscious that it may be difficult to rejoin the profession at a later date if you decide to take a completely different path. Making a decision like this should be well thought through!
P.S. a career in legal recruitment is a popular choice for those deciding to leave the legal industry!