Early Qualifiers 2017 Tis the Season to get ready

November 24, 2016

The Christmas lights are already up, Slade is playing on repeat in shops and the snow has already made its first seasonal appearance. Winter is coming, certainly, but that is not all for a number of solicitors qualifying in 2017, Qualification is just around the corner and fast approaching too.

The end of the calendar year is often a crucial time for March/April qualifiers and, here at CapeClarke, we have already advised numerous soon-to-be NQs who have their eye on the very near future. Below, we look at four commonly asked questions and give our view on each.

  • Will I be at a disadvantage in my search for an external role, as an early qualifier?

We hear this question very often. The assumption is that since the majority of NQ solicitors qualify in September, there will be more jobs then than there will be in spring. Whilst, on the face of it, this may be true, it is also worth noting that there are far fewer trainees qualifying in the Spring. The end of Q1 / beginning of Q2 of each calendar year is typically a busy, buoyant time in the legal market and, as an early qualifier, you will be able to take advantage of this in your search.

  • I am keen to consider external opportunities but haven’t found any suitable roles in my preferred area of law. Should I accept an NQ position in a different area with my current firm?

We often hear this question from early qualifiers looking to specialise in very niche, specific areas such as pensions, corporate tax or even intellectual property. In the unlikely event that the external market cannot present you with a suitable role in your preferred area of law, we would advise you to accept a newly qualified role with your current firm. You will still be considered a junior enough come September 2016 to move into your desired area but will also have some qualified experience under your belt, which will help to distinguish you from the rest of the NQ market.

  • It’s late 2016 is it too early to apply for external NQ roles?

No! On the contrary, most firms will take into account and work on the basis of a 3 month notice period when setting out to recruit junior roles (NQ-3PQE). If you are qualifying in early spring 2017 and are interested in an external junior role, late 2016 is in fact an ideal time to get your CV together and start thinking about qualification.

  • It’s late 2016 and I’ve decided to buy my Christmas presents online this year. Which online retailer should I go with?

We are afraid that this question strays too far outside our area of expertise, so we couldnt possibly begin to answer it (definitely Amazon).


If you have been thinking about a move or would just like some general advice about options in the market, please feel free to contact one of our dedicated consultants on 0113 2385965 or 0161 3000750.

CapeClarke is a leading niche legal recruitment consultancy operating across Leeds, Manchester, Sheffield, Newcastle, Liverpool and London. Please feel free to check out our priority legal vacancies by clicking here.  Please note these legal vacancies are only a small selection of those we have been instructed on, so please get in touch if you do not see a role which looks suitable.

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