The Qualification Season: Frequently Asked Questions, Part 2

May 18, 2015

As part of “The Qualification Season” – a series of blogs by CapeClarke aimed at trainee solicitors looking to qualify in September 2015 – we will give a brief overview of the market conditions affecting many of the core legal disciplines that trainee solicitors look to qualify into.

We will now conclude the frequently asked questions we face from trainees.

8.  How do I control the process of finding a role in September 2015?

Start as soon as you can!  Roles may not appear for some months, but contact us – we can register you, then help get your CV into an order that can be submitted for positions as and when they arise and we can also discuss a more proactive approach to make certain firms aware of your availability.  It is all about communication and making sure we co-ordinate your applications to various firms appropriately.

9.  What are the chances of a temporary / locum / paralegal role on qualification?

Some firms are offering their trainee solicitors the chance to stay with them as paralegals.  Very rarely, will firms offer other NQs a paralegal role as they are aware they will leave as soon as they secure a qualified solicitor position.  If you have no offers on the table, it is worth taking the paralegal role as it is additional experience working in the law and by the time next year’s NQ solicitor roles come around, you will have 12 months more experience than other applicants. That said, if you take a paralegal role, do not halt the search for a qualified solicitor role in the hope your firm will make you a NQ offer.

10.  How will it affect my CV if I go travelling?

Most firms do not have a negative view on travelling – after all, it makes you “a well-rounded person”” – and if you can afford to go and have not been offered a NQ solicitor position, take the opportunity of a career break (it may not happen again!).  We can always be in contact with you while you are abroad and still make applications on your behalf.

11.  When will firms make their decisions about September 2015?

It depends on the firm but is usually any time from April all the way through to September / October – that said, we placed our first NQ in March last year!  We would advise that you do not wait and see if your firm offer you a role if they are leaving the decision until very late, so that you do not miss out on good opportunities in the meantime.

12.  When should I start looking?

Get the ball rolling now!  We can make sure that your CV is in the condition that will sell you best to a firm, as well as discussing any options in the market.  Even if the NQ market does not move for a short time, at least you will be in a position to apply for interesting roles as and when they arise, rather than having to make hasty amendments to your CV at the last minute!

13.  Should I use an agency?

No surprise to hear that we would extol the benefits of using a recruitment consultant!  What we can offer is tailored advice on your CV and a multitude of contacts across Yorkshire and the North West.  We know where the vacancies are as soon as they are offered externally and we can manage the application process so that you are making yourself stand out to the recruiting partners.  We will also be able to advise where a targeted approach may be worth making and where your personality and skill-set will be best matched.


If you would like to discuss this blog, have been thinking about a move or would just like some general advice about options in the market, please feel free to contact Terry Cape or Chris Clarke on 0113 2385965.

CapeClarke is a leading niche legal recruitment consultancy operating across Leeds, Manchester, Sheffield, Newcastle 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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