In a fast moving recruitment market, you need an edge..
As a Trainee Solicitor, you will be looking to secure a role within a firm which is best suited to your chosen specialism, and with the Newly Qualified Solicitor market being notoriously challenging, changeable, and sometimes downright frustrating(!), you will need to choose the right recruitment partner to help give you the edge over your competition and guide you through this process.
We understand that this is likely to be your first experience with a legal recruitment consultant, so we are here to ensure it’s a good one. As we see things, the Newly Qualified Solicitors of today, are our clients of tomorrow.
Typically, most law firms will assess their Newly Qualified Solicitor requirements around April-June time for September qualifiers, and November-December time for March qualifiers.
Given that not everyone is working to the same timescales, and that both law firms and Trainees will be considering multiple internal and external options, the market can become very changeable as both parties ‘hedge their bets’. Whilst you aren’t in control of the number of roles available to you, or the competition you face from other Trainees, there are things you can do to increase your chances of finding the perfect role.
The starting point is to partner with a legal recruitment consultant sometime around the start of your final training seat. Someone who can keep you appraised of live and upcoming options in the market, and advise on the most effective and professional way to handle your applications.
One common concern most Trainee Solicitors raise relates to how their details are being handled. Whilst you will want to know about all opportunities which fit your search criteria, you don’t want your details being sent to a firm without your consent; perhaps en-mass to the entire market, or multiple times to the same firm –unfortunate practices commonly used by target-driven agencies.
Rest assured that Six Degrees Legal will help manage this important stage in your career accurately, and with integrity.
Back in 2010/11 when many of today’s second year Trainee Solicitors secured their training contracts, the legal market wasn’t in great shape,
reflecting the wider economy. Training contracts fell off a cliff, with most Graduates just being grateful of securing a contract with any firm they could.
Fast-forward to 2015. The economy continues to gain traction, which, coupled with the fact that law firms are very light at the junior Associate level, has created an interesting climate for this year’s newly qualifieds.
Starting from a weak position 4 years ago, the balance of power has now shifted, as Law firms focus their attention at the more junior end of the
market when they look to recruit.
As an upcoming or recently qualified Solicitor, you are now not only able to ask some interesting questions of your current position, but also do something about it.
Questions such as –how have I been treated throughout my contract? Am I happy to continue in this working environment and with these people? Can the firm offer me the specialism, breadth of work, or sector focus I am looking for? How have they weathered the recession, and are they
embracing the changing legal landscape? Do I feel they can future-proof my career..?
An interesting mix of factors is in play for this year’s intake.
With an increasing number of big firms looking to the smaller regionals to feed their growth –something almost unheard of 10 years ago- it’s
tempting for even the happiest of trainees to explore their options..
The run up to qualification is traditionally a time when Trainee Solicitors feel better equipped to set the direction of the early stages of their career as a Solicitor -you now know your preferred practice areas, and have a better feel for things in terms of working environment.
Improving market conditions also means that options with law firms that weren’t necessarily available when applying for training contracts, now have more openings available.
The options can be many and varied, and really depend on what practice areas, locations, and types of law firms you’d like to consider, against what the market has to offer someone with your experience.
Some Trainee Solicitors might have tired of the relentless nature of the big firm environment and want to look for a better work/life balance in a smaller firm. Others will feel ambitious and ready to make that step up to the big firm they missed out on a training contract with; whereas some would simply like to make a fairly lateral move so long as it allows the development of their chosen specialism.
Location can also play an important part, so it’s important that you seriously consider where you could realistically relocate to for the right role. Wherever possible, law firms as well as Trainees would prefer to stick to the local talent pool; but where a location is involved, it is important you can say you have either got roots to the area (friends or family), or be able to demonstrate a very good reason for moving.
The Newly Qualified market can be fast paced and very fluid. It is essentially made up of Trainee Solicitors who are considering options with their training firms, as well as making external applications; and law firms who are considering their current Trainee Solicitors, as well as taking external applications. Everyone is hedging their bets; people change their minds, and things can change in the ‘chain’ you sit within at any moment!
It is therefore important that you go into the recruitment process forewarned, forearmed, and with your mind open to at least two different practice areas, and ideally two different locations.
You’re a Trainee Solicitor. You have made dozens of applications thus far during your academic and professional career. You should by now know how to draft a document.
However, it’s still surprising how many ‘less than perfect’ CV’s recruiters get through, so it’s worth offering a few pointers on what should be included in your professional CV.
Personal Information -at the top of the CV and should include name, location/address and contact details.
Education -starting with the most recent and working back. Name the school, college and University, followed by each subject and grade. There is no point trying to hide poor results as this will only raise suspicions.
Experience –as a Trainee Solicitor, you may be limited to the experience you have accrued during your various Seats. You should clearly separate the Seats undertaken, starting with the most recent, and providing the dates and length for each. It is advisable to write a brief sentence to describe the Seat and department, and follow this with some bullet-points on the type of work you handled with some autonomy; the more complex work you assisted on / gained exposure to, and some information on the kind of sector clients you dealt with during the Seat. The information should be clear and concise and easy to read at a glance.
Any previous work experience should be detailed in a similar format, going into a good amount of detail if it is legal experience you gained prior to training, and providing a very brief overview if not.
Your recruitment consultant will run through your CV, and ask relevant questions to glean further information for anything we feel is missing from your CV, so that we can tailor it specifically for the vacancy we’re applying for.
As with any great product or service, we are confident you will want to refer us to your friends and colleagues, and just like most recruitment companies, we offer a reward for anyone you refer who we then go on to successfully place.
However, we’ve always wondered why this is only ever offered for referring other people? You’re a person too, right?
So we’ve decided to offer the same reward for referring yourself as you would receive for referring a friend or a colleague.
REFER YOURSELF: £700 in vouchers
REFER A FRIEND: £700 in vouchers
This thank-you fee is offered for lawyers you refer to us who we have not been in touch with for the previous 6 months; hasn’t previously been referred to us, and will be sent to you once they have completed a 3 month probationary period with our client, and will last for 2 years.
If you are ‘referring’ yourself, this is offered to you if:
• You are registering with us for the first time;
• You are already registered with us;
• If we have instigated contact with you via some kind of direct approach
In short, unless you have already been referred to us by someone else, you will be awarded the fee as a thank-you under any other circumstances should we place you with one of our clients!