in Newly Qualified Solicitors

When should a Newly Qualified Solicitor start looking for work?

This is a question we get asked every day by NQs calling us.

Our usual advice is to start looking for work about six months before you are due to qualify. Register with up to three agencies (we would prefer you just to register with ourselves of course – or at least giving one agent a couple of weeks before contacting others), and do not panic if you do not get a post lined up.

This relates specifically to solicitors on the high street and in the regions – we know a lot of legal recruitment agencies produce wonderful glossy pamphlets telling you all about the salary you should be expecting etc.., but the vast majority do this based on their experiences with the larger practices, not the smaller ones, and most of the bumpf I have read tends to be irrelevant to the majority of NQ solicitors.

Firstly speak to your own firm and find out what they have to offer – loyalty, a bit of PQE and familiarity are all positive attributes during your career. Understandably quite a few NQ solicitors want to move immediately having found the training contract experience a complete nightmare.

Secondly, have a careful think about what you want at PQE level – are you really looking for a post in conveyancing, or is your ambition to get into another field – be careful you don’t make the wrong decision – it is very hard after 12 months etc.. to move out of your area and into another one.

Thirdly, send your CV through to us – we can see whether there is anything ongoing at present, and also keep you updated with legal jobs coming in.

Legal recruitment is a bit of an art in itself – often we get hints and knowledge from insiders telling us where posts may be cropping up. Your details get added to our databases (anonymity assured) for firms to search as well.

Finally, don’t take any posts that are too senior for you and do not jump at the first offer coming your way – think carefully about all options. It doesn’t pay to take anything that comes in, although if the post feels absolutely right, the money and location are good and you would be mad to turn it down, then you may well do!

Author: Jonathan Fagan MIRP MAC Cert RP LLM Solicitor (non-practising) – Managing Director of Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment ( – save time, skip the legal job boards and register with us!  Jonathan Fagan is a specialist legal recruitment consultant and author of the Complete Guide to Writing a Legal CV and the Guide to Interviews for Lawyers. He has recruited for law firms across the UK and overseas in all shapes and sizes. If you have any questions that we have not covered above, please email us at

Jonathan Fagan

Jonathan Fagan LLM FIRP is Managing Director of Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment. He has been recruiting solicitors and legal support staff for law firms and in house legal departments for over 20 years and handles roles from junior fee earners through to partners and law firm sales/purchases. A non-practising solicitor on the Roll since 2000, he is also the author of a number of legal career books, which are available at You can contact Jonathan at