September is qualification month for a large number of trainees. Simultaneously, it is the month that the job market is most competitive as trainees search the market for shinier, brighter futures in competition with each other. Laura Turner of the Leeds JLD summarises her advice for all trainees considering a move.
1 – Know your reasons
Many trainees have their own reasons for wanting to look elsewhere. However, if you are considering a move you should consider your motivations for doing so. As in many professions, newly qualified solicitors often move firms for the following reasons:
• A suitable post-qualified position is not available at your current firm
• There are limited career or advancement possibilities
• A desire to earn a higher salary
• A desire to be closer to family
• To have exposure to further or higher-quality training
• To work alongside well-known partners/industry experts
• To experience a different type of work
• To become more specialised
• To have a higher degree of client contact
2 – Consider if the grass is actually greener
Making the move may not be all that it is cracked up to be. You will probably secure uplift in pay and freshen up the tasks you perform on a daily basis. However, you will also have to start from scratch: learning a new role and having to prove yourself.
It is important to consider the fact that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side, and it may be the case that a few tweaks will help you fall back in love with your current job.
3 – Weigh up the Pro’s and Cons
You may decide at this stage that changing firms is the best option for you after all. But before making a decision that will affect your life considerably – effectively occupying your waking hours – seriously consider if there are simple measures you could take to improve where you currently are.
4 – Enquire as to whether you can obtain your motivations at your current firm
Qualification time may be stressful and frustrating, particularly if your qualifying seat has lost its appeal or you change your mind on where you want to qualify. Before you consider moving firms, it may be best to speak to your current employer to see if they can accommodate you in a different area, raise their financial offer or provide you with exposure to more specialist work. It is important to remember that firms are often keen to retain trainees and may therefore be more flexible than you think.
5 – Loyalty
Loyalty is one of those buzzwords that you may have heard used quite a lot. Some trainees feel that they owe their training firm something as they have given them the opportunity to reach their goal of becoming a solicitor. However, it is important that you don’t become blinded by loyalty. There is no point in staying at a firm where you are unhappy just for the sake of being loyal.
6 – If necessary, put aside your worries about your non-standard Training Contract
More and more trainees are experiencing training contracts that don’t have traditional seats. If you trained at a small to mid-sized firm, you may have had a less structured training contract, undertaking a mixed caseload on a more ad hoc basis.
However, whilst many trainees may feel this as a hindrance, this type of experience can be attractive to employers because you are more likely to have had direct client contact running your own caseload.
7 – Be confident in yourself and your decision
Whatever your reasons for considering a move, it is imperative that you make the right decision for you. Once you have explored your motivations and weighed up the pro’s and cons then you should be confident you are doing the right thing.
If you need more advice you can contact a recruiter or indeed contact the JLD committee who will always be on hand to provide advice should you need it.