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Newly qualified opportunities in London


Specialist NQ team

At Michael Page Legal in London we are synonymous with newly qualified recruitment. We have a dedicated team of consultants who just deal with newly qualified lawyers. As such we ensure that the focus is specifically on you and your unique needs as a trainee or newly qualified lawyer. Our clients recognise us as having this specialist function and rely on us for advice regarding their newly qualified recruitment needs. What that means for you is a team of experts working specifically on your behalf with thorough market coverage and the most up to date market knowledge and advice.
Our clients include all the leading UK law firms from the magic circle to the West End niche law firms, US firms and a cross section of industry and commerce legal departments.

The London market

The newly qualified market in London is very competitive so it is imperative you do everything you can so that you stand out from the crowd.  Luckily there are many options available.
The UK firm option – Top Tier
The type and size of UK firms differs extensively, ranging from the Magic Circle, Silver Circle, mid-sized City and regional firms. There are no particular hotspot areas as the market has tightened so that roles that come out tend to be on a more ad hoc basis in terms of disciplin. For advice on choosing your new firm please refer to Career options located under Useful Information
The UK firm option – West End/Niche
We recruit Newly Qualified into all sizes of law firms from 3 or 4 partners up to firms with approximately 60 partners. The majority of the firms offer an excellent opportunity for a work-life balance with billable hours targets starting at just 1200 per year. If you are interested in practising areas such as professional indemnity, personal injury, family and private client then there will be more opportunities available. Another key attraction to this market is the opportunity for high exposure to clients and more responsibility at an early stage.
The US firm option
A large number of US firms now have offices in the UK, mostly in London. The wide variation of UK firms in terms of type and size is also mirrored across the US firms. Opportunities do exist at these firms for Newly Qualified Solicitors and Lawyers but, generally speaking, the US firms choose Newly Qualifieds from the large pre-eminent City firms over other applicants. An excellent academic background and top quality training are standard prerequisites. Initially, US firms began by recruiting UK lawyers specialising in niche areas.  Specialist roles such as Capital Markets, Acquisition Finance, Leveraged Finance, Investment Funds, Tax, International Finance, Restructuring and Insolvency are subsequently common. Nevertheless, they have generally broadened the scope of their recruitment to include such areas as Employment, PFI, Energy, Pensions, Corporate and Arbitration. However, again the roles that are released are on a more ad hoc basis.
In-house opportunities
A move In-house will often offer a good work-life balance while retaining quality of work. As an In-house lawyer, you will work closely with the business, frequently playing an integral part in the decision-making process and also in strategic issues affecting the organisation. Although some lawyers will work predominantly within their chosen area of specialisation, most In-house lawyers will become more generalist. Once you have moved In-house it can be more difficult to obtain a role back in Private Practice. Recent surveys show that the average In-house Legal department consists of just four lawyers, leading to fierce competition for lawyers wishing to make the move.
However, some organisations do now have a sizeable Legal team as they attempt to keep external Legal costs to a minimum. Given the competition for In-house positions, the size of most Legal teams and also the limited scope for intensive training and support, most roles will require lawyers with at least one year’s post qualification experience. Although a secondment to an In-house Legal team completed during your training will not guarantee you a role In-house, it can significantly increase your chances of making such a move. Therefore, if you think that you ultimately want to work In-house and have the opportunity to do so, take advantage of secondment opportunities with your current employer as and when they arise.
Working overseas
Provided that you have trained in an established UK firm, working abroad for a pre-eminent law firm for a couple of years will not affect your career prospects should you wish to return. Realistically however, there are very few overseas opportunities at the Newly Qualified level and you are more likely to be able to go overseas once you have accrued enough relevant experience. Nevertheless, if you have language skills under your belt, the world could literally be your oyster. The majority of such Newly Qualified opportunities arise in areas such as Corporate, Banking, Projects and Competition.
If you are fluent in Arabic, Mandarin, Cantonese or French it would certainly be easier for you to explore opportunities in locations such as Dubai, Hong Kong and Brussels.  Michael Page has over 163 offices in over 28 countries, so we are well equipped to manage your future aspirations should the overseas option appeal.

The team and contact details

For more information about NQ opportunities, please call 020 7831 2000 and ask to speak to one of our experienced consultants or alternatively email:
Tom Gowing