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  1. #1
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    Default Joining a start up firm as an NQ - good move or career suicide?

    Hi everyone, I,m new to the site but I have a bit of a dilema and just wanted to find out other trainees/nq's opinions on this. I,m qualifying this September and our firm only announced in July what NQ positions would be available, none were in the area I want to go into so I am now trying to find an NQ job elsewhere. Anyway, I,ve been searching for a few weeks now and have only managed to get one interview so far.....I know its still early doors but it just feels like the market for NQs is pretty dire and the people getting the jobs seem to be doing so through contacts that they have (rather than recruitment agents/direct applications).

    I,ve been training at a US firm and recently one of the partners in the area where I want to qualify left the firm. He has since contacted me and told me he is going to set up his own firm (out of the City to save on costs) and needs to hire a junior lawyer. So this is my dilema. The pay would be Magic Circle rate for NQ and bonus would potentially be more. The area is fairly niche and the idea is he can compete in the market because the hourly rates will be lower than at US/City firms so he can undercut competitors when pitching for business. Overheads would also be low as initially it would just be the partner, a junior and an office manager. He seems to have some good contacts and potential clients so it seems likely it could be a success and he wants to take a junior so that he can train them up etc, so potentially the experience I could get (basically running deals from day one) looks like it could be far better than if I got a job in a City firm (still being a small cog in someone else's wheel as an NQ/junior). But clearly its still risky as there's no guarantee that it will take off. I also worry that if in a few years time I wanted to go back to the City I might not be able to because I would have taken (what looks like) a strange path and wouldn't have a big name on my CV, even though the work I could be doing is potentially the same or better than what I would have done at a City firm. Just wondering what other people would do in this situation? Would you take the risk of joining a start-up boutique firm as an NQ or stick it out in the current market and hope to get a conventional NQ job at a City firm even if it takes 6-12 months? Thanks for reading, I know its a long post!

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by deadNQwalking View Post
    Hi everyone, I,m new to the site but I have a bit of a dilema and just wanted to find out other trainees/nq's opinions on this. I,m qualifying this September and our firm only announced in July what NQ positions would be available, none were in the area I want to go into so I am now trying to find an NQ job elsewhere. Anyway, I,ve been searching for a few weeks now and have only managed to get one interview so far.....I know its still early doors but it just feels like the market for NQs is pretty dire and the people getting the jobs seem to be doing so through contacts that they have (rather than recruitment agents/direct applications).

    I,ve been training at a US firm and recently one of the partners in the area where I want to qualify left the firm. He has since contacted me and told me he is going to set up his own firm (out of the City to save on costs) and needs to hire a junior lawyer. So this is my dilema. The pay would be Magic Circle rate for NQ and bonus would potentially be more. The area is fairly niche and the idea is he can compete in the market because the hourly rates will be lower than at US/City firms so he can undercut competitors when pitching for business. Overheads would also be low as initially it would just be the partner, a junior and an office manager. He seems to have some good contacts and potential clients so it seems likely it could be a success and he wants to take a junior so that he can train them up etc, so potentially the experience I could get (basically running deals from day one) looks like it could be far better than if I got a job in a City firm (still being a small cog in someone else's wheel as an NQ/junior). But clearly its still risky as there's no guarantee that it will take off. I also worry that if in a few years time I wanted to go back to the City I might not be able to because I would have taken (what looks like) a strange path and wouldn't have a big name on my CV, even though the work I could be doing is potentially the same or better than what I would have done at a City firm. Just wondering what other people would do in this situation? Would you take the risk of joining a start-up boutique firm as an NQ or stick it out in the current market and hope to get a conventional NQ job at a City firm even if it takes 6-12 months? Thanks for reading, I know its a long post!
    Hi, I saw go for the risk! - It actually will look good in your CV since you already will have some experience as junior lawyer? - Although do wait for some proper advice.

  3. #3
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    Hi! Whatever you do, don’t get any gaps on your CV! This would make it much more difficult to get back in. If you cannot find a position in a practice area you really want, think of another practice area you can go into. Though, once you qualify, it is very hard to change specialisms.

    If you feel that there is only one area you really want to go into and you cannot find anything else then give that new niche firm a go (whilst looking for another position in the City). I wouldn’t stay at a small firm and out of the City for too long (6 months tops), as it would be a real career suicide (if you ever wanted to go back to the City). In any event, you can always argue the fact that you really wanted to qualify into that practice area (and taking the job at a niche firm will show your commitment). I think the question you need to ask yourself is whether you want to stay in the City.

    Hope this helps.

    All the best.

 

 

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