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Five tips on securing an NQ job at a new firm from The Lawyer Careers Podcast

Written by: Richard Simmons
Published on: 26 Oct 2015

Searching for an NQ job article

Today, The Lawyer’s Careers Podcast features four experts talking about how to get an NQ job at a new firm on qualification. Here’s some of their advice…

  • The deal you want to be asked about the least at interview is the one you ought to know the best. If you operate on that basis then you’ll be fine. Firms are understanding that when NQs come in for interview, they will not neccessarily have seen a deal from start to finish, but it’s unforgivable to not understand the drivers behind the deal and what the client was trying to achieve. At the very least you need to understand the narrative of each transaction you’ve worked on.
  • On your CV, it’s important to put the emphasis on the sector you want to qualify in. But it’s also important to have enough to show that you were fully involved in all your seats and weren’t just twiddling your thumbs.
  • You’re never going to be tested on your knowledge of a firm’s history or size, but if you’re going into an interview you need to know about the background of the practice. It’s unforgivable to be under-researched. You need to be doing the obvious – looking at the partner’s profiles, reading up on the deals they’ve been involved with and thinking about the wider trends in the market in which they’re working. Firms will expect that and you do see people fall down at interview because it’s quite clear they haven’t done the research.
  • It’s important to be very clear on your academic qualifications. Make sure the dates on your CV are correct. Quite often they can be are quite unclear, or when you check on LinkedIn they don’t quite match up so you have to go back and amend them. That wastes time – and while there are lots of NQ roles available at the moment, they are quite popular, so time is of the essence.
  • Take advice from people who have done it before you. There’s no better guidance than the guidance you get from your friends who are 12 months ahead of you.

Jeremy Mead, Marc Needoff, Michael Madigan and Katherine Jones were speaking on The Lawyer’s Careers Podcast. To listen to the full podcast, click here.