Leaving the City on qualification and other questions ...

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Report Thread starter 4 years ago
Hi there,

Not sure where else to post this as I don't really use this site.

I'm about two months into my final seat as a trainee at a very large City firm. I can't say I've loved the experience of being a trainee.

I feel like a lot of the work in some teams has been really low level - endless proof reading, running delta views, printing, BD tasks... I sometimes feel there has been very little by way of hands on experience to the extent I find all the compulsory training sessions somewhat otiose. I have had two seats where there was a lot of hands on experience, one of these being on a secondment away from the firm.

Whilst I have had good appraisals and I am fairly confident of having a place on qualification, I have been seriously thinking about leaving London after chatting to a friend of mine who is thinking of doing something similar.

Is this a crazy idea? I have never been one of those people who loves London - the city itself I find exhausting and unfriendly and at such a huge firm, I don't feel I will be able to get a good level of responsibility until much later in my career.

It was my experience of the secondment that made me realise that maybe I just need to be in a smaller place. I often feel a bit swallowed up by this huge firm and my current seat (where I don't want to qualify anyway) the level of responsibility is very low and the tasks mostly meaningless.

Is moving from London to a the regions pretty unheard of at NQ level? I am well aware of the salary differences, but I would be willing to stay on a similar salary to what I have now for the better work/life balance, smaller firm and better hands on experience.

It could just be the firm I am at, but I've become disillusioned at the quality of work/experience I have had and not sure I want to waste any more time.

Also, is it normal to feel so apathetic in final seat?! Ever since this seat started, I just can't find the motivation to care! I guess I feel like in previous seats I gained enough confidence to realise I can do this job, now being a trainee is just a bit tedious at times. Especially being ordered around by NQs who were one seat ahead of you!!
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Report 4 years ago
I am a lawyer at a regional firm (now 4 PQE), we see a fair few NQs joining us from the City. Things to think about:

- have you thought about where and why? A regional firm is going to want to know what links you have to the area and be assured that you intend to stay. We have been burned a number of times now by NQs who have come largely because they could not find a job in London, stayed a few months until they did find one and then gone back.

- you say you're prepared for the salary drop but you really need to be ok with this. It's not just the fact that your NQ salary will likely be no rise at all on your trainee salary (it may even be a drop of you are at an MC or US firm) but the fact that the pay rises are smaller and at least at most firms I know of, less transparent. It is not like the City where there are nice defined pay bands for every year of PQE. Everyone gets paid different amounts depending on how much they are prepared to negotiate and deserve it.

Your reasons for wanting to move seem sound. I much prefer being in a smaller environment and having greater responsibility. There are often very good opportunities for career progression at regional firms if you are good. PM me if you want to ask anything else.

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