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    I used to post on here back when I was applying for TCs and vac schemes and found it very useful, so, now at a bit of a loose end before starting my NQ job, thought I'd see if I can give a bit back.

    I know there are a few posters on here who have way more experience than me and are probably infinitely more helpful, but I thought it might be useful to ask any burning questions you have for someone just reaching the end of the long slog to get a practising certificate. Alternatively, this thread will die the death it probably deserves.

    I figured it would be easier to just answer those questions that come, rather than wittering about myself at length, but I'll pre-empt the basic background ones.

    - The usual As at A Level followed by a 2.1 in Law with Spanish at a mid- range RG uni (think B'ham, Manchester, Nottingham etc.),

    - Trained at a regional firm (circa. 15 trainees, clients from around the country but focused on its home patch, some plc's but no international work to speak of). Seats in Litigation, Banking, Corporate and Employment.

    -Moving on qualification to do Litigation at a 'national' firm (along the lines of DLA, Pinsents, Eversheds et al.) in the same city.

    In short, the basic ***** of the legal world. If all goes well I'll one day own a second hand 911 and a nice holiday home, but my backside is unlikely to meet with the benches, or leatherette* office chairs, of the Supreme Court.

    Anyway, fire away.

    *the SC judges may well have persuaded the government to shell out for actual leather, even in this time of austerity.
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    Has your experience of being a trainee been (at least on the whole) a positive one?

    Has there been anything that wasn't as you expected?
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    (Original post by ULawAJ)
    Has your experience of being a trainee been (at least on the whole) a positive one?

    Has there been anything that wasn't as you expected?
    Yes, I've enjoyed the work and found that generally legal practice is something I enjoy as much as I did academic law, thankfully. There's plenty of bibling/bundling obviously, but you know that going in, and I enjoyed the advice and drafting work enough to make it worthwhile. Some partners really push you, but that's just how the profession works and it's bearable so long as you know it's necessary. One or two did it just to test you, but I figured I wasn't going to give them the satisfaction of knowing they were annoying me.

    I didn't fully anticipate the amount of my time which would be taken up by the business side of things, such as time recording, billing, dealing with financial admin (eg. tidying WiP, chasing late bills etc.) and so on, but found that alright. I also wasn't expecting just how bitter seat politics can get, but that does seem to vary by year group and ours had all calmed down by the time it came to NQ jobs.
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    Hi Iron Bowl,

    Thanks for doing this!
    My questions are:

    1. Do you get on well with your fellow trainees? Was there a strong sense of competition or politics (other than seat allocation)?
    2. You mentioned some partners really push you - do you mean with the quality and/or quantity of work?
    3. Working outside of London, do you feel satisfied with your salary?

    Many thanks.
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    (Original post by 080191289)
    Hi Iron Bowl,

    Thanks for doing this!
    My questions are:

    1. Do you get on well with your fellow trainees? Was there a strong sense of competition or politics (other than seat allocation)?
    No, we generally got on well. People would be going out for lunch with potential supervisors etc., nothing major. It's essentially the first stab you take at building the internal networking skills you'll need to get to partnership, but it's all slightly clumsy and can cause some short term ructions.

    I have heard of much greater skullduggery at firms more like the one I'm moving to, particularly over applications for secondments, but have no personal experience of that.

    2. You mentioned some partners really push you - do you mean with the quality and/or quantity of work?
    Good ones, both, and to strict, but necessary, deadlines. As a trainee though, anything you are given which is urgent shouldn't be massively complex, so it's a case of ensuring you don't make silly mistakes. If you have more complex drafting to do, it's likely to be given when there will be plenty of time for them to check it over before it goes out.

    Not so good ones, quantity and very tight, late night/weekend deadlines for clearly non-urgent work.

    3. Working outside of London, do you feel satisfied with your salary?

    Many thanks.
    Yes, my NQ salary is 40k, which is more than adequate to live on where I am, and my lifestyle is better I think. I live 5 mins walk from the office, don't spend a huge amount on rent and will be able to buy a place in a year or two. Saying that, I do sometimes wish I was able to do the really big ticket work that you only get in London and I know mates in London with very similar CVs on the education front get paid double what I do, which will probably be more galling when I move and work on the same type of cases as them more often.

    Where it really pays off is for partners. Costs are reputed to be half those in London, but hourly rates are not, so regional partners in national firms and partners in some regional firms are living the high life mortgage free, whilst London partners work to tighter profit margins (on a higher turnover of course) and often see vast amounts of their profits vanish into chunky mortgages.
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    (Original post by Iron Bowl)
    Yes, I've enjoyed the work and found that generally legal practice is something I enjoy as much as I did academic law, thankfully. There's plenty of bibling/bundling obviously, but you know that going in, and I enjoyed the advice and drafting work enough to make it worthwhile. Some partners really push you, but that's just how the profession works and it's bearable so long as you know it's necessary. One or two did it just to test you, but I figured I wasn't going to give them the satisfaction of knowing they were annoying me.

    I didn't fully anticipate the amount of my time which would be taken up by the business side of things, such as time recording, billing, dealing with financial admin (eg. tidying WiP, chasing late bills etc.) and so on, but found that alright. I also wasn't expecting just how bitter seat politics can get, but that does seem to vary by year group and ours had all calmed down by the time it came to NQ jobs.
    Thank you for your answers! Really appreciate the insight
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    (Original post by Iron Bowl)
    No, we generally got on well. People would be going out for lunch with potential supervisors etc., nothing major. It's essentially the first stab you take at building the internal networking skills you'll need to get to partnership, but it's all slightly clumsy and can cause some short term ructions.

    I have heard of much greater skullduggery at firms more like the one I'm moving to, particularly over applications for secondments, but have no personal experience of that.



    Good ones, both, and to strict, but necessary, deadlines. As a trainee, though anything you are given which is urgent shouldn't be massively complex, so it's a case of ensuring you don't make silly mistakes. If you have more complex drafting to do, it's likely to be given when there will be plenty of time for them to check it over before it goes out.

    Not so good ones, quantity and very tight, late night/weekend deadlines for clearly non-urgent work.



    Yes, my NQ salary is 40k, which is more than adequate to live on where I am, and my lifestyle is better I think. I live 5 mins walk from the office, don't spend a huge amount on rent and will be able to buy a place in a year or two. Saying that, I do sometimes wish I was able to do the really big ticket work that you only get in London and I know mates in London with very similar CVs on the education front get paid double what I do, which will probably be more galling when I move and work on the same type of cases as them more often.

    Where it really pays off is for partners. Costs are reputed to be half those in London, but hourly rates are not, so regional partners in national firms and partners in some regional firms are living the high life mortgage free, whilst London partners work to tighter profit margins (on a higher turnover of course) and often see vast amounts of their profits vanish into chunky mortgages.
    Thank you very much - very interesting insight!
    I wish you all the best in your NQ role.
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    which specific aspects of your work have you enjoyed?

    what made you choose law (and specifically the branch of litigation that you are moving into) over other alternatives that were open to you?

    many thanks!
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    Did you find it difficult to get a place at a national firm after working at a regional firm? Do you think that's uncommon?
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    Why are you moving firms?
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    (Original post by woodchuck)
    which specific aspects of your work have you enjoyed?

    what made you choose law (and specifically the branch of litigation that you are moving into) over other alternatives that were open to you?

    many thanks!
    In terms of general skills I enjoy drafting and the advice work, which I think is common. I also really enjoy the networking/BD side of things and I'm looking forward to doing more of that as I move up the ladder.

    Litigation specific, I like that I still regularly get to read cases and consider legal arguments; the tactical side of it; and the competitive aspect.

    (Original post by MrLintonJones)
    Did you find it difficult to get a place at a national firm after working at a regional firm? Do you think that's uncommon?
    It was difficult but not impossible, I got a job at the first place I interviewed. I think it hugely depends on practice area, in Real Estate or Finance it would be pretty easy to move if you wanted, but it's harder in popular departments like Litigation and something quiet like Restructuring would be very difficult.

    At NQ I think it's quite uncommon, recruiters I spoke to said they don't see it much, but 1-3 PQEs do it quite a lot, usually to fill vacancies left when the national firms' own associates decide to move elsewhere for a better work/life balance.

    (Original post by Ethereal)
    Why are you moving firms?
    There wasn't a job in Litigation, department was quiet so no need for a NQ. Before the jobs list came out I wasn't certain I wanted to stay anyway, as I wasn't confident the guy I would have worked for, and who brought in a lot of the best work, would be staying long term due to a partnership bust up. I enjoy the bigger stuff most anyway, so I would have looked to move around 1 PQE even if all was rosy.
 
 
 
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