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    Hi everyone, I've just started the second year of my training contract and I would have really liked to do a seat in private client but it wasn't offered by my firm for my intake. I'm really interested in a career in private client but I don't know how to go about it. I was thinking of taking a weeks annual leave and seeing if I could get some work experience in the area, and doing some relevant qualifications on the side. I've done a seat in contentious trusts and probate and the private client Lpc module, but that's the extent of my experience. My entire training contract has been contentious, clinical negligence was one of my seats. I've done a lot of reading into private client and I think it would really suit me, but I don't have any real life experience. Does anyone have any advice or had a similar experience with their training contract? I know it's risky looking to move into an area I haven't done a seat in, but I'm just worried about getting pigeon holed into an area I don't want to be in. Any advice much appreciated!
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    (Original post by sxp842)
    Hi everyone, I've just started the second year of my training contract and I would have really liked to do a seat in private client but it wasn't offered by my firm for my intake. I'm really interested in a career in private client but I don't know how to go about it. I was thinking of taking a weeks annual leave and seeing if I could get some work experience in the area, and doing some relevant qualifications on the side. I've done a seat in contentious trusts and probate and the private client Lpc module, but that's the extent of my experience. My entire training contract has been contentious, clinical negligence was one of my seats. I've done a lot of reading into private client and I think it would really suit me, but I don't have any real life experience. Does anyone have any advice or had a similar experience with their training contract? I know it's risky looking to move into an area I haven't done a seat in, but I'm just worried about getting pigeon holed into an area I don't want to be in. Any advice much appreciated!
    If you are doing a 4 seat TC, can't you do the private client seat in your last seat?

    You will need to check your employment contract carefully. Usually there is a clause that you cannot work for another company/organisation, or you at least have to declare it.

    Why not try and find a way to network with your private client colleagues rather than trying to look elsewhere?
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    (Original post by J-SP)
    If you are doing a 4 seat TC, can't you do the private client seat in your last seat?

    You will need to check your employment contract carefully. Usually there is a clause that you cannot work for another company/organisation, or you at least have to declare it.

    Why not try and find a way to network with your private client colleagues rather than trying to look elsewhere?
    Unfortunately they just aren't offering a seat in private client at all because they don't see an nq role there. I've already asked about the option of doing a seat there anyway and was refused. The private client department is also in a different office so I don't get to see anyone from there.

    That's a good point about my contract, I'll look into that. I never realised how limiting training contracts can be!
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    (Original post by sxp842)
    Unfortunately they just aren't offering a seat in private client at all because they don't see an nq role there. I've already asked about the option of doing a seat there anyway and was refused. The private client department is also in a different office so I don't get to see anyone from there.

    That's a good point about my contract, I'll look into that. I never realised how limiting training contracts can be!
    It isn't the training contract that is restrictive. It's a pretty standard clause in most employment contracts for law firms (and other professional organisations). Due to conflict issues, going to work for another firm while you are working for another is not straight forward. You'd probably find it difficult for another firm to employ you, even informally where you are working for a competitor too.

    Most employers would be pretty peeved at the prospect of you working elsewhere while you are in a FTC or permanent role.

    You probably want to try and speak to some legal recruiters at agencies now about what to do. I'd still use the network in the other office if it was me - they might not be recruiting but they will have stronger connections to firms who will. I'd be looking out for and going to any sector events/networking opportunities/client events that cover this subject/area, whether through my firm or through other organisations/professional bodies etc.
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    I am a solicitor and I have come across a few people who have managed to find an NQ role in an area they did not do a seat in. It isn't easy, because you will be competing against people who have done a seat, but no-one really expects much of an NQ and particularly when you move firms I find expectations are low. Certainly I do not expect NQs joining my team to know much at all and it's a bonus if they do. The fact that you have done a contentious probate seat will be helpful as you have some knowledge of the area. You will need to demonstrate your interest in the area and I agree with JSP that you could do this by networking, joining relevant bodies, going to firm events etc.

    Incidentally you say your entire TC has been contentious, surely you must have done at least some non contentious work in one of your seats as this is an SRA requirement?
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    (Original post by emmings)
    I am a solicitor and I have come across a few people who have managed to find an NQ role in an area they did not do a seat in. It isn't easy, because you will be competing against people who have done a seat, but no-one really expects much of an NQ and particularly when you move firms I find expectations are low. Certainly I do not expect NQs joining my team to know much at all and it's a bonus if they do. The fact that you have done a contentious probate seat will be helpful as you have some knowledge of the area. You will need to demonstrate your interest in the area and I agree with JSP that you could do this by networking, joining relevant bodies, going to firm events etc.

    Incidentally you say your entire TC has been contentious, surely you must have done at least some non contentious work in one of your seats as this is an SRA requirement?
    Thanks for your replies. Realistically getting an opportunity to network with the private client team is unlikely in my firm, but i'll definitely look out for networking events/talks etc.

    It's my lack of experience that was worrying me, but hopefully the contentious probate seat will help. I was thinking of doing a course in an area to do with private client, i thought it might be a good way to show interest/also give me more of an idea about the area of law. Would this likely be something employers would appreciate?

    No, the SRA changed the regulations for my intake year (2015) so you now no longer need contentious and non-contentious seats, you just need to gain experience in 3 distinct areas of law. It's a bit of a shame as it would have been good experience to do both.
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    Hi sxp842, I know this is quite late to your original post but I was just wondering what happened in the end? I'm actually in quite a similar situation and have spent most of my contract in contentious matters and struggling to make the decision on switching to a non contentious area!
 
 
 
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