Tony Brooke’s view: The NQ solicitor job market in June 2018

It’s tricky writing a compelling NQ solicitor job market report when everyone’s glued to the World Cup. In competition with the football I don’t think my monthly blog will receive too much attention, but I’ve penned it below anyway for those who aren’t glued to Sky Sports…


Busy busy busy

Lots happened in June, a very active NQ month as always, but speed was of the essence. We’ve had instruction after instruction and each prompts a race to the strongest candidates. When we get to someone less than 4 minutes after receiving the collective instruction email from the client only to be told another agent pipped us to the post it’s pretty frustrating but it keeps things spicy! Months of time invested in candidate relationships and it sometimes boils down to ‘fastest finger first’.

We win some we lose others, but there’s still that satisfaction when we get there first.


Spoilt for choice

I’ve seen a number of candidates brow-beaten by weeks of active efforts to find a role in June, only to be tormented by having too many roles to choose from! It’s always pleasant to see the shift from “how long will it be until there are opportunities?” to “I am running out of holiday, how do I choose which interviews to attend as I can’t do them all!”

One litigation NQ we were working with finally got an offer through, and on the very same day he was invited for interview at DACB, Squires, and Eversheds… all of which he declined. An Employment NQ we’ve placed had multiple interviews, a bit of exasperation, and found herself withdrawing midway through one process and declining an interview with a Top 20 firm in favour of her chosen offer – I am very sure she’d never have predicted that behaviour in May!

And not all candidates being placed were without roles. The Leeds office of one Top 20 brand lost the Real Estate NQ whom they believed they’d retained when that individual gave them notice that they were taking their career to London and wouldn’t be doing property law; needless to say, the other internal candidates had already bolted for security with other firms and so the role came to us as external suppliers. At £44k NQ rate in 2018 it was filled in about a fortnight, and what a fantastic opportunity that was.

The other common instance is external opportunities prompting an immediate response from existing employers to precipitate an offer which is perhaps overdue. That fear of loss does tend to sharpen a firm’s focus on their internal NQs.


Hit the gin

Of course, when it’s extremely busy without respite then sometimes the best course of action is to have a drink… or in the case of our event with the Leeds JLD group, some 10 different gins!

We’ll blame the hot weather for the boozing; however, I am sceptical that young lawyers’ thirsts are in any way connected to the seasons, as I don’t think I have ever sponsored an event where the attendees have been anything other than parched! Obviously, there was an educational undercurrent which justifies the subsequent hangovers, and for the Brooke Thornham folks attending it was ‘work’. Honestly… the things we do… taking 10 for the team…such martyrs…


Bye for now

July’s blog will be my last NQ report for 2018 as August is always pretty quiet – and, with it being prime holiday season, it’s a natural time to sign off. Whilst the market has peaked for now, there will still be some activity in terms of newly qualified positions available throughout summer, and so if you find yourself in the position where you haven’t yet secured something for September please do make contact with one of the team and we’ll be happy to advise and assist in any way we can.

Interested in Brooke Thornham’s help navigating the NQ solicitor job market? Contact us to find out how we can work together.

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