Transitioning from trainee to NQ

The jump from trainee to newly qualified can sometimes be daunting. We have designed a development programme to support trainees through the transition. Head of Graduate Development, Lynne Walters, offers some advice on how to approach your new journey.

Qualifying after 2 years of training can be unnerving, but it doesn’t have to be. Approaching the new challenge with a positive mind-set is key. As a trainee you were always looking ahead towards the next seat change and moving to a whole new department. Hopefully you will now feel more established in your chosen department.

This is an opportunity to continue working with lawyers in your team who share your enthusiasm and passion for your chosen field. It will be important for you to ensure your industry knowledge is current.  Offer to write innovative articles and keep your profile high.

It is also important to recognise that you have to actively manage your career once you qualify. Think about what you want to achieve and start to think about the openings that will be available to you. Identify a mentor who you feel will give you valuable direction and advice in your first year.

Remember to start networking and building your network with peers and other junior lawyers. It’s never too early. It is vital to start building your contacts for the future as one day they may be your clients.

Although you still have a lot of support, remember there is a step up in expectations of how independently you work. It is important to ask questions and to grab every opportunity – be proactive and seek out new opportunities.

If you have secondment prospects accept them enthusiastically. The experience you will gain will certainly support your career development.

Always remember, you have accomplished so much over the past couple of years and you have already performed at a very high level. Now it is your opportunity to launch into your new career with renewed energy and continue on your learning path.”