Max Harris, president of the Law Society`s Junior Lawyers Division and a partner at a global law firm, notes that even in large commercial firms, obtaining information becomes more difficult at this crucial stage. « A law student`s journey into the legal profession is relatively prescriptive, » he notes. « Quite uniquely, law firms in the city tend to be very transparent about salaries, expectations and prospects for promotion up to the three-year PQE mark. » But after that, he adds, « The expectations, the promotion path and the salary expectations are not so clear. » Given that we are in 2018, this means that (in reality) lawyers with 3 to 8 years of PQE hardly exist! Valerie Toon, Managing Partner of the regional law firm Mundays, lists the widest range of skills and interests she requires of candidates at this stage. « We`re looking for people who are interested in our business – who have read what the company wants to do in its market, » she notes. « A good candidate will have learned about the history of our firm and thought about how they could contribute to `collective efforts`. Bryan Scant, like Harris, a member of the JLD`s executive committee, urges companies to find a way to be clear about the outlook: « Time around four years » PQE is a crucial step in a lawyer`s career, where partnership opportunities can open up – even if those opportunities aren`t always clear from the start. But when companies have this interview with candidates in the beginning, it can be incredibly beneficial. Another factor could be motivation for quality of life. Perhaps the candidate worked for a large predatory trading company that did all night and weekends – and is now ready, after building a reputation and a base of experience, to continue in a less pressurized environment. This could be the case when the question of starting a family looms on the horizon.
Law firms, on the other hand, attach great importance to the PQE. Carol Osborne, managing partner of Bryan Cave in London, also focuses on « culture » as candidates and law firms pay attention to what everyone has to offer. « From a candidate`s perspective, we know we need to differentiate ourselves from other companies. We can`t just have great people, » she says. « We need to offer a unique approach to legal practice, we need to innovate in the areas of customer service and stay ahead of the curve when using technology. » Moneyball » and recruitment: the search for undervalued talent » As a profession, law has become increasingly specialized. But what if you make the wrong choice? Jonathan Rayner asks for advice on how to change the direction of your career This has been exacerbated by the large-scale consolidation that has gripped the industry as companies looked for ways to achieve efficiency savings. Multiply that in the Central Regions, the West and East Midlands, and the North East, and the number is probably closer to 1,200 – and it doesn`t even affect London and the South East. We would not normally recommend an NQ lawyer (newly qualified) applying for a position advertised as a partner level! When it comes to job postings, various experts in age discrimination have considered that this would no longer be an accepted method of describing job offers by law firms, as it doesn`t matter how many years of experience you have for a job, but rather based on your skills.
PQE stands for « Post-Qualified Experience ». This is usually presented as years or half years for lawyers. It also applies to legal frameworks. Not only has this made it a challenging recruitment environment for law firms, but in-house employers in the industry have also found it challenging. « The perception gap probably revolves around the importance of partnership in the decision. Law firms want to hire people to become long-term partners, and candidates are often looking for the best way to accelerate their careers, which can often be a short-term goal. « Employers and recruiters should look at the type of experience, not just the duration. You also need to assess the overall ability of the candidate: for a law firm, this is where the significant investment in training a lawyer pays off – they understand a lot, have experience with clients, and need much less support.
They are also « affordable », compared to the fees they can generate. Jemimah Cook, Director of Human Resources at Kingsley Napley, agrees: « It`s a very competitive landscape for recruiting and retaining talented lawyers. » As a result, the 2-6 year pipeline of PQE lawyers has shrunk. The lack of lawyers has only been corrected in recent years. And candidate lawyers can look to the future with some confidence. The rough filter of academic qualifications that may have prevented them from applying for an internship at some companies is fading somewhat – partly because of competition in the market, but also because a hiring company can better examine the skills of the cycle so far in its legal career. Very talented lawyers can discover how their careers and therefore their salaries are accelerating. Others may see their career path slowly towards external events, such as starting a family. Ideally, you will have at least 4 years of PQE in a range of corporate work, particularly with a focus on mergers and acquisitions and private equity or venture capital. A good team spirit with strong communication skills and the ability to manage and develop relationships with customers is preferred. Strong experience working with high-end clients in a first-class company in corporate transactions is highly desirable. You must be fluent in written and oral English and Mandarin Chinese. REF: 16579/VTA A great opportunity presented itself for a dedicated corporate lawyer to join a world-class team in China.
Our client is one of the most respected law firms in the world and is looking for a partner to join their highly respected team in Shanghai. Conversely, if the private practice recruits someone with less PQE but the same salary as the current team, trouble can occur. Lawyers in this category have enough experience in their area of expertise to add value, but still « green » enough to adapt to a company`s practice and work environment. Yes, it is illegal under labour law and is considered discriminatory to promote a candidate with « x years » of experience. So, back to the lawyers who could have qualified in 2016: for internal organizations, the reality is that not all lawyers with about two years of PQE want to take the step internally at this stage of their career, which further upsets the problem of the lack of suitable lawyers. Experience abroad generally does not count towards the calculation of the EQP. Lawyers who return to the profession pick up where they left off. It is therefore a period of transition. Lawyers may not be willing to leave behind all the support they have received so far, but they have begun to look at things like partnership prospects. « We`ve found that lawyers are very focused on gaining valuable experience that will enhance their careers, » says Cook. « They want to feel supported and have more responsibility. They want to be involved in all areas, have contact with customers, feel solicited in their learning and be involved in marketing.
Hanrahan notes, « Lawyers in this category are looking for the step that will drive personal and professional growth over the next five to 10 years. Therefore, a clear and defined career path is essential – the less traffic, the better.