NQ season is seriously hotting up in the South West!

The newly qualified (NQ) market is hotting up! With many law firms having interviewed and offered to their own trainees, they are now looking externally for NQ solicitors to join their teams. The South West and South Wales markets seem particularly busy, with NQ vacancies in commercial litigation, professional negligence, construction, financial services regulatory & banking litigation, corporate, projects, private client, real estate, conveyancing…..and I’ll whisper, even the ever elusive NQ employment roles!

Many of the law firms recruiting are in the Top 50-100 UK law firm. They offer excellent on-going training and support, as well as exceptional quality of work, often with international elements, and solicitors are encouraged to get involved in business development from an early stage. These firms will look at both City NQ’s looking to relocate to the region without having to compromise on quality of work/life balance, or equally those from regional and smaller firms who can demonstrate solid experience and training. Bristol has seen a hike in salaries with NQ salaries ranging from £30,000-£35,000 for the mid-sized firms and the Top 100 firms paying from £37,000 – £50,000. The majority of the Top 100 firms in Bristol are offering NQ salaries of between £42,000 + with the top end offering £50,000.

Below is a snapshot of roles we are currently instructed on in Bristol, Cardiff and across the South West. Its non-exhaustive, so if you are looking for a new role on qualification and are thinking about your options or just want some advice on sector focus, discipline, which areas are in demand (or not!), please do get in touch.

Summary of NQ Roles – Bristol, Cardiff and the South West

1. Professional Negligence NQ Top 100 firm      Bristol Salary       £45k+

You will join a market leading firm for professional negligence and a firm which will be able to give you full support and on-going training to fully develop your career. The team handles a wide variety of claims against various professionals including solicitors, insurance brokers, accountants and financial advisers. The role largely involves defending liability claims both pre and post litigation, but the team also provide advice/representation on associated matters such as regulatory issues, risk management and Ombudsman complaints. The team is frequently asked to advise insurers on policy coverage aspect of claims. They act for all of the major Professional Indemnity Insurers and many large professional services firms.

2. Contentious Construction NQ+ Top 50 Law Firm      Bristol      £46,000+

You will join one of the largest Construction & Engineering teams in the UK, whose work spans every industry from retail and leisure to energy and nuclear. The team handles a wide variety of claims against various construction related professionals including engineers, architects, quantity surveyors, project managers, design/ build contractors and surveyors. The role largely involves defending liability claims both pre and post litigation, but also providing advice on associated matters such as adjudication, disciplinary proceedings, arbitration and risk management. The team is also frequently asked to advise insurers on policy coverage aspect of claims. The work will be varied, interesting and challenging and you will be given autonomy; there will be the opportunity to work on matters involving a range of construction related professions with values ranging from tens of thousands of pounds to multi millions. Great opportunity for you to get involved with business development and client initiatives.

3. Construction NQ+ Top 50      Bristol      £48,000+

Top 50 award winning Law Firm, top tier for Construction, working closely with friendly approachable Partners who offer high quality work, including advising on national and international infrastructure projects. Clients include businesses based in the US, Brussels, Germany, Spain and the UK. The team often advise across borders to deliver projects around the world – recent projects have included advising on airport projects in Oman and on renewables projects in Saudi Arabia, Dubai and Jordan. Locally, the team advise on the most complex and interesting assignments in the region, working closely with colleagues in Real Estate and Banking. You will be involved in advising on all forms of construction contract arrangements including bespoke contracts, advising on construction aspects of funding agreements, purchase agreements, PPP project agreements and advising on construction security matters and construction procurement strategy. Client base covers all types of participants in the world of construction procurement including consultants, contractors, sponsors, corporate occupiers, developers, investors, public sector and of late have developed market leading credentials and reputation in the world of student accommodation development and in various energy spheres.

4. Corporate NQ +      Bristol      £48,000+

You will join a Top 50 award winning Law Firm, top tier for Corporate, working closely with dynamic, approachable Partners who offer high quality work, both national and international deals. The Bristol team provide the full spectrum of corporate services including private equity, venture capital, mergers & acquisitions, equity capital markets, fund formation and financial services. They focus on acting for clients within the key sectors of digital business, financial services, real estate & infrastructure and energy & utilities. With clients such as large quoted companies, privately owned businesses, banks, financial institutions and private equity houses, in the last year the team have acted on over 60 deals with an aggregate value of over £2billion. Offering exceptional quality of work, the team consists of over 20 top lawyers who are friendly, pro-active and are keen to get the job done and enjoy life as well.

5. Financial Services Regulatory NQ +      Bristol      £50,000

This leading international law firm has a role in their financial regulatory team that undertakes complex and technical financial services and markets regulatory work. Their clients include banking groups, investment exchanges, asset and wealth managers, brokerage houses as well as other financial institutions operating both in the UK and internationally. This position presents the opportunity to work with a globally recognised team operating at the very top end of the market.

The successful candidate will have a genuine interest in Financial Services and wish to develop their career within this area of the law at a global law firm. Financial Services legal experience is not a pre-requisite and candidates with a range of backgrounds will be considered including commercial, corporate or banking with an aptitude for technical ability and be willing to learn and develop their legal skills in this sector.

6. Corporate NQ+      Bristol       £45,000+

A fantastic opportunity outside of London for an ambitious and self-motivated corporate / capital markets NQ+ to join this ambitious firm with a clear vision of where it is headed and the type of firm it wants to be. You will be joining an exceptionally busy team which is going from strength to strength. Headed up by dynamic Partner “leader in the field”, and with an approachable partnership and team, you will get great support to develop your career and make your name at an early stage. Our client can offer excellent quality of work, a good work/life balance and a competitive package. This Corporate team undertakes a range of work including M&A and private and public equity and venture capital financings. The team is looking to recruit an additional, extremely high-quality corporate associate with experience in private company M&A and/or private/public equity and/or VC financings to work closely with a new partner who has recently joined the firm.

7. Corporate NQ+      Exeter      £39,000+

Full service top 100 UK law firm with a regional, national and international client base. Ideally you’ll have some expertise in assisting partners in acting for private sector clients including private equity, MBOs, MBIs, joint ventures. You’ll increasingly work across a variety of interesting and busy sectors. Super career progression prospects and the chance to work with a highly regarded Partner make this a very attractive role for a bright lawyer looking to move up the ladder in a small and perfectly formed team.

8. Projects Top 50 Firm NQ+      Bristol      £50,000+

Leading international law firm is looking for a Projects NQ – 2PQE Solicitor to join their top tier department in Bristol. Working on City type matters, this would suit someone with this experience looking for a move to the South West to enjoy the work/life balance the region offers. It would also suit someone with strong experience from a top regional or national looking to make that next step in their career. Their clients are typically international or large scale defence projects. This is a small team looking to grow in the next two years, enabling them to take on more work from the London office.

9. Commercial Top 50 Firm NQ-2      Bristol      £48,000+

This Bristol Top 50 firm offers City level work and client base whilst enjoying the work/life balance of living in Bristol. The team is looking to grow and has key sectors including the digital, real estate, and healthcare. This role will provide opportunities to work within the energy/utilities and transport sectors in particular. The kind of contracts on which you will advise include procurements of high value or innovative equipment (e.g. industrial scale battery storage for use in distributed generation projects), outsourcing projects and long-term services agreements for services such as warehousing, logistics and facilities management.

10. Projects NQ+      Bristol      £43,000

This ambitious and forward thinking law firm has an outstanding opportunities for PFI/ Project Lawyer in their Bristol office. This L500 practice will allow you to thrive on a range of high quality non-contentious work for household name clients. On joining this quality team, you’ll relish the highest profile work assisting on a number of PFI and PPP projects in the main for private sector clients. This is a large and highly skilled team where you’ll work with clients across a range of engineering and building projects, not just within the PFI/PPP arena.

11. Commercial IT/IP NQ       Bristol      £48,000+

Fantastic opportunity for an NQ+ Commercial Solicitor looking to specialise in IP/IT and commercial. You will be joining one of the most dynamic and well thought of commercial teams in the South West. Joining a Top 50 award winning Law Firm, top tier for Commercial, IT and IP, working closely with friendly approachable Partners who offer high quality work, both national and international transactions including advising on national and international infrastructure projects.

You will be involved in advising across various sectors, with particular focuses in Digital Business, Retail, Energy and Transport. From a Technology perspective, our Client has the largest tech focussed team in the region. With a commitment to the Digital Business Sector means they work with A-grade tech and comms businesses and also for businesses procuring technology solutions (with regular work for the likes of Dyson, Homebase, Ralph Lauren and Dassault Systemes)).

Consistent stream of instructions relating to developing areas of technology including online content licensing and streaming, social media, online advertising and online broadcasting. Privacy is a busy area, not just with GDPR but also with an increasing volume of cyber related work, Big Data, Analytics and general data exploitation opportunities. They also regularly manage large IP projects and transactions for clients based in Europe, the US and Asia, providing advice on brand protection strategy, trade marks and licensing issues. Client base includes many leading technology and media companies so it’s not surprising that they are a ‘go to’ firm for some of the most complex and novel IP questions. Clients include leading technology companies (e.g. Bose, Vodafone, Airbus). Great opportunity in supportive and innovative team.

12. Corporate Tax NQ      Bristol       £48,000+

Top 50 award winning Law Firm, top tier for Corporate Tax, working closely with friendly approachable Partners who offer high quality work, both national and international deals. The Bristol team provide the full spectrum of corporate tax advice offering City-based clients a high quality service. They provide clients with tailored UK and cross-border tax strategies that help them meet their business objectives, including making tax savings and legal efficiencies. The team are heavily involved in transactional planning, structuring, financing and related documentation. With clients such as large quoted companies, privately owned businesses, banks, financial institutions and private equity houses, offering exceptional quality of work.

13. Private Client NQ+      Cardiff      £33,000+

Cardiff heavyweights, and the leading Private Client firm in South Wales. Their Asset Management team has a national profile including dealing with high net worth and often high profile work. Due to increasing levels of work and regular new client wins, their incredibly busy and successful Trusts & Estates team is looking for up to three new joiners. An expected level of general Probate and Estate Administration experience is going to be important and there will be the opportunity to get involved in a wide range of practice including wills, estate administration, tax and trusts. Plenty of opportunities to get involved in the day to day supervision of Paralegals within the department so any supervisory experience or a keenness to get involved in this part of the job will also be very valued and welcome.

14. Banking and Financial Litigation       Cardiff       £41,000+

You will be joining a Top 20, award winning law firm, which will be able to offer excellent on-going support and training. You will be dealing with a wide range of litigation for financial sector clients including general commercial litigation, regulatory, professional negligence and banking litigation advice. You will be dealing with a complex case-load assisting more senior members of the team. Our client encourages its solicitors to get involved in business development at an early stage. So if you are someone who enjoys building client relationships, and working in a close knit, friendly and fast paced team this could be for you. With a top salary on offer, excellent quality of work, and fantastic ongoing training and development this is great place to start your career.

15. Planning /Environmental NQ+      Devon      £39,000+

Our client is a top 100 law firm with a fantastic reputation for real estate and planning. They are currently seeking a junior planning lawyer to join their team in Devon. You will be working as part of a small planning team and within the wider real estate department dealing with a wide range of planning work. You should have trained with a regional, national or City firm and be looking to progress your career in the South West.

16. Real Estate Cotswolds NQ+      Market rate

Excellent opportunity for a property lawyer to deal with range of commercial property, high net worth residential property and landed estates and farms. You will be dealing with a wide range of commercial property, residential property and landed estates for a full spectrum of mixed HNW clients, OMB’s and SME’s. This is a great role for a property lawyer who enjoys advising on the bigger picture. You will be joining a great little firm, friendly partners with genuine progression on offer. If you are based in the Cotswold’s or live outside larger cities like Bristol, Swindon, Oxford or Cheltenham and want a reverse commute this could work for you.

17. Real Estate NQ+      Plymouth      £36,000+

Our client is a leading regional firm looking for a solicitor from NQ+ level to join this rapidly growing real estate team. They are highly regarded in the market and an extremely profitable part of the firm. The team are expanding due to its success and increased instructions. This firm is renowned for its modern approach and how much it looks after its employees from both a benefits and salary point of view, but also the supportive and realistic approach to career progression. The team’s work comes from both public and private clients, mainly dealing with matters of development, healthcare, education, self-funded pension schemes and retail.

18. Residential Conveyancing NQ +      Bristol, Dorset, Somerset

Our client is looking to recruit a number of residential property solicitors NQ+, as well as more experienced conveyancers who have management and supervision experience. You will be dealing with a range of residential conveyancing work including sales and purchases, re-mortgages and equity release. You will be running your own case-load and should be able to do this with minimal support and supervision. Experience dealing with volume work using a case management system would also be advantageous. The firm is offering excellent salaries and benefits as well as the opportunity for genuine career progression as the team grows.

19. Employment NQ+       Bristol      £43,000+

Rare opportunity for a junior employment lawyer to join one of the leading law firms in Bristol. Our award winning client is a national provider of a full range of legal services and the employment team is highly regarded. This is the chance to join a high performing team who provide employment advice to private business and public sector clients both locally and nationally. You will report directly to the Partner and head of employment and manage a caseload of contentious and non-contentious matters. The successful candidate will be a bright, confident junior employment lawyer with an excellent training from a well-regarded firm.

20. Real Estate NQ+      Exeter      £39,000+

Top 100 law firm, based in the South West with a national and international client base. The work coming into the Commercial Property team is varied and of high calibre, attracting clients from exciting entrepreneurial SMEs to large corporates. This firm is in the midst of a very ambitious growth plan – this really is the time to join them! There is great potential to carve out your career here and grow with the company, making a real difference to the shape of the Commercial Property team which is unique at this level. If you are a trainee solicitor looking for a NQ position in property, looking to get into a larger firm or looking to relocate, this role has to be worth a look.

Sarah Wood is a Senior Associate in the Chadwick Nott South West & South Wales team based in Bristol. For more information and a detailed job specification on any of these roles or a comprehensive review of the NQ market, please contact Sarah on 0117 917 1859 or email sarahwood@chadwicknott.co.uk.

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