NQ – Frequently Asked Questions

Jul 2020

As you move through this final period of your traineeship, against an uncertain job market, we have highlighted some answers to questions that we have been asked over the past month:


How is the legal recruitment market in Scotland?


As is to be expected, recruitment in general has been paused while firms consider the impact of COVID-19 and importantly how this will impact likely workflows.  There are still a small number of positions (normally business critical ones) which have been able to progress. These have been in the minority though and we do expect that recruitment activity will be quiet while we are in this ‘lockdown’ period. There are also logistical problems in progressing live vacancies in terms of setting up meetings etc due to the current lockdown and so any interviews are now taking place by video calls or telephone calls.  This means that active processes are taking longer.


Do you envisage firms still looking to hire? If so, what areas would you see that in?


On a positive note, the legal recruitment market was fairly buoyant prior to the COVID-19 outbreak and we would have expected a good range of opportunities arising at NQ level this year.  We would hope that this will still happen, although clearly some firms will have been impacted which could have a knock-on effect on recruitment and the overall number of openings.


When will openings arise for NQs?


It is hard to say, and no one has experienced this situation before, so it is new territory for everyone.  We would anticipate that the ‘lockdown period’ will continue to have a negative impact on recruitment.  We would also expect that firms will need some time to anticipate the condition of the market and likely activity levels before they start to move forward with positions again.  Some firms have also pushed back their internal recruitment at NQ level and so this will then have an impact on when they advertise external positions.  It could be that some candidates due to qualify in the early part of summer will have a gap before they are able to find or start an NQ positions as in general the process will start later this year.


My traineeship has now finished, and I have not yet found an NQ role.  What should I do?


We appreciate that there are huge limitations on what it is possible for people to do in the current circumstances, but we have highlighted some suggestions below –


  • Ensure your CV is in tip-top condition and ready to go.
  • If possible, do any additional professional development in your preferred legal area via any online learning tools to build on your knowledge and show your interest in that area.
  • Consider non legal voluntary work for charities or other paid employment (if you are brave enough and healthy enough to go outside
  • If the restrictions become more relaxed but you still have a down period volunteering for organisations such as Citizens Advice and Law Clinics can also provide interesting and useful experience.


I hope you have found this Soundbite useful.  See our dedicated NQ Outlook™ Career Centre for more information on positions and career advice.


You can also contact me, Teddie, at or message me on Linkedin


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