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final seats and qualification is on the horizon

18 March 2013

The time has come when some of us are getting ready to move into our final seats. With qualification on the horizon, this can be an exciting, yet unsettling, time for those who are uncertain of where they would like to qualify, and more importantly, whether there will be a NQ position in that area.  

The majority of trainees have an idea of where they would like to qualify by this time. Not many trainees qualify into their last seat. The job lists come out fairly early on in the last seat and trainees do not have a proper chance to experience the seat before the job decision is made. From personal experience, it wasn’t until 3 months into the seat that I felt comfortable with the seat area and what was expected of me. This can vary between seats and individuals. 

This does not mean that the final seat is a wasted 6 months. With qualification quickly approaching, the final seat is a good opportunity to review the skills learnt over the last 18 months, reflect on progress and build relationships in other practice areas of the firm. It is also time to make the most of the lower chargeable time targets and of course, the trainee social budget! The final seat can complement previous seats or provide valuable diversity to a trainee’s experience.    

So what happens for those who do not know where they want to qualify? This is a common concern for trainees at the start of their training contracts. However, in reality not many trainees reach the end of their training contract without doing a seat which they want to take further. Many seats have a lot of cross-over between departments. Having said this, it is not unknown for trainees at Browne Jacobson to qualify into an area which they did not experience during their training contract. This may have been due to a lack of positions in the area the trainee wished to qualify. This is a rare situation but it can happen. Browne Jacobson is keen to retain its trainees and explore all possibilities.

This has been an intense learning curve for many of us, however, I feel prepared and excited for my future career knowing that I have a solid set of transferrable skills and valuable practical experience to help me get started.