If you are considering an overseas move when you qualify, it pays to do a bit of preparation in advance. The timeline below sets out a recommended process which we find works well and which allows you plenty of time to find the right opportunities, put together a compelling application and ultimately get the job. Of course, it is not the only way to do it and the timescales are not fixed (we have completed several international NQ placements in under one month start to finish) but if you qualify in 2020 and are wondering what to do first and when to start, you might find this is a useful structure to follow.
Stage One: Groundwork (6-12 months from qualification)
- Speak to a specialist (preferably Origin Legal) and find out what your options are. We have helped numerous NQ’s to make the move overseas; we can likely answer all your preliminary questions and point you in the right direction for your background research.
- Decide on your chosen practice area(s). This should primarily be based on what you want to spend your career doing, but demand may also be a factor. Speak to your consultant and find out which are the high-demand areas.
- Begin to draft a CV. It needn’t be the finished article, indeed with seats still to complete, it's unlikely it can be. Nevertheless, getting a basic format in place and listing key points as you progress now, will save a great deal of time later.
- Build your market knowledge. Look into the relevant firms in your target markets, check out the profiles of lawyers in the practice area(s) and location(s) you are considering, get up to speed with what might be different if practising overseas.
Stage Two: Final Preparations (ideally start 5-6 months from qualification)
- Finish your CV and profile. Produce a final draft CV for discussion with your consultant. We will proofread it, offer advice on areas that could be improved and discuss with you to ensure you’re not missing anything out. A well-crafted profile can be invaluable in outlining your motivations for making the move.
- Address any reservations. If you have concerns, about the move or about your application, now is the time to address them with your consultant. When it gets to interview, firms are looking for people who are committed - if they sense you are half-hearted in your interest, they will err on the side of caution.
- Agree on a strategy. Virtually all international markets are smaller than London. Approaches need to be targeted, timed right and well considered. This is not a process where it pays to send your CV to every firm in your chosen location on day one. We will discuss this with you and agree on a strategy.
Stage Three: Get the job (typically within the final 6 months of your training contract)
- Testing. Many international roles will have some form of testing at NQ level. We can advise you on the logistics and what to expect (within reason). We can also ensure that you get feedback as soon as possible on completion.
- Interviews. Your first stage interview (and indeed in some cases the whole process) will be over Skype or a similar platform. We will coach you on what to expect (international interviews will be different) and how to ensure you give the best impression possible.
- Visits. Occasionally, depending on location, the final stage of the process may involve a visit. By this point you have one hand on the job so with some careful preparation, an offer is now looking likely.
- Offers. We will have ensured that by now you have a good idea of what to expect in terms of salary and benefits, and if you get more than one offer, we will aim to act as a sounding board to help you make the best decision for you and your career.
- Relocation. By this stage, you will be in regular contact with the HR team of the firm you are joining, but we will be on call to assist with any queries such as shipping or start dates.
If you have any questions about this or you would like to talk through your international NQ options more generally, contact Jason or Charlotte in our international team at: