How do I tell my training firm I’m accepting an NQ position elsewhere?

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One soon-to-be associate needs readers’ help

In the latest instalment in our Career Conundrums series, one soon-to-be associate needs advice on how to go about explaining to her training firm that she won’t be sticking around for much longer.

“I am a final seat trainee (due to qualify in March 2019). I have two offers for newly-qualified (NQ) positions at other law firms. My training firm has not yet decided whether they have a budget to keep on the qualifying trainees in March. Whether or not my training firm has a position for me, I will accept one of the other firms as they are both considerable ‘step ups’ and in my preferred location.

My question is, how I deal with: (1) Breaking the news to my training firm; (2) Rejecting any offers my training firm bring my way (should I tell them about my offers first and ask to be withdrawn from the internal considerations); (3) The awkward questions that arise from partners catching up with me around the office and no doubt being ‘miffed’ that I’ve chosen to leave. I’d be keen to hear from anyone else who has rejected their training firm for another offer elsewhere and how they dealt with it.”

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In the everlasting words of Nike, “Just Do It”.

If you’re going to have a “step up” in terms of firm then be responsible, thank your firm for their time and state that you’ve accepted an NQ position elsewhere.

Why hamstring yourself when the firm you’re training with may not even have budget to keep you on?

Thank u, next.






Take a big smelly dump on the managing partner’s desk. That’ll do it.

Alternatively, accept one of your offers, get it all signed and in writing etc, then go and tell the appropriate person at your firm (probably HR?) that you are leaving. Honestly how on Earth have you got through a training contract if you can’t work this out.

I got an offer from my current (training) firm and another firm and told my current firm I was deciding between the two. The partners took me for coffee to sell it to me and I eventually chose to stay. Man up and get on with it Jesus Christ.



Agree expect not with the proposed in para 1. 😄









Are you sure ?

Anonymous chancery barrister

You should tell them about your other offers and ask to be withdrawn from their process. A polite conversation is all that is required.

The partners will be (or at least ought to be) grateful to you for clarifying your position so that they can take account of that in their own budget discussions. If you held your position back, you would just be wasting their time.

Law firms are not families. Its a commercial environment. Do not worry about hurting the partners’ feelings. People leave jobs for all sorts of reasons, particularly if future prospects at the firm are uncertain.



Dear Sir,

Politely withdraw yourself from my “process”.

Yours sincerely,




Man up.



Use the following template…

‘Dear Sir or Madam,

Cheers for offering me at a cheeky TC at [insert name of inadequate sweatshop here].

However, I have been offered a top, topper position at Greenberg Glusker LLP, the Firm That Was Promised, the One Firm to Rule Them All.

Therefore, unless I am injured in a freak Shanghai badminton accident in the meantime, I shall have to decline your putrid offer of servitude.

Yours titanically,

[Fictional Legal Cheek clickbaiter]’



Toppest bantz in the Land.



🎶Banta Claus is coming to town!🎶



Banta Claus came... ho ho ho! 🎅🏿

🎶He sees you when you’re sleeping…

He know’s when you’re awake….

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Are you on drugs?


1. Law firms dont have feelings

2. If you had applied for an NQ position at your current firm and they went with a better candidate, they wouldnt even find the time to give you feedback.

3. Tell them you’re off as you feel its better suited to your career needs.

4. Do it and get over and done with it



“How do I tell my training firm I’m accepting an NQ position elsewhere?”

Using your words. You are a big boy/girl now and mummy can’t fight all of your battles for you.

I ask you.


NQ Mummy

You what, mate?



I would keep quiet for as long as possible, simply to make your life as easy as possible, because it is likely that at least one or partners will be “miffed” and you don’t need the hassle if you don’t have to suffer it. You are not obliged to tell them and, frankly, they are doing *exactly* the same thing to you by keeping you in the dark about whether they want to keep you or not.

The earliest you need to tell them is when they decide, and communicate to you, that a “budget” exists to keep you (and btw “budget” is almost certainly not the real reason). Until then, you owe them nothing. If you had no other offers, the boot would be on the other foot and you would be concerned (and possibly worried) about whether or not you had a place to go to in March. Do you think they would factor that into their deliberations about “budget”?



I actually think this is the wrong approach as it could lead to wasted time and souring an otherwise good relationship with partners who OP may work with in the future.

Ultimately, by being courteous and upfront, some partners may (or may not!) be disappointed but at least no-one’s time is being wasted.

People change jobs all the time and, especially if the move is a step up, realistically they are likely to appreciate the reasons for the decision notwithstanding any disappointment they may feel.



Lol good relationships with partners as a trainee. These people have business to bring in, partners, children and mortgages to worry about. They give zero fucks about the associates who work for them let alone some trainee. Open your eyes.



I was in a similar position and moved from a silver circle firm to a US firm on qualification.

I would suggest arranging face to face meetings with the relevant HR person and any partners that have been particularly supportive (eg supervising you in your preferred seat of qualification) to let them know and to thank them. It’s a small world and always good to keep doors open.



Just remember the firm won’t be worrying over letting a number of your cohort go upon qualification.



1. Hand them £9000.



You say ‘I’m taking up an NQ role elsewhere. Here’s my letter of resignation. Thanks for everything’.



Will legal cheek stop deleting comments. Thank u, next.



We used to know the extent of the deletions when we had a “this comment has been removed…etc” but now there’s no trace.




As people said here above, the firm would not care about you and how you feel so why should you? We are mercenaries in suits and work for the highest / most suitable bidder. Nothing personal.

Oh and btw, do not send that ridiculous email preaching how “it was lovely to work with all of you, fantastic memories bla bla, here is my personal email let’s stay in touch” – you will be forgotten pretty much as soon as you leave the building once your last day comes, and it would be like you have never existed.



LLL smashing the city



Pure, top, top City mercenary right there.



She/he is right though.



Cool story brah, changed my views.



As them to match the Greenberg Glusker LLP scale.



F*ck your training firm. If they valued you enough you’d have got an offer long ago.



Absolutely do not tell them. Wait for them to decide and at that point make them wait as long as you can before telling them to go fuck themselves.

I have the absolute best qualification story. My firm had a practice of ignoring all enquires, no matter how respectfully made, by trainees asking if they were being kept on, until AFTER the date of qualification. The firm would wait until you were out of contract altogether before then either telling you to stop coming in (and also no longer paying you for the few days you spent working without any contract) or offering you a solicitor contract when they absolutely knew that you had nowhere else to go. The salaries they offered at this point were approximately 50% of the market rate.

Knowing this in advance I secured an NQ position elsewhere. I also arranged a mediation in another part of the country that I was due to attend on my own on the Monday after the Friday on which I qualified. By the Monday I was no longer technically employed by the firm. I waited to see if anybody would realise what was about to happen. Despite the shocking organisation of the firm I was still surprised that by the Friday afternoon of my last day, nobody had noticed that there was any risk that I might not turn up.

I later discovered that the client had attended the mediation on their own, they had called the firm to find out why nobody was there, but decided to carry on on their own. They later sued the firm. It was also one of its biggest clients. I still chuckle now about the moment that somebody realised that I was no longer employed by them.

Lesson for firms: don’t fuck trainees around on qualification because we can and will fuck you back.



Cool story brah



Amazing story!



Top story



Top, top titan of a story.



Today, on stories that never happened…






Names or it didn’t happen.



I smell, I said I smell:

buh buhl



I was in the same position and informed my firm as soon as the ink was dry on my accepted NQ contract. Everyone has respected my honesty and been supportive – stringing them along would have been much worse.



Email to HR. Email to supervisor. Done


Channeling Malcolm Tucker

“Fuckity bye”


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