What do magic circle NQs do, exactly?

Interested in knowing what NQs/1PQE do in various different depts that justifies  £100k/pa

Like literally - what is physically done in  typical day/week? 

What skills are on display?

What is an NQ responsible for?



This speaks to the salary level of posters on this forum

100k is nothing 

When I say hey I earn 10 times your salary, people here are rude

it is tax free, I don’t work hard and it makes people mad

here is the hate that an NQ at a mediocre U.K. firm earns more than them as a senior or partner 

it is hilarious 

What skills are on display?

Being exceptionally eager all the time. Core skill.

There will be solicitors of several years pqe doing more Intellectually challenging work in-house/smaller law firms for less. 

Run comparisons against the last deal and make the same comments. 

They do deals. Did you never read the Gazette before they turned it into the attention-repelling bland fest that it is today?

They used to have a column about dealiest deal, but deal making deal, big time deal deal, and all that stuff.

I miss the old gazette, back when it was basically like White Dwarf for the legal profession.

Compare and contrast: 

  • White Dwarf: Updates to Space Marine bolter rules now mean that making an unmodified attack roll against any chaos opponent gives you a 2+ AP, auto-reroll on a 1, and area of effect of 2" around the centre of the target model, but not vertically.
  • The Gazette: Updates to P36 now mean that indemnity costs kick in if your offer was great than 21 days before trial, but less than 35 days, not including the second sunday after pentecost, and assuming that the eventual agreement is not less than 10% of any Court mandated amount, subject to inflation.

White Dwarf has better pictures, obviously, but what publication wouldn't be enhanced by a regular column by TV Edwards? Man, I used to live for his column.

Just kidding. It was as dull as the entire gazette now is.

Like everyone else, I only ever used to read the SRA decision pages, and Obiter.

Also, they will shortly do 35 hours of pro bono work.

And, little known fact, every Friday, every team in every magic circle firm orders a barrel of guacamole and artisanal italian breads and has a feeding frenzy. This is why you will sometimes not be able to reach them by phone.

This is The Siblinghood Of The Avodaco (previously The Brotherhood). No one outside The City Firms has heard of it. If you're at a magic circle firm and have never heard of it, it's because you've not been invited.

Try harder.

In transactional:

- they project manage the deliverables to the deal. There are hundreds of letters, documents, to get agreed, signed and delivered to where they need to be across multiple jurisdictions in very tight timeframes

- they mark up and turn basic documents that seniors have supervised them on

- they host meetings to get sign off from directors, do summaries, searches, cross the t and dot the i etc etc 

They might not be negotiating the main terms in the SPA or the loan doc but they need to start at the bottom to be able to do that when they reach a senior level. Likewise the partner couldn't do a deal on their own so they are crucial to the deal - it's a team.

NQs /1-2 PQE also have absolutely no control over their hours / life / working day or schedule. The money covers all of that. 

Load of bollocks - people attempting to explain transactional work heh

They have some control over hours and life too

This is all typical ROF - people earn more than me? *scowl* well they're all miserable and don't have a life

You are a seriously unwell man. Please seek help 

When I was an NQ, it was pretty much doing everything on flow work with sign-offs from partners, transaction managing, some negotiating and first cut drafting for more complex stuff and research/first cut drafting on advisory.

Some did less than that, some did the same.  And it varied significantly between departments.

Cheers. I wish I'd become a transactional lawyer. I could really use £200k/pa

£200k isn't all that, you pay crazy tax on it for a start.

Good grief - no one has mentioned photocopying!

Of all the weird rof misconceptions, the idea that anyone in a top firm has used a photocopier any time after 2003 was one of the most inexplicably long-lasting.

Pretty sure even the bronze medallion stopped photocopying some time around 2009.

That’s the answer we already knew, thanks for confirming Orwell.

Back to the OP, I think what justifies the salary is the acceptance that you could get horribly beasted at any time and the only acceptable response would be thank you.

This is all typical ROF - people earn more than me? *scowl* well they're all miserable and don't have a life

See also - “anyone who works outside London is a loser because working in immigration law from a tiny office above a chicken shop in Holborn is obviously better than working for Maples or a Magic Circle firm in the Middle East or Asia”. 

That’s the answer we already knew, thanks for confirming Orwell. 


Yes Coffee they are now busy scanning for the electronic bible rather than producing hard copies.

These are trainee tasks. Maybe NQ possibly. Lev fin is full of ridiculous CP checklists.

US firms have NQs sort of running things as a junior project manager. Still need a lot of handholding and training, but they aren't getting their hand held to do ad hoc tasks like the above. They will get trainees to do it and check their work.

Pretty sure even the bronze medallion stopped photocopying some time around 2009.

I did quite a lot of photocopy work during my tax seat in a bronze medallion firm in 2012. It was actually a top tier BM firm although still resolutely BM. In my limited defence it was quite complex photocopying.




what's bronze medallion

god i'm so glad i never did this uk sh1te firm thing

it's basically: Dubai----------------------------------------------------------------------->US ------------------------------------->MC-->Everything else (Simmons, Eversheds, Travers, Taylor Wessing, CMS, Norton Rose)------------>whatever is left-->hell

Sub silver circle but still respectable in some ways I think. 

TopDawg01 Oct 21 12:46

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This speaks to the salary level of posters on this forum

100k is nothing 


Why are you so aggressively boastful? Like, what's in it for you?

100k is a lot. That's just a fact. It's 4x national average and puts you in the top 1-2% of income earners. It will put you in the top 0.1% of NQ lawyers and probably top 5% of all lawyers earnings regardless of PQE


And there just isn't enough space for all lawyers to work in dubai. So people have to make do elsewhere. Why crap all over other people's choices? 

Can you really say that objectively your job/dubai is the best, when you could not possibly attempt to value non monetary considerations like - living near friends or family. You can't. 

Not even Ungrammatical/Hugh G Rection was this bad and he was bad. 


litc m7, he’s just on a wind up

it’s a persona, ignore it

It is anywhere between 40-60% persona, but I do think 100k is nothing.

It's a lot for a greengrocer or someone unemployed in Darlington. 

Law is a tedious job with some upsides, if you're getting paid less than someone at Eversheds, you're wasting your life. I'd rather do 10000 jobs than work at somewhere bottom of the market paying anyone senior less than 100k.

I make wonderful amounts of money, and if you're not good or are not lucky enough to get into Dubai or a half decent firm in London, I don't regard that as a life choice, rather than driving through with bad decisions and being unable to accept bad news.

If someone in London at any firm in a similar position was paid a dirham more than me after tax, I would go postal.


£100k is probably what partners of an average provincial firm would have been making in the 1980s tbf.