How to get a training contract...
How to get a training contract...
You’ve sweated blood preparing for exams, drowned in a torrent of text books, haemorrhaged money on a law degree and BANG, there’s not even a shard light at the end of the tunnel. What’s worse is that is seems like everyone on your course have landed a training contract, their GDL and LPC feed are paid for and, to add insult to injury, they’ve got a cosy maintenance grant to boot. You can’t help but panic…
Suddenly that image of you barking orders at your PA, dining with clients in Tokyo and reclining in your leather chair, admiring London’s skyline from your penthouse wilt into a heap of smouldering nothings. For many people, the training contract-the end goal of years of study- will be a distant, unobtainable dream. The standards are high and the competition is fierce which means, realistically, that you’ve got to be at the top of the game to be in with a chance. Stomach-churning stuff- but with over 2,000 applicants for, an average of 85 places each year, the odds are, unfortunately, against you.
If you’ve managed A- grades at A-level, have a good 2.1 from a top university and have single-handedly found the cure for cancer, then you’re laughing but for mere mortals the reality looks gloomy. Only an age-old piece of advice can save you from heading down to your nearest Jobcentre, or local off licence- DON’T GIVE UP, simple as that. Little comfort, I know, but with some old-fashioned elbow grease and bucket full of self-confidence, there may be a glittering legal career waiting for you still.
Getting a training contract that is right for you:
Ask yourself what you really want from a legal career. Some people are better suited to competition, stress and long hours in the office but other will find it job hell. It’s really a case of small and intimate versus loud, hectic and brash. Do you want to practice family law in a small regional firm, human rights law abroad, or can you see yourself handling billion pound mergers and acquisitions at a leading law firm. Remember, not everyone is cut out for the Magic Circle, and it is, in now way, a reflection of you capabilities. If you’re not cut out for the corporate world then don’t apply to corporate firms, it’ll just be waste of their and your time.
Set the glossy brochure aside and forget about the swanky gym. Think about the culture of the firm and whether you see yourself fitting it. The best way to do this is, of course, to do as much work experience as you can. Being proactive can only weigh in your favour, and the more you can boast on your CV, the more appealing you will be to a future employer. Anything that will highlight your skills and aptitudes, make sure you include it on your resume. If you’ve volunteered abroad, at a local school or entertained a gaggle of grannies at Butlins holiday camp, whack it down. It will show you that you have a variety of skills and interests that can be transferred to the workplace making you instantly more employable. Summer placements at a law firm can be infamously hard to get to the more you have the more is proves your dedication to the profession and, of course, they will help you decide where you most fit in. Everyone’s a winner.
Find out everything that you can about the firm you are applying to. Are they downsizing or expanding? What does the future of the company look like? Checking the practice’s press releases will give you a good idea of how things are shaping up for the company. Read as many legal publications as you can-basically, get as much information on the firm and, of course, other firms as you possibly can. It will help you make a more informed choice.
Applications forms determine whether you will you get an interview or not- they are your meal ticket to a career in law, so use them wisely. So what will get your application sitting on the yes pile and not lying crumpled in the bin. Firstly, good spelling, grammar and clarity are a must. It shows you are meticulous, pay attention to detail and therefore have the hallmarks of a great potential lawyer.
Employers have to sift to thousands of applications. What is going to make yours standout? Without coming across as a loon, try and be a interesting, different and engaging as possible. You know you’ve got a brilliant personality and that you can do anything you set your mind to, so make sure the employer knows that too-you’ve only got the one chance. Do some great PR for yourself and boast your achievements. Head boy at school? Run a marathon? Volunteered at an animal shelter? Edited a school magazine? These are all qualities which will make you a winner and not a binner. Just don’t lie…you’ll soon be caught out.
Try and get your application checked by others. They’ll be able to spot mistakes and give you advice.
Firstly, well done, you have an interview because the employers want to know more about you.
Make sure you are dressed the part (pristine work outfit) smile, exude confidence and pay attention to your body language. Of course, having to do all three when you heart is hammering away at your rib cage is tricky, but being fully prepared for the event will help you to relax and feel more in control.
Make eye contact, smile, look enthusiastic and try not to ‘overact’ or come across too eager. Display good ‘social skills’ so that your employers are confident you could hold meetings with clients.
Questions that will almost certainly be asked are:
• What has motivated you to become a lawyer?
• Why do you want to work for this firm?
• What do you have to offer than others don’t?
• Why do you want the job?
• What drives you to achieve your objective?
• Tell me about a problem that you have solved?
• Tell me about yourself
A popular question, which many candidates are usually caught off guard by is a question on current affairs so be sure to read the news regularly. Employers will be seeing if you can argue and defend your point confidently and concisely.
To avoid any faux-pas make sure that you research the firm well. Has it acquired any big clients, done something newsworthy or won any awards. It’s also worth prepping up on any setbacks the firm might have experienced-you don’t want to fall at the last hurdle!
If you are not sure about what is fully expected of you at the interview then contact the recruitment department and ask them to clarify. Many firms provide interview information on their websites and some even provide practice copies of exams to help you.
Remember, if you don’t get the grades you were predicted, then make sure you still contact the recruitment department, explain your circumstances and get a tutor to back you with a formal statement.
• More than half of law finalists hope to get a training contract in London, while just 11% plan to work in the North
• Fewer than half of finalists questioned thought they would remain with their first firm after qualifying as a lawyer
• Almost a quarter thought that they would be earning more than £100,000 by the age of 30
• When choosing a firm to apply to, finalists put most weight on the quality of training offered, the firm’s reputation and starting salary.
• 10% of final year students from the UK’s top 20 universities are planning to work as lawyers with more than half wanting to work for national or international law firms in London.
• Corporate and real estate are the two most popular areas of law
Top stops for law graduates:
1. Linklaters 2. Allen & Overy 3. Clifford Chance 4. Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer 5. Slaughter and May 6. Eversheds 7. Herbert Smith 8. Lovells 9. Baker & McKenzie 10. Simmons & Simmons 11. DLA Piper 12. Norton Rose 13. Ashurst 14. Addleshaw Goddard 15. Pinsent Masons 16. Olswang 17. Berwin Leighton Paisner 18. White & Case 19. CMS Cameron McKenna 20. Government Legal Service
- Giving up Law?
- Is it still 'cool' to be a lawyer?
- First national career structure for legal secretaries created
- The Lost Law Graduates
- Top Tips for Planning Your Planning
- A day in the life of a...legal secretary
- Be Drop Dead Brilliant
- The Secret to Effective Communication
- So you want to be a paralegal?
- So you want to be a barrister?
- Have a great career as a Legal Secretary
- Is the City for you?
- Bar Council publishes first ever Bar Handbook
- You're Never Too Old To Enter Law
- Moving To The Big Smoke To Start A Traineeship?
- For The Greater Good - Future Lawyers and Pro Bono
- Feeling good about your career in the New Year
- Cruising Whilst You're Schmoozin
- Cambridge University Targets Support Staff
- Lawyers And Support Staff The Chance To Get 'Back To Practice'
- Law Care Launches New Feature to Provide Further Help and Advice
- Top Ten CV Credit Crunching Tips
- Junior Lawyers Division offers survival skills during downturn..
- Feature: Deciphering the new LPCs...
- Volunteer and Gap Year Group bombarded by applications
- Feature: I'm a lawyer...get me out of here
- Mental Toughness: The Key to Resilience in Tough Times
- Thinking of working virtually? - You've come to the right place.
- Career advice: Does your career look good on paper but really...
- Disappointed students should not write off a legal career....
- Quick And Dirty Ways To Beat The January Job Blues
- Legal Success Part 1: Good Advocacy
- Legal Success Part 2: A Great Instructing Solicitor
- Legal Success Part 3: A Great Junior
- Legal Success Part 4: Ten Things Judges Hate about Advocates
- Why These Meetings?
- Lessons from the Greats
- Open or Closed?
- Out With Tradition, In With Apprenticeships
- Prepare to Move for Earlier Partnership