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Vac Schemes 2012: The early bird catches the firm!

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    Right, I'm at KCL, I averaged 66 in my exams. On balance, considering I have fairly strong extra-curricular malarky and work experience, what sort of firms can I HONESTLY be looking at (no BS) I have very strong A-Levels and GCSES, not going to list them out, but all A's at AS and A Level and GCSE - realistically do I have any shot at MC firms?


    Furthermore I am extremely lazy to trawl through threads. But can anyone give me a brief insight to the work/life balance at City firms. I am prepared to work my tits off as long as there is SOME social allowance. I don't want to be so worked that I can only feel comfortable having a pint once every two months or something ridiculous.
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    P.S. is there any website which lists the number of VS places available for each firm?
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    (Original post by chriswalker)
    Right, I'm at KCL, I averaged 66 in my exams. On balance, considering I have fairly strong extra-curricular malarky and work experience, what sort of firms can I HONESTLY be looking at (no BS) I have very strong A-Levels and GCSES, not going to list them out, but all A's at AS and A Level and GCSE - realistically do I have any shot at MC firms?


    Furthermore I am extremely lazy to trawl through threads. But can anyone give me a brief insight to the work/life balance at City firms. I am prepared to work my tits off as long as there is SOME social allowance. I don't want to be so worked that I can only feel comfortable having a pint once every two months or something ridiculous.
    Hi Chris, congratulations on your results.

    I averaged 68 and have been told I shouldn't have any problems applying for VS/TCs. I don't know why you're concerned, you got a very strong 2:1 and you should be pleased. My contacts in the firms have all told me that 65 and above is very strong for first year.

    ***You should be looking at the firms you want to look at (your grades and work experience will help). People on here can't tell you which firms to apply to because the recruiters will be able to tell you're not genuinely interested in them or haven't researched them. The point is to research firms which interest you and the best place to start research is the firm websites and then hopefully making it to an open day to get a genuine feel for the firm.***

    If one of us told you 'apply to A&O, Baker & McKenzie, Travers Smith etc' we wouldn't be helping you.

    In answer to your last point, most firms will tell you there is a good work/life balance but one firm that pioneered an 'alternative' brochure and set the record straight on what life as a trainee really is like is Freshfields. The salaries in city law are high for a reason; they expect hard work.

    It's slightly concerning you admit to being too lazy to trawl through threads - graduate recruiters suggest researching firms properly takes up to three weeks! Motivation and organization is therefore a must!
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    (Original post by chriswalker)
    P.S. is there any website which lists the number of VS places available for each firm?
    Yes, the firm websites.
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    I have a just completed my second year of four year non-law degree; I have quite a lot of non-law related work experience and alright academics... I am really not sure what to do with regards to applying for vac schemes, as most firms recommend applying in my final year. Would it be worth applying this year?
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    (Original post by chriswalker)
    Right, I'm at KCL, I averaged 66 in my exams. On balance, considering I have fairly strong extra-curricular malarky and work experience, what sort of firms can I HONESTLY be looking at (no BS) I have very strong A-Levels and GCSES, not going to list them out, but all A's at AS and A Level and GCSE - realistically do I have any shot at MC firms?


    Furthermore I am extremely lazy to trawl through threads. But can anyone give me a brief insight to the work/life balance at City firms. I am prepared to work my tits off as long as there is SOME social allowance. I don't want to be so worked that I can only feel comfortable having a pint once every two months or something ridiculous.
    You are qualified to have a shot at MC and other large City firms.

    It's much harder to answer the work/life question as so much is contingent on the practice area you happen to be sat in at the time/how busy they are/what's happening in the market/how organised your supervisor is/how unreasonable your client is/how much emphasis there is on face time/billable hours at your particular firm.

    Having not yet started my TC, my impression is that the balance can be better than in some IB jobs. But you are at the beck and call of these people, who are intensely deal driven and work on transnational stuff which isn't too fussy about time zones.

    According to the Association of Graduate Recruiters (which includes most of the MC firms), law is one of the best remunerated of graduate careers. You don't get paid £60K+ in your mid 20s without earning it.
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    Hey just got my results just got a few questions:

    1) I'm doing a joint honors Law and French LLB at Cardiff and got a 60% average and so would meet the 2:1 standard however, simply based on law modules I would have got a 58% average does this matter?

    2)As i'm doing a 4 year course do I apply this year or next year?

    3) So far i've done 2 weeks worth of work exp in two big law firms and have another weeks worth of exp in August. I am also president of the french society and have a number of other extra curricular achievements i'm not too bothered about MC firms but is this enough for a large firm outside london?

    Many thanks
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    (Original post by sooty230)
    Hey just got my results just got a few questions:

    1) I'm doing a joint honors Law and French LLB at Cardiff and got a 60% average and so would meet the 2:1 standard however, simply based on law modules I would have got a 58% average does this matter?

    2)As i'm doing a 4 year course do I apply this year or next year?

    3) So far i've done 2 weeks worth of work exp in two big law firms and have another weeks worth of exp in August. I am also president of the french society and have a number of other extra curricular achievements i'm not too bothered about MC firms but is this enough for a large firm outside london?

    Many thanks
    Hi sooty230,

    I can help you with the second question cause I am doing a 4 year degree as well.
    Most of the firms require that you're in your penultimate year as they want you available to start the training contract one year after you graduate. However, it's good to always double check on the websites, some firms such as A&O also accept applications from 2nd year students who are doing a 4 year course, so you can either email them or give them a call.
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    chriswalker,

    My housemate's boyfriend is a trainee at a City firm. He earns around 35k.

    He worked out he earned about £10 per hour.

    Typical working day 9-7:30/8, according to seat.

    80-100 hour weeks fairly common I believe, again according to which seat you are in.
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    Thanks for your help so does that mean i'll have my second year results to go on as well because hopefully they will be alot better ...
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    Your accent won't be a problem as quite a number of trainees are not native speakers.

    Your academics sound good and if from a strong uni even better. If you fancy the MC, I would be surprised if you didn't get interviews.

    But the lack of ECs could be a real problem for some firms - the ones that have application forms with the "tell us about a time when you overcame a challenge" etc. I think you'll struggle to find enough varied examples without ECs/volunteering to draw on. This could offset your first as you run the risk of seeming like someone who spent their time at uni in the library

    Maybe apply first to the firms that ask only for CV and covering letter?

    (Original post by Caroline_)
    Hi guys! So nice to see other early birds here

    I've got two questions and it would be really nice if I could get some advice.

    First, how would you rate my chances of getting a scheme at a top City Firm. To get an idea, I am currently looking at firms such as Pinsent Masons and Hogan Lovells.
    My strongest point are my grades, I have one 66%, otherwise it's all first and above 70% average. My highest results are in important subjects such as Contract and EU.
    I have ok general work experience, some legal experience and then almost no extracurriculars at uni which I see as my main weakness. I do have clubs and stuff from high school though which I can talk about.

    Also, how many firms do you think I should apply to? I do not want to burden myself with too many average applications but then I also want to be sure that I will get something.


    Second, I am not English (born in Germany) and I have an accent in English, so do you think this would have any effect on how successful my interviews are? I have actually never thought about this before but I read somewhere here that they mocked an English person about his accent and that stressed me out..

    Thanks.
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    1) Where are you thinking of applying?
    clifford chance
    linklaters
    dla piper
    freshfields
    haven't decided on any others for sure yet.

    2) How are you going about preparing for the process?
    well, just using the websites and books and student guides/chambers guides etc to get a feel for each firm and their application process. few open days towards the end of first year.

    3) How are you getting the coveted 'commercial awareness'?
    done a workshop with bpp, standard business news, economist, eventually ft. reading books about the area..

    4) Why commercial/corporate law and why are YOU right for commercial/corporate law?
    mainly because it's the best way to get a job and get a good legal experience/education at this stage of her career. haha might have to tweak this a bit for interviews though.
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    Good luck to everyone applying in this cycle.
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    (Original post by cocacola2)
    Good luck to everyone applying in this cycle.
    Thanks cocacola!

    And many thanks to our contributors who have been through the process already, I hope you will stay with us
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    I got my results today and got 65% overall However, I got 2.2's in two of my modules. Do you think it is still worth me applying to city firms for vs's?

    My module grades were 67,65,65,62,50 (20 credit modules) 100, 57 (10 credit modules).
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    (Original post by hmaus)
    Well done. I think it's definitely still worth applying for city firms. From those grades you are clearly heading for a good 2.1 so I don't think a couple of little blips will be much of an issue, although you might be asked about the 50 at some firms.

    What did you get 100 on?!
    Thank you Eughhhh I hate poetry so much, never studying it again. The 100% was in Latin.

    Has anyone here managed to gain a vacation scheme with a city firm with 2.2's in a couple of modules?

    Also, do any of you more experienced applicants know if any firms just ask for your overall grade? Or do you have to declare your modular marks on all application forms? When I did a workshop with Eversheds, the recruitment partner said they only ask for overall grades, so I'm wondering how common this is.
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    (Original post by laura_802)
    Thank you Eughhhh I hate poetry so much, never studying it again. The 100% was in Latin.

    Has anyone here managed to gain a vacation scheme with a city firm with 2.2's in a couple of modules?

    Also, do any of you more experienced applicants know if any firms just ask for your overall grade? Or do you have to declare your modular marks on all application forms? When I did a workshop with Eversheds, the recruitment partner said they only ask for overall grades, so I'm wondering how common this is.
    Firms almost always ask for module marks.
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    (Original post by laura_802)
    Thank you Eughhhh I hate poetry so much, never studying it again. The 100% was in Latin.

    Has anyone here managed to gain a vacation scheme with a city firm with 2.2's in a couple of modules?

    Also, do any of you more experienced applicants know if any firms just ask for your overall grade? Or do you have to declare your modular marks on all application forms? When I did a workshop with Eversheds, the recruitment partner said they only ask for overall grades, so I'm wondering how common this is.
    I secured two vac schemes with very good firms in spite of some irregular first year marks. I only did three modules, but got a low first in one, a low 2.1 in the second, and a mid-2.2 in the third for an average of 63%. You should be fine.
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    I averaged a 2:2 overall in my first year and ended up with a 2:2 in contract (also in my first year) so i am applying for vac schemes in my third year instead of 2nd year. I have just got my second year grades back and I averaged a first overall. Will i stand much chance if I apply to MC/SC firms. I have all A's at A level along with all A*/A's at GCSE and i go to a Russel Group university.
    From the feedback i received in my first year my handwriting was illegible and this affected my marks and so I improved on this and that is what i believe helped me attain a first in my second year.
    Any advice would be greatly appreciated
    If you do reply please could you qoute me so i can see that you have replied
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    (Original post by trollman)
    Did I meet you a the open day? I was wearing a blue and white stripped tie?
    Not sure! I was pretty quiet at the open day unlike most of the attendees who I found to be very bolshie and intimidating.I was also surprised at the number of graduates there, who are self funding their GDL and LPS courses without sponsor. It was quite depressing seeing the sheer competition.

    And I didn't take notice of anyone's tie colours! I remember one person wearing what looked like a school tie, (wouldn't reccommend this!!) though? With very long brown hair?
Updated: November 30, 2012
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