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Am I too old to become a solicitor?please advise

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    Hello,

    I graduated in 2008 with a 2.2 in law due to extreme extenuating circumstances (I have academic proof letter for that), I then did a masters in medical law, hoping this would make it easier for me to do personal injury in the future. I was very unaware of what the right steps into law were at that time and due to personal difficulties and homelessness I completely gave up on my career dreams and time moved on until now, where I m back on my feet and looking for a way to get back on track. I am however really disheartened as I have been applying for paralegal jobs on websites and have only had 4 interviews in 2 years.

    Do you think I am too old to find something now? I am almost 26 years old, and currently working as a legal assistant (do you think this counts as legal experience?)

    What do you think are my options now?

    I saw this fast track ILEX package which looks appealing but then I have been thinking about an LPC which of course is too expensive and there are no guarantees.

    I am really frustrated and I would really appreciate any encouraging but also honest advice.

    Thank you all
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    While your 2.2 may (I say MAY) be an issue in certain places, your age will not count against you. In fact, you can quite easily turn it into a positive by showing that you are more rounded and experienced than younger candidates. Bring the experience you already have to bear on the core skill requirements
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    I don't consider 26 to be old. I'll be starting pupillage this year as a 26 year old, and there are older candidates than me. I think you'll have demonstrate some pretty decent experience though, to make up for the academics. It's all very well having extenuating circumstances, but HR/recruitment departments have hearts of stone and low grades are reason enough to bin straight away. What were your a-levels? Which university did you attend? The only thing that will prevent that attitude is some stand-out items on your CV.

    I'm sorry if that sounds harsh, but you must realistically assess your prospects.
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    (Original post by pleb1)
    While your 2.2 may (I say MAY) be an issue in certain places, your age will not count against you. In fact, you can quite easily turn it into a positive by showing that you are more rounded and experienced than younger candidates. Bring the experience you already have to bear on the core skill requirements
    In the current environment, I'd say a 2.2 is ALWAYS an issue. Even those who do manage to get TCs/pupillage with a 2.2 have had to compensate massively in some other way.
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    but what about my 65% in my masters degree, i did a masters mainly to improve my overall academic image. I have outstanding reference letters from a lawyer i worked for in my home country which of course I cannot unfortunately include in my applications-it looks a bit too desperate, and in my a levels I got an A* in all modules

    do you think that doing more training, i.e. ilex would make me more appealing? its hard for me to believe that people with 2.2 have no chance. Im a very intelligent individual with a very genuine passion for advocacy regardless of the fact that I say so myself. isnt there a way for me in now?

    I did my law degree in Lancaster university and my masters in Cardiff University.

    thank you
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    (Original post by blueskyuser)
    but what about my 65% in my masters degree, i did a masters mainly to improve my overall academic image.
    The general consensus (from these forums, people who have landed TCs, ROF and graduate recruiters) seems to be that a masters doesn't compensate for poor degree marks...
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    it is like you are all telling me its over?! there must be something I can do. any suggestions? what about ILEX?
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    (Original post by blueskyuser)
    it is like you are all telling me its over?! there must be something I can do. any suggestions? what about ILEX?
    Your not too old.

    All is not loss if you can find fee earning employment.

    Your masters means nothing realistically unfortunately, in the firms that want academics they only look at the undergrad and in the firms which are not bothered about grades (ie a few high st places where you would have been working/clerking anyway) they dont care about grades period!

    So with a 2.2 , realistically any TC will probably have to come through contacts ie where you currently work - is this feasable?

    Else yes ILEX - you could register as a graddy member now, then do your level 6 exams while racking up the 5 years employment (is your current role fee earning? This may count.)

    If you still want to be a solicitor after qualifying as an exec you can do the LPC and become a solicitor. Note the LPC must be done after your an ilex so you need to take the desicion over whether its worth taking the risk to do the lpc before that without a tc hoping for one - i would say no.
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    I'll be 39 when I finish the LPC.
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    (Original post by FMQ)
    Your not too old.

    All is not loss if you can find fee earning employment.

    Your masters means nothing realistically unfortunately, in the firms that want academics they only look at the undergrad and in the firms which are not bothered about grades (ie a few high st places where you would have been working/clerking anyway) they dont care about grades period!

    So with a 2.2 , realistically any TC will probably have to come through contacts ie where you currently work - is this feasable?


    If you still want to be a solicitor after qualifying as an exec you can do the LPC and become a solicitor. Note the LPC must be done after your an ilex so you need to take the desicion over whether its worth taking the risk to do the lpc before that without a tc hoping for one - i would say no.
    I work in a property management as a legal assistant. I dont think they would appreciate me asking for contacts as they want me to stay there. However I have written a list of all firms they work with in order to contact them. Do you think my experience as a legal assistant will make me look more appealing to employers? the way I see it, is that I tried to find a basic role related to law, instead of volunteering so that I would a) prove my determination to enter the legal prof. and b) gain some valuable experience that others gain through volunteering.

    thank you for your help so far
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    (Original post by blueskyuser)
    Hello,

    I graduated in 2008 with a 2.2 in law due to extreme extenuating circumstances (I have academic proof letter for that), I then did a masters in medical law, hoping this would make it easier for me to do personal injury in the future. I was very unaware of what the right steps into law were at that time and due to personal difficulties and homelessness I completely gave up on my career dreams and time moved on until now, where I m back on my feet and looking for a way to get back on track. I am however really disheartened as I have been applying for paralegal jobs on websites and have only had 4 interviews in 2 years.

    Do you think I am too old to find something now? I am almost 26 years old, and currently working as a legal assistant (do you think this counts as legal experience?)

    What do you think are my options now?

    I saw this fast track ILEX package which looks appealing but then I have been thinking about an LPC which of course is too expensive and there are no guarantees.

    I am really frustrated and I would really appreciate any encouraging but also honest advice.

    Thank you all

    This guy knows his stuff, so hopefuly he can help you out
    (Original post by roh)
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    (Original post by bestofyou)
    This guy knows his stuff, so hopefuly he can help you out
    yeh I know he is pretty good and he doesnt really dishearten me
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    (Original post by blueskyuser)
    I work in a property management as a legal assistant. I dont think they would appreciate me asking for contacts as they want me to stay there. However I have written a list of all firms they work with in order to contact them. Do you think my experience as a legal assistant will make me look more appealing to employers? the way I see it, is that I tried to find a basic role related to law, instead of volunteering so that I would a) prove my determination to enter the legal prof. and b) gain some valuable experience that others gain through volunteering.

    thank you for your help so far
    Any legal experience is good, especially if you want to go into property leasing etc.

    I can't predict your chances - TCs come from

    1) CVs and personal qualities in the round - qualifications, experience etc getting you to the paper sift and your personality and/or skill set fitting at interview.

    2) Personal contacts knowing you have the skills (ie working at that firm in a lesser role)

    All i know is i wouldn't bark on LPC in this climate without a TC lined up I would go the ilex route.

    It doesn't sound like your current job would be the wheat for ilex though but you need to contact them to find out. If not move into paralegaling on the highstreet, jobs are like gold dust but your current experience probably puts you ahead of most applicants who are coming from no practical experience.
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    As Clip shows you're not too old.

    I would say a good tactic should be to try and really work on those firms which will want medical law knowledge, then your masters isn't something they vaguely register whilst still comparing you to others based on your undergrad scores but something that 'adds value'.

    Firms to try if I were you:

    Bevan Brittan (http://www.bevanbrittan.com/careers/...cruitment.aspx) as they will ignore a 2:2 in the event of 3 years 'relevant, commercial experience' which your current work could fulfil. Also, they do a lot of work for the NHS (including NHSLA) so your masters will count for more here.

    Irwin Mitchell ( http://traineerecruitment.irwinmitch...s/default.aspx ), they're less fussed about academics it seems judging by Chambers Student 'how to get into' web extras bit and do a lot of PI, clinical negligence etc. work where your masters will again carry more value than at a normal commercial firm. They also offer ILEX judging by this article: http://l2b.thelawyer.com/pinsents-jo...009572.article

    Two firms with a big focus on health are Capsticks ( http://www.capsticks.com/graduate-recruitment.php ) and Hempsons ( http://www.hempsons.co.uk/join-us/training-contracts/ ) and again would value your masters far more than other firms. Though here a significant proportion of people applying will have something to do with medical law or medicine beyond an LLB.

    Also, Weightmans (http://www.weightmans.com/working_fo...vacancies.aspx ) , judging by people on Roll on Friday who did their vac scheme, are a firm with NHS and NHSLA work who recruit a lot of their trainees from within their paralegals, so if you could land a paralegal role there you could set yourself up for a TC.

    Also, any other firm on the NHSLA or with a substantial number of NHS contracts (DACBeachcroft if they ever open trainee recruitment again) would be able to use you more than most I guess.

    Hope this helps and if you and your superior healthcare qualification could hold off from all these firms I'm applying to until next year that'd be great

    Edit: Just seen you have academic proof of extenuating circumstances so surely they should treat you as equivalent to someone with a 2:1 or at least look into your other academic history a lot more? Maybe email or ring the HR grad bod (they won't mind, it is their job) explaining your personal circumstances before you're going to submit your app and ask if there is a way you can submit whilst circumventing any automatic filters they put in place, frankly if they say no to this it's their loss.

    Also, firms don't necessarily see Lancaster as the sort of uni that takes someone with all A*s at A level (or equivalent I guess, given you're international and A*s didn't exist at the time for British students) and, though they probably shouldn't, may ask why with your grades you went there rather than Oxbridge, LSE, Durham etc. in case it was down to a lack of ambition. Sure you've got a decent response to this though.
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    (Original post by roh)
    As Clip shows you're not too old.

    I would say a good tactic should be to try and really work on those firms which will want medical law knowledge, then your masters isn't something they vaguely register whilst still comparing you to others based on your undergrad scores but something that 'adds value'.

    Firms to try if I were you:

    Bevan Brittan (http://www.bevanbrittan.com/careers/...cruitment.aspx) as they will ignore a 2:2 in the event of 3 years 'relevant, commercial experience' which your current work could fulfil. Also, they do a lot of work for the NHS (including NHSLA) so your masters will count for more here.

    Irwin Mitchell ( http://traineerecruitment.irwinmitch...s/default.aspx ), they're less fussed about academics it seems judging by Chambers Student 'how to get into' web extras bit and do a lot of PI, clinical negligence etc. work where your masters will again carry more value than at a normal commercial firm. They also offer ILEX judging by this article: http://l2b.thelawyer.com/pinsents-jo...009572.article

    Two firms with a big focus on health are Capsticks ( http://www.capsticks.com/graduate-recruitment.php ) and Hempsons ( http://www.hempsons.co.uk/join-us/training-contracts/ ) and again would value your masters far more than other firms. Though here a significant proportion of people applying will have something to do with medical law or medicine beyond an LLB.

    Also, Weightmans (http://www.weightmans.com/working_fo...vacancies.aspx ) , judging by people on Roll on Friday who did their vac scheme, are a firm with NHS and NHSLA work who recruit a lot of their trainees from within their paralegals, so if you could land a paralegal role there you could set yourself up for a TC.

    Also, any other firm on the NHSLA or with a substantial number of NHS contracts (DACBeachcroft if they ever open trainee recruitment again) would be able to use you more than most I guess.

    Hope this helps and if you and your superior healthcare qualification could hold off from all these firms I'm applying to until next year that'd be great

    Edit: Just seen you have academic proof of extenuating circumstances so surely they should treat you as equivalent to someone with a 2:1 or at least look into your other academic history a lot more? Maybe email or ring the HR grad bod (they won't mind, it is their job) explaining your personal circumstances before you're going to submit your app and ask if there is a way you can submit whilst circumventing any automatic filters they put in place, frankly if they say no to this it's their loss.

    Also, firms don't necessarily see Lancaster as the sort of uni that takes someone with all A*s at A level (or equivalent I guess, given you're international and A*s didn't exist at the time for British students) and, though they probably shouldn't, may ask why with your grades you went there rather than Oxbridge, LSE, Durham etc. in case it was down to a lack of ambition. Sure you've got a decent response to this though.
    Indeed I was not very confident when I applied for different universities in the UK and I was guided by my tutor who insisted that attending an easier university would give me the opportunity to get better marks. However, costs of better universities were also an issue. Yes, in my AS levels or whatever they are called, I achieved a distinction which was A at that time. Will definitely look into these firms, and follow your advice.


    Thank you very much on your quick reply and positive comments.
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    (Original post by blueskyuser)
    Indeed I was not very confident when I applied for different universities in the UK and I was guided by my tutor who insisted that attending an easier university would give me the opportunity to get better marks. However, costs of better universities were also an issue. Yes, in my AS levels or whatever they are called, I achieved a distinction which was A at that time. Will definitely look into these firms, and follow your advice.


    Thank you very much on your quick reply and positive comments.
    Sure they'll accept that.

    No offence intended, and I know how it is with French for me, but get an English friend to check over your apps. Your English is excellent, but some of the phrasing isn't that of someone who's totally fluent, you'll pick this up as you spend more time in Britain, but for the moment it would probably help avoid HR thinking you're making a grammar mistake or something, when in fact it's just an unusual way of putting it.
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    thank you for your replies so far. i have never applied at a firm before and i must say i am worried that both my grammar and actual content wont be of the required standard. is there a way i could add you in my contacts fb,msn, email? this doesnt mean i will bombard you with questions really, mainly because you are in the same field

    thanks again
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    (Original post by blueskyuser)
    thank you for your replies so far. i have never applied at a firm before and i must say i am worried that both my grammar and actual content wont be of the required standard. is there a way i could add you in my contacts fb,msn, email? this doesnt mean i will bombard you with questions really, mainly because you are in the same field

    thanks again
    Sure your content will be fine, grammar and stuff just ask any reasonably literate English person to check it, sure your mates will be happy to.

    Just PM me on here if you like, though I don't know how much more use to you I can be as I am at the same stage as you. If you still have contacts with your tutors from your masters they could probably help and should know a few medical lawyers given the nature of their job.
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    (Original post by roh)
    Sure your content will be fine, grammar and stuff just ask any reasonably literate English person to check it, sure your mates will be happy to.

    Just PM me on here if you like, though I don't know how much more use to you I can be as I am at the same stage as you. If you still have contacts with your tutors from your masters they could probably help and should know a few medical lawyers given the nature of their job.
    roh, thanks for your input,
    good luck to us both

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