Your only problem so far as I can see would be proving your commitment to law. Funding the GDL, LPC and 2 years worth of maintenance grant is a sizeable financial commitment to someone by a firm and they don't want to spend all that on someone who's not going to follow it through.
You've got chance to apply for VSs next year though so can make up for it with those.
Not sure about the masters/uni, sure someone more in the know can answer.
Last edited by roh; 05-05-2012 at 13:36.
Why do you say the OP's chances are "incredibly high"?
(Original post by Generalist)
Just as a disclaimer, this post is only careers advice, not legal advice:
Your chances are incredibly high even without legal experience. Could you elaborate on the extra-curricular activities you have worked on?
During your MSc, I would recommend that you join your university's relevant law and pro bono societies and get involved as a treasurer or something similar if it is not too late to do so. See if you can join your local Citizens Advice Bureau or the Free Representation Unit. If feasible, see if any part-time, unpaid work is available at any local firms. Another possibility is to vist the Companies House website and set up a company for only £18. You could then learn how to file the accounts for that company. That can just as well go on your CV as it demonstrates your desire to understand the law in practice. Furthermore, you could also use that corporate vehicle for a wide array of things, including understanding how to pay the various kinds of taxes involved. You mentioned that you wrote a dissertation / policy report. That is excellent, have you considered writing a blog that might convey your commercial awareness on a regular basis?
Legal recruiters do seek out Southampton, so as long as you can demonstrate through your past experiences that you have an eye for the intersection of law and commerce, meaning you work to discern what may be considered the relevant legal issues in a business sector, then studying economics is no problem at all. I recommend that you contact your university's careers service and ask about law firms that visit Southampton.
In many ways, the experiences you have already mentioned add a great deal that law firms cannot typically secure through an applicant with only the LLB degree.
Edit: a couple of other points in relation to your post:
- the OP will not be able to volunteer as a rep for FRU during his/her MSc.
- firms will not regard the incorporation of a dormant company through CoHouse as being evidence of commercial awareness, or a desire to understand the law in practice.
Last edited by chalks; 06-05-2012 at 23:49.
The value of work experience is there for a City firm, and the value, especially for non-law students and people with full time professional experience, is higher regarded than marks if the experience demonstrates strong commercial awareness.
The filters for City firms are not just the great marks and reputable university and degree, they also include contacts, and all application forms ask you about any contacts the applicant has. It is usually through this mechanism that a firm can determine if the applicant's work experiences and qualities aside from marks demonstrate commercial awareness; marks do not and cannot demonstrate such awareness. Legal experience is more beneficial for the barrister route than it is for the solicitor route, though this does not mean legal experience is not valued for solicitors, it is very much valued. Non-legal experiences, however, can benefit solicitors very well, too, where it may not for barristers.
I suggest the above based on my own experience and having secured interviews and eventually the training contract offer I have accepted. Commercial awareness is relevant, and if the firm understands the applicant has it, that awareness is more important than the marks. Marks are important, but they are not the deciding factor because a law firm is a business, and a law firm hopes to employ individuals to benefit that business. That is a commercially relevant factor in the legal sector. I do not think the process is as clear cut with the numbers criteria that are often suggested as the definitive criteria for securing a training contract with a top 50, 25, or 10 firm.
I would not be able to advise as well on applying to a high street firm, but good efforts with legal work experience and working as a paralegal are beneficial in pursuing that route.
Last edited by Generalist; 09-06-2012 at 22:12.