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Advice re GDL/TC please!

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    Hi
    Just wondered if anyone would be kind enough to offer some advice. I am a non law (business economics) graduate with a 2:1 from a Russell group. I'm 2 years post graduation and have spent that time in a graduate entry retail management position- this has provided me with a host of skills eg team working, working under pressure, hiring/firing etc etc. However I have always been interested in law as a career and very nearly did this for my initial degree, now having done a lot more research into what it entails I am certain I want to be a solicitor. I am therefore planning on embarking upon the GDL. My questions are-
    What is the likelihood of securing a TC without VS/ open day exp (I do have a lot of pre uni work exp in a solicitors office also post grad work exp with local government and obviously my current role)?
    Should I apply for VS/open days only in October?
    If worst case scenario I self fund GDL (will have to be with bank loan) will a firm retrospectively pay fees?
    In the interim before applications I am doing lots of applications for legal asst/volunteer positions- is there anything else I could do to maximise me chances of a TC?
    Thanks very much to anyone who has read this essay! Any advice most welcome!
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    Do a VS whenever you can. I don't think it's entirely necessary for you to do one, it'd just help a lot. Retrospective payments are different for each firms, but I believe most firms don't offer retrospective payments. However, remember you've still got to do the LPC after the GDL, so they'd still pay for that. Theres not much else you can do regarding experiance, but once your on the GDL make sure you do as much mooting, debating, negotiation and other activities as you can.
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    You haven't said whether you want to go into commercial law, so I'll presume you want to get a job with a city firm. I know that some firms (e.g. magic circle) will reimburse your GDL fees, but most don't seem to.

    People do get training contracts without vacation schemes, but the few I've met have had really good academics or have done vac schemes at investment banks. Your academics are fairly normal/average (this isn't a criticism btw) and I don't know if your current experience will necessarily set you apart on paper - although doubtless it will make you a decent candidate at interview for competency questions and general professional manner.

    Why not continue working for another year, apply for Winter and Easter vac schemes, and get a TC and then start the GDL in 2013? Then there will be much less financial risk, you'll have a stronger shot at getting a TC, and in any case you will start your TC at the same time as if you'd done the GDL without sponsorship.

    I was the only guy in my GDL class this year with a training contract, and my friends who were on my course were all pretty well qualified, high 2.1s or 1sts from good unis, and couldn't get TCs. A bunch of them have had to take a year out before the LPC. I sympathise with wanting to start your course ASAP, but caution and prudence are lawyerly virtues, so maybe think about delaying for a year and maximising your chances while minimising your risks.
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    Thanks both for your really quick replies, really appreciated and given me a lot to think about!

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Updated: June 26, 2012
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