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The current state of the training contract market

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Why bother with a post grad? Are they even worth it? Have your say! 26-10-2016
    • Thread Starter

    - Is it easier to get a training contract if you hold a law degree?

    - Can you feel relatively safe about getting a training contract if you go to Oxbridge?

    - Does the Oxbridge college matter in the application?

    - How long does it generally take to get a training contract?

    - What about pupillage?

    From what I've read online it seems extremely hard to launch a legal career in England atm (I read there are 50+ applicants per place) which makes me a bit hesitant about accepting my offer to study law in Cambridge. At home I could get a bachelor's and master's degree in law without having to pay tutition fees, plus the career path and legal job market seem more stable. The application process for trainee placements at courts at home (Scandinavia) is solely based on university grades, so you don't have to be good at interviewing or writing cover letters. Plus they will only consider you if you hold a master's degree in law. To me it's really strange that you can work in law without a formal law degree in the UK (or just the one year GDL). Since everyone with a bachelor's degree can apply for training contracts it's obviously very competitive.

    So basically I'm interested in learning more about the process of getting a training contract and what factors matter the most. I've checked a couple of law firms' websites and it seems like they are putting less focus on the university than I thought. Is this just something they write to make everyone feel like they have a chance or are they really not that interested in the reputation of your university? Same with studying law, is it really not needed? Does anyone know any official (or informal) stats on who gets a training contract? Before I started to read about the process I thought one would be pretty much guaranteed a training contract with an Oxbridge law degree, but now I feel like it might be very risky to take this path.

    Also, any other internationals who could share their experience of studying and working in law in England? Are we at an advantage/disadvantage when trying to get a job, considering we speak several languages but not as good English as natives? Would you recommend getting a bachelor's degree in law in your home country and then apply for a master's at Oxbridge instead? Any help is much appreciated.





    Typically varies from 9 months to 6-7 years!

    Application numbers are headline figures and often inaccurate. Having seen the recruitment process for several top firms, their average was closer to 20-25 apps per place. It does depend on how many TCs they have though, if only 1-2 then undoubtedly the number of applications per place is very different to firms who recruit approximately 100. Saying that I have seen at least one firm whose applications per place number was in single digits and they only offered a small number of TCs.

    What matters most? In my opinion:

    1) career motivation - you're going to be working very hard, you need to enjoy it and know what your letting yourself in for

    2) analytical skills (often academic ability is part of this)

    3) an ability to write well

    4) a hybrid of soft skills (team working/time management/drive to succeed etc)

    The other things firms look for generally come under those four categories, or a mix of both.

    University reputation on its own means very little. However, going to a top university means you usually have strong academic achievements to get in, and this is impressive. Also top universities tend to afford better opportunities to their students, whether it's closer tuition, greater extra curricular opportunities or greater networks with those in professional careers.

    Your English will need to be as good as native, even if you have other languages. Most firms will not compromise on that at all if you are applying for a role in a UK office.

    Final point - When I recruited, I rejected more Oxford students each year than I did from any other university. However I also hired more Oxford students.

    Posted from TSR Mobile

    Guessing you are from Sweden, a law degree takes 4,5 years there. Not sure what you mean by " Bachelors in law". It is a doctorate in law you would get from there. You are also guaranteed to become a lawyer in Sweden while you will not become a solicitor unless you get a training contract.

    Speaking a Nordic language is not too useful if you want to practise law in the UK. Foreign languages are generally not too important unless you are working with contracts from a foreign country or other particular position.

    Why do you want to leave Scandinavia? Mass immigration?
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