Quitting my Law Training Contract during my First Seat - Help!

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Solicon
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Hi everyone,

never thought I would be writing this but here it goes.

My law journey started at university where I got a 1st class in my LLB. I applied for vacation schemes (did ones at Pinsents, Addleshaws, and Slaughters). After this I then did the LPC where I got distinction and went on to secure a training contract at a regional office of a City firm.

When I got offered my TC I had several friends working in London at City firms telling me to NOT do it. I didn't listen and thought I had struck gold at securing a top firm but in the regions where I thought the culture would be friendlier. I was subjected to the usual "we are an open and approachable firm etc etc".

I have been at my firm for 8 weeks now and I absolutely hate every day. My seat is commercial real estate which is not the most interesting but the thing I hate the most is the people. Everyone is extremely unfriendly, nasty, stressed, and they enjoy treating their trainees like crap and using them as a source to vent their anger.

Should I quit? I really want to and cannot imagine staying at this firm for 2 years. It has totally turned me off a career in law (to be honest the job is boring and I don't want to do any of the work I see the senior associates slaving over). The culture is brutal and I am feeling severely depressed going to work every day. At first I was eager to learn but that was quickly whipped out of me.

I plan to quit at the end of December (after 4 months) if I find another job (I have rights to work abroad so would apply to jobs in my home country).

Anyone been through something similar/got any advice? Desperate here

Thanks.
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Solicon
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Edit: what alternative careers are there to someone with a law degree and post-graduate education?
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s.m999
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what university did you get a LLB first from?
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_Fergo
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(Original post by Solicon)
Hi everyone,

never thought I would be writing this but here it goes.

My law journey started at university where I got a 1st class in my LLB. I applied for vacation schemes (did ones at Pinsents, Addleshaws, and Slaughters). After this I then did the LPC where I got distinction and went on to secure a training contract at a regional office of a City firm.

When I got offered my TC I had several friends working in London at City firms telling me to NOT do it. I didn't listen and thought I had struck gold at securing a top firm but in the regions where I thought the culture would be friendlier. I was subjected to the usual "we are an open and approachable firm etc etc".

I have been at my firm for 8 weeks now and I absolutely hate every day. My seat is commercial real estate which is not the most interesting but the thing I hate the most is the people. Everyone is extremely unfriendly, nasty, stressed, and they enjoy treating their trainees like crap and using them as a source to vent their anger.

Should I quit? I really want to and cannot imagine staying at this firm for 2 years. It has totally turned me off a career in law (to be honest the job is boring and I don't want to do any of the work I see the senior associates slaving over). The culture is brutal and I am feeling severely depressed going to work every day. At first I was eager to learn but that was quickly whipped out of me.

I plan to quit at the end of December (after 4 months) if I find another job (I have rights to work abroad so would apply to jobs in my home country).

Anyone been through something similar/got any advice? Desperate here

Thanks.
In all honesty, I would advise that you complete your training contract. It is 2 years that can define the rest of your life, and this bit is important - leaving now would leave you with practically nothing valuable, and you'd have to start over as a graduate but one who's quited another career and is not freshly out of university as many big employers want.

Conversely, finishing your training contract would mean you're a qualified solicitor, and many, many pathways will be open to you - you can move into a BIG4 firm, into financial services, into an investment fund and whatnot. These will be very competitive of course (much alike graduate schemes) but you'll be able to choose a myriad different pathways related to commercial law. If I were you, I'd carefully reconsider leaving.

These are my 2c.
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Solicon
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(Original post by _Fergo)
In all honesty, I would advise that you complete your training contract. It is 2 years that can define the rest of your life, and this bit is important - leaving now would leave you with practically nothing valuable, and you'd have to start over as a graduate but one who's quited another career and is not freshly out of university as many big employers want.

Conversely, finishing your training contract would mean you're a qualified solicitor, and many, many pathways will be open to you - you can move into a BIG4 firm, into financial services, into an investment fund and whatnot. These will be very competitive of course (much alike graduate schemes) but you'll be able to choose a myriad different pathways related to commercial law. If I were you, I'd carefully reconsider leaving.

These are my 2c.
Yeah 2 years of hell that I hate.

I am of course going to finish my first seat so I have 6 months experience but there is no way I can survive two years here. 2 years is a long time in your 20s to do something you hate. Making big £ is not my main priority.
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Solicon
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(Original post by J-SP)
Started their TC. Has no chance of starting another one elsewhere unfortunately (not that they seem to actually want to do law anymore).
You're right, I don't. But my firm did pay for my LPC as I had only started it recently when they offered me the TC. But there is nothing in the contract that mentions paying back the fees. Nothing at all.

No. Think DLA/Pinsents... not going to say what Firm exactly in case someone reads this but it is awful.
Spoke to my friend the other day who trained at Norton Rose and all I was offered from him were his congragulations: nobody I know enjoys the TC, but my department are by far the most hostile and I leave every day feeling like I just got bullied.
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Solicon
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Really just want to hear from someone who has been through this same situation... feeling so alone here
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jacketpotato
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It is never nice to be in a situation like this. But I think you have to take a long term view. Look at this with a 10year or 20year horizon, not a 2year horizon.

The key question is do you want to qualify as a solicitor or not. I doubt any other firm will take you on if you quit a TC mid-way through.

If you do want to qualify as a solicitor, then I think you should slug it out. The reality is that 6months or even 2years is not a long period of time in the scheme of your overall career. It wouldn't be the end of the world to keep your head down, do a half-arsed job and move to a different firm or a different area of law or in-house after you have qualified.

You should also remember that different seats can be very different for all sorts of reasons. It is entirely possible that you might enjoy your next seat more than this one.

It is also worth remembering that you can absolutely come across unfriendly, nasty, stressed people who treat trainees badly in firms like Pinsents or Addleshaws or Slaughters. A lot of first seat trainees can get culture shock when they start proper work for the first time, I certainly suffered from that as a first seat trainee, but people do often adapt after a few months.

There is a lot of luck depending on which department you get and who is working in that department at that particular point in time. I felt badly treated in my first seat (a London firm similar to those) but ended up enjoying it and staying for a few years post-qualification, though in a different department !

That said - if you have decided that you are sure you no longer want to become a solicitor (whether at this firm or any other firm) - then I would ask why you are doing a TC in the first place, in which case there could be a benefit in starting your new career path sooner rather than sticking it out for no reason. Just make sure you check your contract to see if leaving the TC means you need to pay back things like LPC fees.
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Crazy Jamie
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I'm not a solicitor so cannot speak from experience on any of this, but the one point I would highlight is that for your second seat you will of course be around different people, will be doing different work, and will be in a different environment. You will, of course, still be in the same firm, and that may result in some or many of the problems still persisting. But a change of seat could equally solve a lot of these issues. If you're prepared to get to the end of this seat, I would at least give yourself a bit more time to see if the next seat is any different.
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TempestLaw
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Just finish it for now, it may be 2 years, but if you drop out now 10-20 years down the line it would have seemed like nothing to have completed it. Even if you change career, being nearly qualified as a solicitor and actually qualifying can make or break whether you go somewhere else
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legaleagle2604
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I knew someone in a similar position who wanted to quit their TC in their first seat because the team was awful. They stayed for their seat rotation and found that the new department was 100x nicer and actually liked it, finished their TC and qualified.

I think you should just grit your teeth and get on with it until your next seat. If it’s still unbearably ****, then think about whether you should leave
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Reality Check
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I think you've got be sure of whether you've definitely made the decision that you don't want a career in the law, rather than currently hating your seat/firm. If the former (which your post indicates is the case), then there's little point in sitting it out waiting for the inevitable. But you've got be totally sure that it's the career as a concept that's the problem - I think thenceforth this makes your decision much easier.
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Solicon
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Thanks for your advice. I am leaving at the start of January once my lease expires. Feel so much lighter knowing I've made the decision.
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Solicon
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UPDATE: I have not yet quit. Still think its an awful job and still get treated like **** but managed to take 2 weeks annual live to help avoid work and now Christmas is fast approaching... advice remains - don't do a TC.
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DarkChaoz95
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(Original post by Solicon)
UPDATE: I have not yet quit. Still think its an awful job and still get treated like **** but managed to take 2 weeks annual live to help avoid work and now Christmas is fast approaching... advice remains - don't do a TC.
if its as bad as you say it is, surely then its better to avoid city firms rather than avoid getting TC entirely?
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aspiringlawyerNW
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Could it perhaps just be this particular seat that is the problem? Maybe wait and see how you get along with the partners in your next seat before throwing in the towel. I can understand how attractive the thought of stopping is if you're *so* unhappy, but this might be something you look back on and feel was a bit of an over reaction.
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Trinculo
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(Original post by DarkChaoz95)
if its as bad as you say it is, surely then its better to avoid city firms rather than avoid getting TC entirely?
Lol.

"avoid city firms"

So earn minimum wage working mad hours in a pokey high street office listening to people tell you lies for 48 minutes, and then spending 12 minutes trying to work out how to turn those lies into fees.

Seems legit. On the upside, you'll probably never earn enough to have to pay back your student loans.
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Trinculo
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Does it not occur to you that there are now two types of legal practise?

1. City law. Taking rich clients money and playing legal ping pong with another firm until one side's client gets fed up or runs out of money.

2. High Street law. As above. Turning lies into money, except for conveyancing, and even that is taking someone's very old lies from when the house was built in 1920 and relying on successive generations of lies from subsequent buyers/sellers, and turning them into all new lies which you sell to a client who wants to buy lies from the lowest bidder.
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Colonial411
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(Original post by Solicon)
Hi everyone,

never thought I would be writing this but here it goes.

My law journey started at university where I got a 1st class in my LLB. I applied for vacation schemes (did ones at Pinsents, Addleshaws, and Slaughters). After this I then did the LPC where I got distinction and went on to secure a training contract at a regional office of a City firm.

When I got offered my TC I had several friends working in London at City firms telling me to NOT do it. I didn't listen and thought I had struck gold at securing a top firm but in the regions where I thought the culture would be friendlier. I was subjected to the usual "we are an open and approachable firm etc etc".

I have been at my firm for 8 weeks now and I absolutely hate every day. My seat is commercial real estate which is not the most interesting but the thing I hate the most is the people. Everyone is extremely unfriendly, nasty, stressed, and they enjoy treating their trainees like crap and using them as a source to vent their anger.

Should I quit? I really want to and cannot imagine staying at this firm for 2 years. It has totally turned me off a career in law (to be honest the job is boring and I don't want to do any of the work I see the senior associates slaving over). The culture is brutal and I am feeling severely depressed going to work every day. At first I was eager to learn but that was quickly whipped out of me.

I plan to quit at the end of December (after 4 months) if I find another job (I have rights to work abroad so would apply to jobs in my home country).

Anyone been through something similar/got any advice? Desperate here

Thanks.

Just doing some student room surfing...

I don't think you should listen to SOME of the advice on here ('flatlined')... It must be a massive culture shock moving from uni to the real working world. I don't mean this in a patronising way at all but it is a huge shock to go from studying with peers who are your mates to working in an office. I think law can sometimes be the most extreme because you can get trainees who have literally come straight out of uni with no previous employment experience and they land in a highly formal, stressful and high performing corporate environment. Keep that in mind because everyones first job sucks but the legal transition can be particularly tough.

I think the best decision is to wait until your next seat, prioritise yourself (taking holidays etc as you have been doing) and if you aren't enjoying the current seat you are in (including perhaps the next one) then look at it in a different way - try and work on your writing skills, networking or business understanding during that seat. See it as a test in endurance. There are really practical ways to get you through a **** day at the office - put your headphones in and listen to a podcast, take an hour for lunch, go to the gym at some point.
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Solicon
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(Original post by Colonial411)
Just doing some student room surfing...

I don't think you should listen to SOME of the advice on here ('flatlined')... It must be a massive culture shock moving from uni to the real working world. I don't mean this in a patronising way at all but it is a huge shock to go from studying with peers who are your mates to working in an office. I think law can sometimes be the most extreme because you can get trainees who have literally come straight out of uni with no previous employment experience and they land in a highly formal, stressful and high performing corporate environment. Keep that in mind because everyones first job sucks but the legal transition can be particularly tough.

I think the best decision is to wait until your next seat, prioritise yourself (taking holidays etc as you have been doing) and if you aren't enjoying the current seat you are in (including perhaps the next one) then look at it in a different way - try and work on your writing skills, networking or business understanding during that seat. See it as a test in endurance. There are really practical ways to get you through a **** day at the office - put your headphones in and listen to a podcast, take an hour for lunch, go to the gym at some point.
Hi,

I agree. Now that Xmas has gone and we are in 2019 I have decided to stay in my TC. Whether or not I will be a lawyer post-qualification I dont know but it has gotten a bit better and, although the culture shock of partners and associates speaking to me like crap and making faces at anything I say still does shock me, it has seemed to subside and I am learning to live with it better.

Also, seat moves are in March so there is not much time left with this hell of a team.

Thanks
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