Hey there! Sign in to join this conversationNew here? Join for free
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    I joined this site because, after six years of being a solicitor, I’ve decided to go back into education. Yes, I’m getting out of the “legal game”.

    Naturally, I decided to have a look at the law section, and thought I could offer a bit of advice on how to get a training contract.

    The advice I’m giving relates to small and mid sized high-street firms.

    The secret is so simple that most people overlook it. Are you ready ? I bet you’ll scoff when you first hear it, but I promise that it’s true. Here it is: get them to like you. That’s it. Simple hey? But it is so often overlooked.

    You might be thinking, but what about my first-class degree, etc. No -- a lower second is probably fine. The deciding factors are, usually, do we like this person. Is he or she going to be the sort of person we want to work with and hang out with for two years.

    If you’re sociable, if you’re always up for going out for a few drinks, if you’ve always got an interesting story or anecdote to tell, then great -- you stand a great chance of getting a training contract.

    If you’re not that person, then those are the skills to work on.

    Recently, the firm I work for had a young lad do some work experience. He hasn’t even done his degree yet. During his time at the firm, everyone liked him because he went out socialising, was fun to have around, and always had a good story to tell. He got offered a training contract.

    If you’re wondering why such skills are so important, it’s because at small to mid-sized firms you’ll be dealing with clients on a regular basis. And it’s the ability to get on with people, and form a rapport that is the key.

    I’ve heard so many stories about people with first class law degrees who have zero social skills -- and guess what: they can’t get training contracts!

    It’s also worth countering a few myths about the legal profession. That way, you can get to know what we, as lawyers, are really thinking when you tell us how enthusiastic you are. What I’m about to say is true of most solicitors I speak to:

    1. We hate--and I mean absolutely hate--working as solicitors.
    2. We find the job boring.
    3. We often don’t know the law. You may find that surprising, but most of the time you don’t need to know it! Things are often procedural, and done using common sense.
    4. We dislike the majority of our clients.
    5. We aren’t as well paid as you think! I earn under 30K per annum. Newly qualified solicitors at the firm I work for earn less than £23,000.

    Working for a big law firm is a bit different. What they want is someone who’ll sacrifice a happy, balanced life for the firm. You get a great salary, but the trade off is that you won’t have much of a life.

    In my spare time, I’ve sold humorous sketches to the BBC. When I decided to leave the legal profession, I made an animated sketch myself, explaining why being a lawyer sucks so much.:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ghcjr3pNt7A

    (Excuse the computer voices.)

    So, if you still want to get into law, you know the “big secret” when it comes to the small and mid-sized firms.

    Whiffet
    Offline

    21
    ReputationRep:
    Welcome to TSR

    With over 20 years in practice how much of this do I agree with?

    (Original post by whiffet)
    I joined this site because, after six years of being a solicitor, I’ve decided to go back into education. Yes, I’m getting out of the “legal game”.

    Naturally, I decided to have a look at the law section, and thought I could offer a bit of advice on how to get a training contract.

    The advice I’m giving relates to small and mid sized high-street firms.

    The secret is so simple that most people overlook it. Are you ready ? I bet you’ll scoff when you first hear it, but I promise that it’s true. Here it is: get them to like you. That’s it. Simple hey? But it is so often overlooked.

    You might be thinking, but what about my first-class degree, etc. No -- a lower second is probably fine. The deciding factors are, usually, do we like this person.
    With you so far.

    Is he or she going to be the sort of person we want to work with and hang out with for two years.
    I agree a trainee has to be someone you can work with. However it isn't the case that at every firm one lives in each others' pockets. I don't "hang out" with my partners let alone the trainees.


    If you’re sociable, if you’re always up for going out for a few drinks, if you’ve always got an interesting story or anecdote to tell, then great -- you stand a great chance of getting a training contract.


    If you’re not that person, then those are the skills to work on.
    At your firm maybe.

    Recently, the firm I work for had a young lad do some work experience. He hasn’t even done his degree yet. During his time at the firm, everyone liked him because he went out socialising, was fun to have around, and always had a good story to tell. He got offered a training contract.
    He fitted with the ethos of your firm.

    If you’re wondering why such skills are so important, it’s because at small to mid-sized firms you’ll be dealing with clients on a regular basis. And it’s the ability to get on with people, and form a rapport that is the key.

    I’ve heard so many stories about people with first class law degrees who have zero social skills -- and guess what: they can’t get training contracts!
    True up to a point. Mrs Smiggins who has just lost her husband and is coming in for the probate and the fatal accident claim doesn't really want to know if you are up for a laugh.

    It’s also worth countering a few myths about the legal profession. That way, you can get to know what we, as lawyers, are really thinking when you tell us how enthusiastic you are. What I’m about to say is true of most solicitors I speak to:

    1. We hate--and I mean absolutely hate--working as solicitors.
    2. We find the job boring.
    3. We often don’t know the law. You may find that surprising, but most of the time you don’t need to know it! Things are often procedural, and done using common sense.
    4. We dislike the majority of our clients.
    5. We aren’t as well paid as you think! I earn under 30K per annum. Newly qualified solicitors at the firm I work for earn less than £23,000.
    With respect these are the views of someone wanting out of the law. BTW I think you were underpaid.

    Working for a big law firm is a bit different. What they want is someone who’ll sacrifice a happy, balanced life for the firm. You get a great salary, but the trade off is that you won’t have much of a life.

    In my spare time, I’ve sold humorous sketches to the BBC. When I decided to leave the legal profession, I made an animated sketch myself, explaining why being a lawyer sucks so much.:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ghcjr3pNt7A

    (Excuse the computer voices.)

    So, if you still want to get into law, you know the “big secret” when it comes to the small and mid-sized firms.

    Whiffet
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    I wish my five myths were just my views. Unfortunately most of the lawyers I speak to in the office and on courses feel the same.

    Another uncomfortable reality that I’ve seen in the offices that I’ve worked at is this: if you’re a good-looking female who wants a job, it’ll count in your favour – a lot. (Of course, this is on the assumption that it is male partners who get to choose.)

    For example, the practice manager told me about a time that the firm had a vacancy for an office junior. There were two candidates: one who would be good at the job, the other who was useless, but very good looking. He asked the practice manager which one to go for, and you guessed it – he chose the good looking one. She’s now a reasonably well-known glamour model!

    I should stress, I don’t work for a grotty little back-street firm – rather, it’s highly respected in the area with an excellent reputation. I’ve found that the public face of a firm is often very different to the reality.

    Now, the firm that I trained at really was a grotty, seedy little place. The senior partner once told me, with glee, that he had just taken on a girl who would start training as a barrister the following year. He was particularly excited because he said she had huge breasts.

    Re your point about probate or an accident claim. What I have noticed is this: the people with the good social skills are, generally, the ones who are good at building a rapport and coming across as confident. It goes without saying that they won’t be joking about during the client meetings!

    However, we did have an incident at my current firm when a partner bought a fart machine so that he could wind up his trainee. Unfortunately the damn thing started going off during a client meeting! (He’s about to become a judge, so let’s hope it doesn’t happen in court…)
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by whiffet)
    I joined this site because, after six years of being a solicitor, I’ve decided to go back into education. Yes, I’m getting out of the “legal game”.

    Naturally, I decided to have a look at the law section, and thought I could offer a bit of advice on how to get a training contract.

    The advice I’m giving relates to small and mid sized high-street firms.

    The secret is so simple that most people overlook it. Are you ready ? I bet you’ll scoff when you first hear it, but I promise that it’s true. Here it is: get them to like you. That’s it. Simple hey? But it is so often overlooked.

    You might be thinking, but what about my first-class degree, etc. No -- a lower second is probably fine. The deciding factors are, usually, do we like this person. Is he or she going to be the sort of person we want to work with and hang out with for two years.

    If you’re sociable, if you’re always up for going out for a few drinks, if you’ve always got an interesting story or anecdote to tell, then great -- you stand a great chance of getting a training contract.

    If you’re not that person, then those are the skills to work on.

    Recently, the firm I work for had a young lad do some work experience. He hasn’t even done his degree yet. During his time at the firm, everyone liked him because he went out socialising, was fun to have around, and always had a good story to tell. He got offered a training contract.

    If you’re wondering why such skills are so important, it’s because at small to mid-sized firms you’ll be dealing with clients on a regular basis. And it’s the ability to get on with people, and form a rapport that is the key.

    I’ve heard so many stories about people with first class law degrees who have zero social skills -- and guess what: they can’t get training contracts!

    It’s also worth countering a few myths about the legal profession. That way, you can get to know what we, as lawyers, are really thinking when you tell us how enthusiastic you are. What I’m about to say is true of most solicitors I speak to:

    1. We hate--and I mean absolutely hate--working as solicitors.
    2. We find the job boring.
    3. We often don’t know the law. You may find that surprising, but most of the time you don’t need to know it! Things are often procedural, and done using common sense.
    4. We dislike the majority of our clients.
    5. We aren’t as well paid as you think! I earn under 30K per annum. Newly qualified solicitors at the firm I work for earn less than £23,000.

    Working for a big law firm is a bit different. What they want is someone who’ll sacrifice a happy, balanced life for the firm. You get a great salary, but the trade off is that you won’t have much of a life.

    In my spare time, I’ve sold humorous sketches to the BBC. When I decided to leave the legal profession, I made an animated sketch myself, explaining why being a lawyer sucks so much.:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ghcjr3pNt7A

    (Excuse the computer voices.)

    So, if you still want to get into law, you know the “big secret” when it comes to the small and mid-sized firms.

    Whiffet
    What were your hours like in a medium-size high street firm then?
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by tony_ron)
    What were your hours like in a medium-size high street firm then?
    When I trained, I often had to get in at 7.30 a.m., and was expected to stay until around 6.30 p.m.

    Once I qualified, the pressure was always there to come in an hour early and stay an hour late.

    The real horror stories come from the big London firms. I knew of people who were often expected to stay until 11 p.m. And pulling all nighters when necessary was just part of it!

    That said, if you really want to be a lawyer, get some experience first. That way, you’ll realise how mundane the day-to-day work can be. If you like it, then it may be the job for you.

    Personally, I think students should have to do a minimum of six months in a firm before starting the LPC. That way, you at least get an idea of what it is like.
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by whiffet)
    I joined this site because, after six years of being a solicitor, I’ve decided to go back into education. Yes, I’m getting out of the “legal game”.

    Naturally, I decided to have a look at the law section, and thought I could offer a bit of advice on how to get a training contract.

    The advice I’m giving relates to small and mid sized high-street firms.

    The secret is so simple that most people overlook it. Are you ready ? I bet you’ll scoff when you first hear it, but I promise that it’s true. Here it is: get them to like you. That’s it. Simple hey? But it is so often overlooked.

    You might be thinking, but what about my first-class degree, etc. No -- a lower second is probably fine. The deciding factors are, usually, do we like this person. Is he or she going to be the sort of person we want to work with and hang out with for two years.

    If you’re sociable, if you’re always up for going out for a few drinks, if you’ve always got an interesting story or anecdote to tell, then great -- you stand a great chance of getting a training contract.

    If you’re not that person, then those are the skills to work on.

    Recently, the firm I work for had a young lad do some work experience. He hasn’t even done his degree yet. During his time at the firm, everyone liked him because he went out socialising, was fun to have around, and always had a good story to tell. He got offered a training contract.

    If you’re wondering why such skills are so important, it’s because at small to mid-sized firms you’ll be dealing with clients on a regular basis. And it’s the ability to get on with people, and form a rapport that is the key.

    I’ve heard so many stories about people with first class law degrees who have zero social skills -- and guess what: they can’t get training contracts!

    It’s also worth countering a few myths about the legal profession. That way, you can get to know what we, as lawyers, are really thinking when you tell us how enthusiastic you are. What I’m about to say is true of most solicitors I speak to:

    1. We hate--and I mean absolutely hate--working as solicitors.
    2. We find the job boring.
    3. We often don’t know the law. You may find that surprising, but most of the time you don’t need to know it! Things are often procedural, and done using common sense.
    4. We dislike the majority of our clients.
    5. We aren’t as well paid as you think! I earn under 30K per annum. Newly qualified solicitors at the firm I work for earn less than £23,000.

    Working for a big law firm is a bit different. What they want is someone who’ll sacrifice a happy, balanced life for the firm. You get a great salary, but the trade off is that you won’t have much of a life.

    In my spare time, I’ve sold humorous sketches to the BBC. When I decided to leave the legal profession, I made an animated sketch myself, explaining why being a lawyer sucks so much.:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ghcjr3pNt7A

    (Excuse the computer voices.)

    So, if you still want to get into law, you know the “big secret” when it comes to the small and mid-sized firms.

    Whiffet
    I think this is a brilliant post and spot on advice. I know quite a few solicitors and I have heard this sort of thing repeated before.
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by bognor-regis)
    I think this is a brilliant post and spot on advice. I know quite a few solicitors and I have heard this sort of thing repeated before.
    Many thanks.

    I’ve got a bit of flak on another forum, but I just want to be honest with people.

    I don’t want to crush anyone’s dreams; I just want to make sure people realise what they are in for.

    It’s the absolute crippling fear of making a mistake that can crush you – both in and out of the office. The consequences of a mistake, even the most minor, can be severe.

    I was on a course last year, and the lecturer, a former partner in a large firm, said that she has refused to pay for her daughter to study law. She said that she’s not letting her daughter ruin her life, too!

    The law degree can be fun though. But practicing law is nothing like it.
    Offline

    18
    ReputationRep:
    This isn't my experience of training at a city firm. There are down-sides but it certainly isn't true to say that everyone hates their job and it most certainly isn't true that your social ability outshines your legal ability. If you don't have attention to detail and you don't get things right, you can be as likeable as you like but you are a walking, talking disaster zone creating a huge risk of liability for the firm. In my experience this is the absolute number one consideration: if you don't get the law right and you don't demonstrate excellent attention to detail then you are up to scratch, everything else is secondary.

    I'm also not sure of the extent to which you can demonstrate that you are a talkative person who enjoys a booze-up when the TC application process, in most cases, involves little more than filling in a form and attending an interview. You also need to remember that "social skills" are completely different from building professional rapport - a lot of people are excellent at networking professionally and building rapport with clients but not so good at socialising with their peers.

    I also think "dislike the majority of our clients" is a bit narcisstic. You made this as a general comment about small to mid-sized firms, covering everything from Joe Bloggs wanting an immigration visa to a medium size company wanting to expand operations. Not liking the majority of your clients is the same as not liking people in general, this is not specific to law but applies to the majority of jobs.

    I also query why you stayed in the job for 8 years given that you hate it, don't think you are well paid and don't like your hours?
    Offline

    12
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by jacketpotato)
    This isn't my experience of training at a city firm. There are down-sides but it certainly isn't true to say that everyone hates their job and it most certainly isn't true that your social ability outshines your legal ability. If you don't have attention to detail and you don't get things right, you can be as likeable as you like but you are a walking, talking disaster zone creating a huge risk of liability for the firm. In my experience this is the absolute number one consideration: if you don't get the law right and you don't demonstrate excellent attention to detail then you are up to scratch, everything else is secondary.
    It's not my experience of training in a medium sized regional firm either. Of course you'll find some people in every firm who hate their job.

    While I'm not sure that social skills are necessarily more important than legal ability, I do agree that being the right fit and getting on with a team is crucial in a firm the size of mine, and probably more so the smaller the firm gets.

    Oh, and NQs at my firm are on a lot more than £23k!
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    I think this discussion is a clear indicator that a career in law isn't for everyone. It seems that the OP has found that law isn't the right career for them, and has taken a brave decision to change direction.

    Further, I think this discussion underlines the importance of gaining varied and extensive work experience before entering the legal profession. I'm not sure how much exposure the OP had to the profession before beginning a TC, but perhaps gaining such experience would have allowed you to write this career off from the start.

    Saying all this, I question the reasons why you want to post your opinion on this forum, which is all about people helping each other in their pursuit of an appropriate career in law. I appreciate that some people will find your comments useful, but their general derogatory tone suggests to me that your agenda is more to vent your frustrations than help others.

    What I take from this discussion is that one should never just assume that a career in law is for them. Whilst being a very desireable career, it is also one that requires a lot of dedication and involves the kind of work that some people would not like. Know yourself first, then you will know what career is right for you.
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by jacketpotato)
    This isn't my experience of training at a city firm. There are down-sides but it certainly isn't true to say that everyone hates their job and it most certainly isn't true that your social ability outshines your legal ability. If you don't have attention to detail and you don't get things right, you can be as likeable as you like but you are a walking, talking disaster zone creating a huge risk of liability for the firm.

    (Original post by Everleigh)

    Further, I think this discussion underlines the importance of gaining varied and extensive work experience before entering the legal profession. I'm not sure how much exposure the OP had to the profession before beginning a TC, but perhaps gaining such experience would have allowed you to write this career off from the start.

    Saying all this, I question the reasons why you want to post your opinion on this forum, which is all about people helping each other in their pursuit of an appropriate career in law. I appreciate that some people will find your comments useful, but their general derogatory tone suggests to me that your agenda is more to vent your frustrations than help others.


    I think this comes across as sanctimonious. For a lot of people a career is just their 9 to 5 that pays the bills. From my (limited) experience of high street firms the OP's view holds true. Tsr is filled with hyper ambitious people aiming for the top of the legal profession. I'm sure for the majority of solicitors work really is a pain in the ****, and the work is straightforward and easy to blunder your way through in a small firm.
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    I am not saying that the OPs views are wrong or untrue, and I agree with you that there are probably a lot of solicitors who are just in it to pay the bills.

    All I am saying is that the OP seems to regret ever being in the legal profession. My post was an attempt to show that there might be ways for others to avoid this. There is nothing sanctimonious about that I don't think.
    Offline

    11
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by whiffet)
    ...
    I'm not quite sure what to make of these posts. I appreciate you're trying to provide some thoughts in relation to small/mid-sized firms but I think there's a danger in implying that your unusual experiences are representative of those firms.

    As for the crux of your advice, you suggest that it's as simple as "get them to like you"? I'm a little confused as to how you think applicants are supposed to do that when (as Jacketpotato notes) the application process rarely offers an opportunity to develop that rapport?

    As for your work experience guy, are you saying that he was offered a training contract which wouldn't start for 4 years?

    Finally, I'd echo Nulli's points about pay - if you were a 6yr PQE solicitor in a good firm with an excellent reputation then you were being robbed if you were on less than 30K.
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by chalks)
    I'm not quite sure what to make of these posts. I appreciate you're trying to provide some thoughts in relation to small/mid-sized firms but I think there's a danger in implying that your unusual experiences are representative of those firms.

    As for the crux of your advice, you suggest that it's as simple as "get them to like you"? I'm a little confused as to how you think applicants are supposed to do that when (as Jacketpotato notes) the application process rarely offers an opportunity to develop that rapport?

    As for your work experience guy, are you saying that he was offered a training contract which wouldn't start for 4 years?

    Finally, I'd echo Nulli's points about pay - if you were a 6yr PQE solicitor in a good firm with an excellent reputation then you were being robbed if you were on less than 30K.
    The point I want to stress is that my experiences are NOT unusual; they seem to be the norm -- certainly in the circles in which I mix. I work in the south west. I’ve spoken to U.S. lawyers who share the same view.

    But-- and it’s a big but--what I've found is that it’s only once you’ve been qualified for a bit that the older solicitors open up and tell you how much they now hate the job. For a long time, they keep up the façade. It’s only once you get to speak to the actor playing the part of the solicitor that you get to find out what he or she really thinks.

    Yes, the guy has got a training contract offer for when he has done his degree and LPC.

    Re getting the contract: I’m saying don’t go via the interview route -- get a foot in the door and socialise with the people who count. This only works in the smaller to mid sized firms--ignore if you want to join a big city firm.

    I walked out of my first training contract and, without a reference, got my second one this way.

    Re salary: I know partners on no more than £40,000 in the south west. On one course, I heard about a partner on less than £30,000. It’s got nothing to do with how good you are. That’s just so wrong! It’s what you think when you join the profession, but reality will soon set in. You could be a brilliant lawyer -- but you’ve got to be doing work that pays. It’s tough--really tough--to make money on many matters. So, you could be an amazing lawyer, but it’s the money that counts.

    Even if you are bringing in good money, it doesn’t mean you’ll be rewarded. Firms often have silly policies about how long you have to have worked there before you can get a higher salary.

    One of my colleagues does employment law. He’s expected to open the file, give initial advice in a meeting, follow up that advice in a letter, take statements, draft the statements, and get the matter ready for court -- all for less than £300! In real terms, it means he’s got less than two hours to get the job done. Try to hit a monthly target of £10,000 doing that type of work. It's the same story with family law and criminal law--ditto conveyancing.
    Offline

    21
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by whiffet)
    The point I want to stress is that my experiences are NOT unusual; they seem to be the norm -- certainly in the circles in which I mix. I work in the south west. I’ve spoken to U.S. lawyers who share the same view.
    Like attracts like. You are thoroughly fed up with the law. You are hardly likely to go out drinking with some little ray of sunshine who is deeply committed to all the good work he or she can do.

    But-- and it’s a big but--what I've found is that it’s only once you’ve been qualified for a bit that the older solicitors open up and tell you how much they now hate the job. For a long time, they keep up the façade. It’s only once you get to speak to the actor playing the part of the solicitor that you get to find out what he or she really thinks.
    Like all careers, it has its downs as well as its ups and for certain types of firm it has been very challenging in the last few years.

    Yes, the guy has got a training contract offer for when he has done his degree and LPC.

    Re getting the contract: I’m saying don’t go via the interview route -- get a foot in the door and socialise with the people who count. This only works in the smaller to mid sized firms--ignore if you want to join a big city firm.
    More training contracts than people realise are given out to people who get a foot in the door in another capacity; but in my experience the people who then get on are the ones that do the job well.

    I walked out of my first training contract and, without a reference, got my second one this way.
    You got a training contract in somewhat easier times. Might I guess that you are in crime?

    Re salary: I know partners on no more than £40,000 in the south west. On one course, I heard about a partner on less than £30,000. It’s got nothing to do with how good you are. That’s just so wrong! It’s what you think when you join the profession, but reality will soon set in. You could be a brilliant lawyer -- but you’ve got to be doing work that pays. It’s tough--really tough--to make money on many matters. So, you could be an amazing lawyer, but it’s the money that counts.
    I know some partners with that sort of income in bad times, but they have generally enjoyed the better times as well.

    Although there will be some criminal practitioners on less than £30K basic, that tends to overlook running your car on the legal aid mileage allowance and the fact that most firms pay substantial out of hours payments.

    Even if you are bringing in good money, it doesn’t mean you’ll be rewarded. Firms often have silly policies about how long you have to have worked there before you can get a higher salary.
    If you are in demand you will get a higher salary or a partnership offer.
    Offline

    21
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by whiffet)

    One of my colleagues does employment law. He’s expected to open the file, give initial advice in a meeting, follow up that advice in a letter, take statements, draft the statements, and get the matter ready for court -- all for less than £300! In real terms, it means he’s got less than two hours to get the job done. Try to hit a monthly target of £10,000 doing that type of work. It's the same story with family law and criminal law--ditto conveyancing.
    What does he charge for drafting a staff handbook?

    How much is he paid by the employer for advising the employee on a compromise agreement for an employee about to be shown the door? £500?
    Offline

    11
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by whiffet)
    The point I want to stress is that my experiences are NOT unusual; they seem to be the norm -- certainly in the circles in which I mix. I work in the south west. I’ve spoken to U.S. lawyers who share the same view.

    But-- and it’s a big but--what I've found is that it’s only once you’ve been qualified for a bit that the older solicitors open up and tell you how much they now hate the job. For a long time, they keep up the façade. It’s only once you get to speak to the actor playing the part of the solicitor that you get to find out what he or she really thinks.

    Yes, the guy has got a training contract offer for when he has done his degree and LPC.

    Re getting the contract: I’m saying don’t go via the interview route -- get a foot in the door and socialise with the people who count. This only works in the smaller to mid sized firms--ignore if you want to join a big city firm.

    I walked out of my first training contract and, without a reference, got my second one this way.

    Re salary: I know partners on no more than £40,000 in the south west. On one course, I heard about a partner on less than £30,000. It’s got nothing to do with how good you are. That’s just so wrong! It’s what you think when you join the profession, but reality will soon set in. You could be a brilliant lawyer -- but you’ve got to be doing work that pays. It’s tough--really tough--to make money on many matters. So, you could be an amazing lawyer, but it’s the money that counts.

    Even if you are bringing in good money, it doesn’t mean you’ll be rewarded. Firms often have silly policies about how long you have to have worked there before you can get a higher salary.
    I'm very sorry that you've clearly not enjoyed your time in the profession. I see from another forum that you've been spreading the word there also.

    Can you also see, however, that you may be seeing only a limited part of the picture? I know you think your views are "the norm" but you can only have spoken to a miniscule proportion of the thousands of solicitors who work in small-scale private practice.

    Of course you have to be doing work that pays. Law firms are businesses - if they're not targetting the work which is the most cost-effective then they're not running their businesses properly. I don't think someone is an amazing lawyer, in private practice, unless they're delivering effective legal services to clients who are prepared to pay for it. If churning out wills and doing probate isn't bringing in sufficient cash then look to expand into practice areas which will.

    I think I might have identified where your current firm is going wrong: it's trainee recruitment policy appears to include offering contracts to (I assume) school-leavers who haven't yet been to Uni...

    Given you're leaving private practice I'd be interested to know where you've been working?
    Offline

    18
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by whiffet)
    Re getting the contract: I’m saying don’t go via the interview route -- get a foot in the door and socialise with the people who count. This only works in the smaller to mid sized firms--ignore if you want to join a big city firm.

    I walked out of my first training contract and, without a reference, got my second one this way.
    An interesting idea, but I wonder how practical it is. How do you suggest prospective TC-applicants go about identifying and then subsequently socialise with the key decision makers? Are you suggesting that undergrads sent partners they do not know emails unsolicited emails inviting them to drinks?

    (Original post by whiffet)
    Re salary: I know partners on no more than £40,000 in the south west. On one course, I heard about a partner on less than £30,000. It’s got nothing to do with how good you are. That’s just so wrong! It’s what you think when you join the profession, but reality will soon set in. You could be a brilliant lawyer -- but you’ve got to be doing work that pays. It’s tough--really tough--to make money on many matters. So, you could be an amazing lawyer, but it’s the money that counts.

    Even if you are bringing in good money, it doesn’t mean you’ll be rewarded. Firms often have silly policies about how long you have to have worked there before you can get a higher salary.
    I think you are rapidly moving away from focusing on being a solicitor. This kind of issue applies to all jobs: noone will pay for excellence in a vacuum, you can't expect to be on a far above-average wage if your work isn't lucrative and/or competition scrapes margins to the bone. 40k is still double the median salary in the South West so I'm not quite clear on why you think being a solicitor at a small/mid-sized firm is worse than other reasonably well paid jobs.

    (Original post by bognor-regis)
    I think this comes across as sanctimonious. For a lot of people a career is just their 9 to 5 that pays the bills. From my (limited) experience of high street firms the OP's view holds true. Tsr is filled with hyper ambitious people aiming for the top of the legal profession. I'm sure for the majority of solicitors work really is a pain in the ****, and the work is straightforward and easy to blunder your way through in a small firm.
    If you only want a 9-5 job, I'm not really seeing the problem? There aren't many 9-5 jobs that offer interesting work with a decent pay packet, for fairly obvious reasons. The Op's experience is still one of a relatively good pay packet and regular hours, with plenty of client contact. I'm just not seeing what is so bad about it. I wonder if the Op did not like his colleagues - as with any job, the people you work with are absolutely key...
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by nulli tertius)
    Like attracts like. You are thoroughly fed up with the law. You are hardly likely to go out drinking with some little ray of sunshine who is deeply committed to all the good work he or she can do.
    Not true. It's just rare to find someone who likes it! I know one guy who really likes it.


    Like all careers, it has its downs as well as its ups and for certain types of firm it has been very challenging in the last few years.
    Agreed



    More training contracts than people realise are given out to people who get a foot in the door in another capacity; but in my experience the people who then get on are the ones that do the job well.
    Of course, it's a given that you've also got to be good at the job, too.



    You got a training contract in somewhat easier times. Might I guess that you are in crime?
    Conveyancer. Yes, it was easier, but not easy. The dire warnings were there when I did the LPC. It's now a blood bath.


    I know some partners with that sort of income in bad times, but they have generally enjoyed the better times as well.
    True, but I still think people may be shocked when they see those sort of figures. Even in good times, I know of partners on less than £50,000--and the amount of stress that they have to deal with is also shocking.

    If you are in demand you will get a higher salary or a partnership offer.
    Should be true in an ideal world. It should be the case that if you are good, work hard, and bring in the money then you will be rewarded. But, sadly, I've seen this not happen owing to silly rules and policies about who can be paid what. I've seen it happen a lot. :mad:
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by whiffet)
    When I trained, I often had to get in at 7.30 a.m., and was expected to stay until around 6.30 p.m.

    Once I qualified, the pressure was always there to come in an hour early and stay an hour late.

    The real horror stories come from the big London firms. I knew of people who were often expected to stay until 11 p.m. And pulling all nighters when necessary was just part of it!

    That said, if you really want to be a lawyer, get some experience first. That way, you’ll realise how mundane the day-to-day work can be. If you like it, then it may be the job for you.

    Personally, I think students should have to do a minimum of six months in a firm before starting the LPC. That way, you at least get an idea of what it is like.
    These sort of hours do not just apply to city firms. I have worked in small and medium sized firms and regularly as an assistant have to do early and late hours when required in order to meet and excel the needs of the client. For me it has been an understanding from the start as a junior it is a requirement of the job and I would not have expected any less. It would be naive to think working within a solicitors firm was a 9-5 job.

    From experience, it largely depends on the culture within the firm and department. A large part is fitting into that culture and adapting and this is what stands out how you are able to take different approaches to different clients. It is a case of understanding the environment you work within and also understanding your clients, their needs and the approach to be taken with them.
 
 
 
  • See more of what you like on The Student Room

    You can personalise what you see on TSR. Tell us a little about yourself to get started.

  • Poll
    Would you rather give up salt or pepper?
    Useful resources
  • See more of what you like on The Student Room

    You can personalise what you see on TSR. Tell us a little about yourself to get started.

  • The Student Room, Get Revising and Marked by Teachers are trading names of The Student Room Group Ltd.

    Register Number: 04666380 (England and Wales), VAT No. 806 8067 22 Registered Office: International House, Queens Road, Brighton, BN1 3XE

    Write a reply...
    Reply
    Hide
    Reputation gems: You get these gems as you gain rep from other members for making good contributions and giving helpful advice.