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The Secret to Getting A Training Contract watch

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    (Original post by jacketpotato)
    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?



    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.


    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...
    1. You work for free and get in that way. Simple.

    2. It's not a 9-5 job, few find the work interesting, and the pay isn't as good as you'd think. And my work mates are great btw. Read the thread again to find out why it is so hellish!
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    (Original post by emmings)
    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!
    I agree, from experience, trainees and NQ's I know earn more than £23k.

    Additionally, social skills can aid when building a rapport with members of your team and within the firm, however this is completely different from the professional rapport required for clients. In terms of being a lawyer, as you have noted legal ability is more important as is the ability to pay attention to detail.
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    (Original post by chalks)
    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?
    Bognor Regis is right.

    Your posts reek of arrogance. You go and tell the countless law firms that have been around for 100 years plus that they are running their business the wrong way. Tell them that things would be fine if they learned how to run a business and attract better work. See what sort of response you get ...

    I spoken to countless solicitors, and their views usually tend to be grim.
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    (Original post by undermyskin)
    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.
    And do you think those sort of hours are healthy? What about your family, friends, and spouse? It's good that you went in with your eyes open. But what about YOU. You'll wake up one day, on your own, old and lonely. That's when you'll really know whether it was worth it.

    For me, I'd rather spend time with my young wife to be. That's where you'll find hapiness--not stuck in an office drafting documents into the wee hours.
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    (Original post by whiffet)



    Conveyancer.

    Practical questions:

    Resi or commercial?

    If resi, how was the team you were the head of organised?

    Was it you at the top (meeting and greeting, reviewing the pigs of titles, doing the leasehold stuff and troubleshooting), 2 or 3 senior paralegals doing most of the routine stuff and couple of junior paralegals/typists to do the searches (and when they existed HIPS), SDLT returns and registrations?

    Or were you and a secretary doing conveyancing the way the senior partner's grandfather would have done it?
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    (Original post by whiffet)
    Bognor Regis is right.

    Your posts reek of arrogance. You go and tell the countless law firms that have been around for 100 years plus that they are running their business the wrong way. Tell them that things would be fine if they learned how to run a business and attract better work. See what sort of response you get ...

    I spoken to countless solicitors, and their views usually tend to be grim.
    I don't think BR was referring to me - he posted before I did. In any event, I didn't intend to be arrogant in my post.

    I have been in the profession for many years - I see firms refusing to change from the age-old billing methods and ways of delivering services to clients. Firms that refuse to embrace any form of innovation or change. Firms that then complain that they're unable to bring in enough money to make things worthwhile. What might have made sense 100 years ago doesn't make sense today. If those firms and their lawyers are getting neither the financial recompense they think they deserve, or the intellectual stimulation they want, they need to do something differently.

    What I don't understand is why you've chosen to post 2 identical threads on different legal forums apparently extolling this amazing way of getting into the legal profession and then, in the same breath, trying to convince everyone that the work is hellish and should be avoided at all costs.
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    (Original post by nulli tertius)
    Practical questions:

    Resi or commercial?

    If resi, how was the team you were the head of organised?

    Was it you at the top (meeting and greeting, reviewing the pigs of titles, doing the leasehold stuff and troubleshooting), 2 or 3 senior paralegals doing most of the routine stuff and couple of junior paralegals/typists to do the searches (and when they existed HIPS), SDLT returns and registrations?

    Or were you and a secretary doing conveyancing the way the senior partner's grandfather would have done it?
    Ha! What you would call the old-fashioned way. The conveyancing factories are just plain awful. If they are the future, then it’s bad news for clients. I’m mostly resi.

    Very sorry Chalk if he wasn’t referring to you. Honest answer re my posts--I hadn’t realised to what extent people would seize on the negative comments I made. Because lawyers tend to say those sorts of things all the time (at least the ones I know), I didn’t think my comments would be controversial. Doh!
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    (Original post by whiffet)
    Ha! What you would call the old-fashioned way. The conveyancing factories are just plain awful. If they are the future, then it’s bad news for clients. I’m mostly resi.
    I think you have made a very wise decision to get out!

    What I described isn't a conveyancing factory. That is how modern provincial practices are providing, profitably, a personalised service. We are running 5 offices (one of which is in a town of 2000 people) with on-site residential conveyancing but we only have three conveyancing solicitors.
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    (Original post by whiffet)
    And do you think those sort of hours are healthy? What about your family, friends, and spouse? It's good that you went in with your eyes open. But what about YOU. You'll wake up one day, on your own, old and lonely. That's when you'll really know whether it was worth it.

    For me, I'd rather spend time with my young wife to be. That's where you'll find hapiness--not stuck in an office drafting documents into the wee hours.

    To start with I am still young and at the bottom of the ladder but I have been trained by peers who have stressed and encouraged the balance between work and social. It is a case of work hard play hard.

    The hours may not seem healthy but for me do not cause to much of a concern. I had the option to take the 9-5 property work but to be honest if it had not been my own choice to put the extra hours in to assist beyond what was expected by the partners of me, to volunteer to help I would not be in the position I am in now.

    In a way I am perhaps lucky in that my partner and I have had a mutual understanding from the start as to the importance of our careers at these early stages and both understand the demands of the job, including the hours required. If anything he respects me for the determination and dedication I have to my career.

    In terms of my social life, many of my friends are also in jobs with irregular hours so it is nothing unusual. We always work around it.

    I think it is largely about making sure you have the balance and it is only if you are unable to get the social/work balance things can go wrong.
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    Is it not against SRA rules to offer training contracts so far in advance as the case you describe?
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    [/QUOTE]Yes, the guy has got a training contract offer for when he has done his degree and LPC.[/QUOTE]

    To reiterate earlier comments. This is unusual unless in exceptional circumstances the person has been in the Firm for several years as a paralegal.

    [/QUOTE]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. [/QUOTE]

    It is common advice before applying to university to study law that certainly by your second year you should have some legal work experience.



    [/QUOTE]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. [/QUOTE]

    Obviously salary differs from regions, but it is difficult to say convincingly this can be applied across the whole of the South West Region.

    [/QUOTE]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.[/QUOTE]

    Again, this depends on whether a firm is not adapting to change and is still stuck in ageing billing practices. It is known that some areas at different times within the economy will be more profitable but as standard there are areas which as they tend to have fixed rates such as conveyancing and probate do have lower fees. On the basis of personal experience, low fees in conveyancing is usually as a result of bulk work and an expectation of mass. Regardless, I would have to say from experience those charges and the target in fact seem somewhat low.
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    (Original post by hmaus)
    This was the first thing I thought as well!

    Surely you have to wait until 1st Sept of 3rd year to give an offer? If it's not an official offer then it's not that much use to either the prospective trainee or the firm as anything could happen in the meantime (for example the lad could probably get a better offer if your place is so dire and his charm skills are as sh*t hot as you say )
    It’s not dire. It’s a well-respected firm.
 
 
 
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