Currently an accountant with no legal experience,vacation scheme or training contract Watch

DimaTae
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Ok so I am currently a qualified accountant, and have worked for a large company for over 4 years. However I've never had any sort of legal work experience, but I have done a lot of research and decided that city law is for me.


I know its extremely competitive, so how much chance would I have of applying for a TC right now, or should i only be applying for vacation schemes/ insight days now.

I dont really know what the correct way to go about this is for non uni student, does my accountancy work experience mean i have more chance to get a place without law experience.

TIA
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infairverona
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You need a law degree to become a solicitor so that should be your first step
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Crumpet1
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You would be applying for a training contract, alongside applying for the GDL at law school. You have to do one year GDL, then one year LPC, then two years training contract before you qualify.

If you can get a training contract, that's great. They'll probably value your existing finance background. However you may find that firms question whether you truly know what practising law is really all about, so make sure you have an answer to that question.

You do realise you'll probably make more money by carrying on with accountancy than by switching to law, don't you?
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DimaTae
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(Original post by Crumpet1)
You would be applying for a training contract, alongside applying for the GDL at law school. You have to do one year GDL, then one year LPC, then two years training contract before you qualify.

If you can get a training contract, that's great. They'll probably value your existing finance background. However you may find that firms question whether you truly know what practising law is really all about, so make sure you have an answer to that question.

You do realise you'll probably make more money by carrying on with accountancy than by switching to law, don't you?
THanks, so its possible to get a training contract at a top city firm without any sort of legal work experience?

What sort of thing can I do to prepare? Read law text books,? or go to court to watch or something? How would I be able to convince them i know what its about.


Also I know I would make way more money in my current career, it would probably take me 4/5 years at least to make as much as I do now. Which is why I am only targeting top city firms, otherwise not much point since it might take me 10 years to earn as much as I do
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DimaTae
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Also when do I need to apply for the GDL if I plan to start it next July?
Are you supposed to secure a training contract before starting the GDL?
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infairverona
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(Original post by DimaTae)
THanks, so its possible to get a training contract at a top city firm without any sort of legal work experience?

What sort of thing can I do to prepare? Read law text books,? or go to court to watch or something? How would I be able to convince them i know what its about.


Also I know I would make way more money in my current career, it would probably take me 4/5 years at least to make as much as I do now. Which is why I am only targeting top city firms, otherwise not much point since it might take me 10 years to earn as much as I do

It's unlikely that you'll get a TC without legal work experience. So far you have no tangible reason as to why you want to make a radical career change, unless you've done any legal work experience. You could apply for vacation schemes now because if you are successful they will pay for your GDL. The best way to convince them though is to get work experience, not sure how you would do that working full time though!

[e] The ideal is to obtain a TC before doing the GDL I suppose, but many law students often complete the LPC before obtaining a TC. So for someone to obtain a TC without any legal work experience at all isn't very realistic. You would be in a better position to apply for TCs if you put yourself through the GDL and do vac schemes next summer, then applying for TCs on your LPC. But that does of course mean funding both the GDL and LPC yourself.
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DimaTae
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(Original post by infairverona)
It's unlikely that you'll get a TC without legal work experience. So far you have no tangible reason as to why you want to make a radical career change, unless you've done any legal work experience. You could apply for vacation schemes now because if you are successful they will pay for your GDL. The best way to convince them though is to get work experience, not sure how you would do that working full time though!

[e] The ideal is to obtain a TC before doing the GDL I suppose, but many law students often complete the LPC before obtaining a TC. So for someone to obtain a TC without any legal work experience at all isn't very realistic. You would be in a better position to apply for TCs if you put yourself through the GDL and do vac schemes next summer, then applying for TCs on your LPC. But that does of course mean funding both the GDL and LPC yourself.
hmmm, that doesn't sound very promising, so basically any career changer into law is screwed?

surely you need to start somewhere for work experience so it should be ok to apply for a vacation scheme without work experience, and maybe get an TC offer out of it?
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infairverona
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(Original post by DimaTae)
hmmm, that doesn't sound very promising, so basically any career changer into law is screwed?

surely you need to start somewhere for work experience so it should be ok to apply for a vacation scheme without work experience, and maybe get an TC offer out of it?
Not screwed, but it will be difficult.

You do need to start somewhere yes, but you do realise the people going on vac schemes right now will be second year law undergrads? Most of whom have done work experience and legal volunteering to get those placements. The competition for vac schemes is high. That's why I said about legal work experience because I don't think it's very likely you'll get a vac scheme without any. Vac schemes are often done in conjunction with training contract applications, so you'd go to a vac scheme for a week or two, do some assessments and if they like you they'll offer you a TC. But especially for such a drastic career change you would definitely need some legal work experience under your belt before applying, otherwise they will question your commitment to a legal career.

Very unlikely that you'll get a TC without any law work experience. They look for commitment to a legal career and it'd be extremely difficult to prove that without any work experience at all, tbh. It's like waking up one day and saying 'Hmm I think I'll train to be a doctor now' without knowing what the career entails, why you want to do it other than on a whim, etc. Especially for the City firms!
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DimaTae
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(Original post by infairverona)
Not screwed, but it will be difficult.

You do need to start somewhere yes, but you do realise the people going on vac schemes right now will be second year law undergrads? Most of whom have done work experience and legal volunteering to get those placements. The competition for vac schemes is high. That's why I said about legal work experience because I don't think it's very likely you'll get a vac scheme without any. Vac schemes are often done in conjunction with training contract applications, so you'd go to a vac scheme for a week or two, do some assessments and if they like you they'll offer you a TC. But especially for such a drastic career change you would definitely need some legal work experience under your belt before applying, otherwise they will question your commitment to a legal career.

Very unlikely that you'll get a TC without any law work experience. They look for commitment to a legal career and it'd be extremely difficult to prove that without any work experience at all, tbh. It's like waking up one day and saying 'Hmm I think I'll train to be a doctor now' without knowing what the career entails, why you want to do it other than on a whim, etc. Especially for the City firms!
ok thanks for your answers, but I thought the vac scheme is legal work experience? what other types of legal experience can you get that would be valuable?
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infairverona
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(Original post by DimaTae)
ok thanks for your answers, but I thought the vac scheme is legal work experience? what other types of legal experience can you get that would be valuable?
It is legal work experience. But it's for people who want to apply for TCs, you still need to show a commitment to a law career to even get a vacation scheme. All undergraduates want them, they're not easy to get. You can get work experience just in law firms if you ask them, shadowing solicitors or doing office admin. The vac schemes are more serious work experience placements which sometimes lead to a TC, for people who can show dedication to a legal career among other skills. I imagine your accounting skills would have prepared you well for the other aspects of the career so in that respect I'm sure you're a good candidate, but it's unrealistic to expect to get a TC without any experience, that's all. I mean I understand you've said you've done some research and want to go into law but you might find once you get into a law firm you actually hate it, you haven't properly tried it yet. If that makes sense.
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Crumpet1
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I don't think it's necessarily as impossible as others are suggesting to career change into law. You do have commercial skills already from a different profession, that will be attractive especially if you say you're interested in commercial or banking law. It would look rather odd for you to apply for a vacation placement when you're not doing something that has 'vacation' time. There are other things you could try to get exposure to law:
- perhaps spend a day in a court or a tribunal just observing;
- if you know any lawyers, see whether you can arrange to have a day or two shadowing them and seeing what they do day to day.

Vacation schemes aren't the be all and end all, they can give you a foot in the door but they are ultimately a different process from TC applications.

If you can, secure a TC before you do the GDL/LPC, as (if you're only going for the city firms) that would give you the sponsorship through both courses. But if the application processes don't line up you may have no option but to apply for the GDL before you have a TC secured.

As for when you apply, you can apply now for the GDL starting in January or September 2014. See here for example: http://www.law.ac.uk/Our-Courses/GDL...GDL/#Full-time
It does depend what your plans are - whether you plan to do the GDL full time, part time, or via online learning.
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Key123
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(Original post by DimaTae)
Ok so I am currently a qualified accountant, and have worked for a large company for over 4 years. However I've never had any sort of legal work experience, but I have done a lot of research and decided that city law is for me.


I know its extremely competitive, so how much chance would I have of applying for a TC right now, or should i only be applying for vacation schemes/ insight days now.

I dont really know what the correct way to go about this is for non uni student, does my accountancy work experience mean i have more chance to get a place without law experience.

TIA
I don't necessarily share the doom and gloom of others above. What kind if accountancy do you practice? What kind of law do you want to pursue?


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arrowhead
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You can (and should) apply for vacation schemes without prior legal experience, especially if you can demonstrate how your work has helped you develop the kind of skills that the firm looks for in potential trainees.

I will agree that it is unlikely you will get a TC with at least some kind of legal/law-related work experience.
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The Blind Monk
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Crumpet and Arrowhead have the essentials of it. Apply for open days and vac schemes. Get an idea of whether it is for you before making the jump. It's possible to get a TC at a good firm without legal work experience (I have one at a SC firm) but I think your chances are much better going for VS to try and get a better idea whether it is for you.

On the note of the GDL, I wouldn't bother applying until you get a TC. You can apply very, very close to the start of the course and get in so long as you have a TC. You get in automatically to BPP if you have a 2.1 anyway. Getting onto the GDL/LPC is not really the problem. Getting a TC offer is.
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vnupe
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I agree with what Blind Monk and Key123 and to a degree with Arrowhead... It is very possible to get a TC without any legal experience. However you would not be the standard candidate, therefore you will not have the normal "profile" like the majority of the TC candidates, however you will have to tow the line and engage in the proscribed process, this may cause some issues, but none that can't be overcome.

Presently, I believe legal firms are seeking finance/accountancy candidates who have a legal qualification and acumen. Assuming you have a 2.1 and the prerequisite AAB or above, to get you past the auto-filter of many city firms, I suspect many will find your background intriguing and depending how you interview/present yourself, you will stand as good a chance as any other non-law grad at securing a TC.

I also agree that you should probably apply for a VS in order to ascertain if the legal field is right for you... from there you can then apply for the GDL/LPC and most likely get it paid for it you are lucky enough to get a TC...
In any event ... Good luck with whatever you choose... as you know, the legal field is highly competitive, but I wouldn't think it is anymore competitive that what you have experienced in accounting or your friends have in finance... as always you have to make yourself standout from the other suitably qualified candidates...
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DimaTae
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(Original post by vnupe)
I agree with what Blind Monk and Key123 and to a degree with Arrowhead... It is very possible to get a TC without any legal experience. However you would not be the standard candidate, therefore you will not have the normal "profile" like the majority of the TC candidates, however you will have to tow the line and engage in the proscribed process, this may cause some issues, but none that can't be overcome.

Presently, I believe legal firms are seeking finance/accountancy candidates who have a legal qualification and acumen. Assuming you have a 2.1 and the prerequisite AAB or above, to get you past the auto-filter of many city firms, I suspect many will find your background intriguing and depending how you interview/present yourself, you will stand as good a chance as any other non-law grad at securing a TC.

I also agree that you should probably apply for a VS in order to ascertain if the legal field is right for you... from there you can then apply for the GDL/LPC and most likely get it paid for it you are lucky enough to get a TC...
In any event ... Good luck with whatever you choose... as you know, the legal field is highly competitive, but I wouldn't think it is anymore competitive that what you have experienced in accounting or your friends have in finance... as always you have to make yourself standout from the other suitably qualified candidates...
thanks this is very helpful, from the advice of most people it seems sensible to try to get on a vacation scheme if possible, however how do I know which vacation schemes would are likely to lead directly to a TC offer, are there certain companies more likely to go this route?

I don't want to do a vacation scheme next summer and then have to wait another year to apply for a training contract.
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The Blind Monk
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(Original post by DimaTae)
thanks this is very helpful, from the advice of most people it seems sensible to try to get on a vacation scheme if possible, however how do I know which vacation schemes would are likely to lead directly to a TC offer, are there certain companies more likely to go this route?

I don't want to do a vacation scheme next summer and then have to wait another year to apply for a training contract.
You can apply for TCs during the time after VSs finish. Plenty of people do it before the (I think it is) July 31st deadline.

You could look up conversion rates for VSs for firms if you want. I don't think it's that important a consideration though. Just look at the type of firm that does work you are actually interested in and apply on the basis of that.
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Key123
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(Original post by DimaTae)
thanks this is very helpful, from the advice of most people it seems sensible to try to get on a vacation scheme if possible, however how do I know which vacation schemes would are likely to lead directly to a TC offer, are there certain companies more likely to go this route?

I don't want to do a vacation scheme next summer and then have to wait another year to apply for a training contract.
Just a small and anally retentive point- when we are at law fairs and students start referring to our law firm as a 'company', we do tend to switch off a little.

That kind of commercial detail is quite important in our line of work.

I'd echo what Blind Monk says about vac schemes. Often they are the best (and realistically only) way of landing a TC. However, you should apply for firms you want to work for and worry about vac scheme conversions after that.


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Crumpet1
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(Original post by Key123)
Just a small and anally retentive point- when we are at law fairs and students start referring to our law firm as a 'company', we do tend to switch off a little.

That kind of commercial detail is quite important in our line of work.

I second this. Calling our firm a 'company' in an application form would be the fast-track to rejection.
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DimaTae
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(Original post by Key123)
Just a small and anally retentive point- when we are at law fairs and students start referring to our law firm as a 'company', we do tend to switch off a little.

That kind of commercial detail is quite important in our line of work.

I'd echo what Blind Monk says about vac schemes. Often they are the best (and realistically only) way of landing a TC. However, you should apply for firms you want to work for and worry about vac scheme conversions after that.


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ah helpful thanks, I thought firm and company were used interchangeably in most cases with firm being used usually in the USA although I do realise in UK law firms are always called firms, but why is that? What's the difference in this case? law firms are usually limited liability parternerships right? How is that a firm?
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