Magic Circle Rejections - Reapply & Self-funded GDL? Watch

atyau
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#1
Report Thread starter 5 years ago
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Hey everyone,

I'm a current Masters student (non-law) here in the UK and did my undergrad at a North American university.

I've recently been applying to training contracts at Magic Circle firms. However, after receiving rejections from A&O and Freshfields without an interview (and pretty sure I'll be getting one from Linklaters), and not receiving an offer after the Clifford Chance Assessment Day, I'm a little lost as to what I should do next. I'm also not sure I'm competitive enough for Slaughter and May since the other four haven't been very positive...

Do you think it's worthwhile to reapply to just the Magic Circles next year? And to fund the GDL by myself for the upcoming year?

The reason why I'm so concerned with getting a TC from a Magic Circle is because from my research, it seems that there's a HUGE difference in terms of training and reputation between the Magic Circle and the other Silver Circle/City firms - after all, it is the Magic Circles who take on the biggest cases from the biggest clients...and I've even heard partners say that essentially, where you start almost determines where you'll be in the near future (unless you make partner one day...) given the economic climate.

If I manage to get a TC with a Silver Circle/City firm (and I honestly don't have much confidence in getting one at this point...) - do you think it's worth pursuing? Will I actually have a chance to move to a Magic Circle/US firm after qualifying? And is the training/development at non-Magic Circles of considerably less quality? If so, is it worth taking a loan to fund the GDL myself and re-apply to the Magic Circles? I'm pretty certain that I want to develop my legal career here in the City.

Thanks!
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Key123
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(Original post by atyau)
Hey everyone,

I'm a current Masters student (non-law) here in the UK and did my undergrad at a North American university.

I've recently been applying to training contracts at Magic Circle firms. However, after receiving rejections from A&O and Freshfields without an interview (and pretty sure I'll be getting one from Linklaters), and not receiving an offer after the Clifford Chance Assessment Day, I'm a little lost as to what I should do next. I'm also not sure I'm competitive enough for Slaughter and May since the other four haven't been very positive...

Do you think it's worthwhile to reapply to just the Magic Circles next year? And to fund the GDL by myself for the upcoming year?

The reason why I'm so concerned with getting a TC from a Magic Circle is because from my research, it seems that there's a HUGE difference in terms of training and reputation between the Magic Circle and the other Silver Circle/City firms - after all, it is the Magic Circles who take on the biggest cases from the biggest clients...and I've even heard partners say that essentially, where you start almost determines where you'll be in the near future (unless you make partner one day...) given the economic climate.

If I manage to get a TC with a Silver Circle/City firm (and I honestly don't have much confidence in getting one at this point...) - do you think it's worth pursuing? Will I actually have a chance to move to a Magic Circle/US firm after qualifying? And is the training/development at non-Magic Circles of considerably less quality? If so, is it worth taking a loan to fund the GDL myself and re-apply to the Magic Circles? I'm pretty certain that I want to develop my legal career here in the City.

Thanks!
There are pros and cons in each instance, but please remember that 'Magic Circle' is just a tag. You can get the same client exposure elsewhere and you can get the same quality of work elsewhere- it is just that the perception is different.

I'd be concerned if your applications and interviews explained why you wanted to join each firm in this way as well.

Ultimately, it's possible (even likely) you'd get better training elsewhere where you are one of the only trainees in your team and not one of a dozen or so. I'm not training at a Magic Circle firm but I am effectively running my own files and meeting clients every week in a corporate team. Yes, I'm not always working directly with Blue Chips (although I have done so), but I don't really need the 'client name'.

In terms of your actual question- if you want to get into the MC then that is your only option, really. Many I know who self funded the GDL managed to get a TC during that year.

Edit: When I say 'only option' I mean in the sense of plugging on to try and get in. Rather than self fund, you could try to get other commercial work experience and swap from there.

If you have a look in the 'Legal' section, you will see that Jess from Freshfields posts on this site. Why not just ask her what she thinks?
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gtfo
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(Original post by atyau)
Hey everyone,

I'm a current Masters student (non-law) here in the UK and did my undergrad at a North American university.

I've recently been applying to training contracts at Magic Circle firms. However, after receiving rejections from A&O and Freshfields without an interview (and pretty sure I'll be getting one from Linklaters), and not receiving an offer after the Clifford Chance Assessment Day, I'm a little lost as to what I should do next. I'm also not sure I'm competitive enough for Slaughter and May since the other four haven't been very positive...

Do you think it's worthwhile to reapply to just the Magic Circles next year? And to fund the GDL by myself for the upcoming year?

The reason why I'm so concerned with getting a TC from a Magic Circle is because from my research, it seems that there's a HUGE difference in terms of training and reputation between the Magic Circle and the other Silver Circle/City firms - after all, it is the Magic Circles who take on the biggest cases from the biggest clients...and I've even heard partners say that essentially, where you start almost determines where you'll be in the near future (unless you make partner one day...) given the economic climate.

If I manage to get a TC with a Silver Circle/City firm (and I honestly don't have much confidence in getting one at this point...) - do you think it's worth pursuing? Will I actually have a chance to move to a Magic Circle/US firm after qualifying? And is the training/development at non-Magic Circles of considerably less quality? If so, is it worth taking a loan to fund the GDL myself and re-apply to the Magic Circles? I'm pretty certain that I want to develop my legal career here in the City.

Thanks!
You need to cast a much wider net. Magic Circle is an out of date term; yes, those five are still the most prestigious in the City, but the difference in quality or type of work between those and the next three dozen firms in size/revenue/profitability is going to be of no material difference to a trainee/junior associate.

Yes, if you want to switch firms, there's probably an inherent advantage in having qualified at say Freshfields over Nabarro. But that's not to say you'd be somehow barred from switching to a White Shoe firm because you qualified somewhere ostensibly less impressive.

Getting an AC at Clifford Chance shows that you're not deluded in your pursuit of a TC. In my opinion, unless you're independently wealthy you'd be mad to self fund instead of trying to get a TC somewhere else.
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