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Poor first year LLB, Is there still hope to practice Law at a top law firm? Watch

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    Hi all,

    I wont go into the ins and outs but i was on course for a good first year result and then the unthinkable happened and i split up with my fiance which snowballed into a few other stressful situations. This all kicked off just four weeks before my end of year exams and essay due dates. Due to everything that was going on in my private life I just couldn't focus on my studies. So then i stupidly convinced myself there was no point going to the exams as I couldn't remember anything, didn't submit my essay even though it was a decent one, and now waiting to see if my mitigating circumstances were successful.

    On the positive i feel much better now and have started reading back through notes from last year in the hope i can resit and not be capped. just worried that i have messed up my chance at what i wanted to do

    Any advice is welcome
    Thanks guys
    Pete
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    (Original post by Petemg)
    Hi all,

    I wont go into the ins and outs but i was on course for a good first year result and then the unthinkable happened and i split up with my fiance which snowballed into a few other stressful situations. This all kicked off just four weeks before my end of year exams and essay due dates. Due to everything that was going on in my private life I just couldn't focus on my studies. So then i stupidly convinced myself there was no point going to the exams as I couldn't remember anything, didn't submit my essay even though it was a decent one, and now waiting to see if my mitigating circumstances were successful.

    On the positive i feel much better now and have started reading back through notes from last year in the hope i can resit and not be capped. just worried that i have messed up my chance at what i wanted to do

    Any advice is welcome
    Thanks guys
    Pete
    Sorry to hear about you and your ex-fiancé - I'm glad to hear that you're feeling better and I hope your mitigating circumstances proposal is successful.

    Obviously if you are allowed to resit uncapped, then you will be reverted back to your previous situation; simply do your best, see what results you come out with and then assess accordingly.

    However, I assume you're more interested in the scenario where you're not allowed to resit uncapped. Getting poor first year grades (for whatever reason) is absolutely not fatal to your chances of working at a top firm. All it essentially means is that your prospective route into 'X Firm' will be somewhat narrowed down.

    There are currently two ways one may receive a TC: 1) through a vacation scheme or 2) through a direct TC application. Vacation schemes (Summer ones) are applied for at the beginning of your second year, using your first year grades as the academic basis. Unfortunately your grades - despite your unfortunate circumstances - are most unlikely to warrant consideration by the top firms. There is of course merit to the argument that it might be worth pleading mitigating circumstances with a firm, but if your university did not consider it a valid excuse, will the law firm? I cannot answer that question, but it boils down to whether or not you are prepared to put in the necessary time and effort (both physical and emotional) into the process, possibly at the expense of studying and achieving good second year grades.

    The other route is through direct TC applications - these are usually open in June-July of each year. Assuming you decide not to apply for vacation schemes, the earliest time you could apply for a TC would be June next year (in most cases), using your second year AND first year grades as the academic basis. The emboldened part is to emphasise that, if you produce an impressive set of second year results, you could persuasively argue that they should offset your first year ones (bringing in your mitigating circumstances). Of course, if you were unsuccessful at the end of your second year, you can apply through the direct route again at the end of your third year (hopefully with an impressive overall grade that will negate the first year results).

    My advice, assuming you are unsuccessful with your mitigating circumstances, would be to put 100% focus in your second year on obtaining the best set of results possible and worry about TCs later. If you are able to boast a set of impressive second year results then they will add much more gravitas to your overall application, and truly highlight the anomalous nature of your first year results.
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    I know plenty of people who got poor first year results and have gone on to get good training contacts from University - just make sure you have good experience and make the rest of your application shine!
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    (Original post by Petemg)
    Hi all,

    I wont go into the ins and outs but i was on course for a good first year result and then the unthinkable happened and i split up with my fiance which snowballed into a few other stressful situations. This all kicked off just four weeks before my end of year exams and essay due dates. Due to everything that was going on in my private life I just couldn't focus on my studies. So then i stupidly convinced myself there was no point going to the exams as I couldn't remember anything, didn't submit my essay even though it was a decent one, and now waiting to see if my mitigating circumstances were successful.

    On the positive i feel much better now and have started reading back through notes from last year in the hope i can resit and not be capped. just worried that i have messed up my chance at what i wanted to do

    Any advice is welcome
    Thanks guys
    Pete
    Not necessarily fatal given the circumstances, but it will be an additional thing to explain away (which nobody needs). You would also need to convince the firms that a similar event would not put you out of action while working at the firm.

    Have you considered repeating the year?
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    (Original post by LawLad13)
    Sorry to hear about you and your ex-fiancé - I'm glad to hear that you're feeling better and I hope your mitigating circumstances proposal is successful.

    Obviously if you are allowed to resit uncapped, then you will be reverted back to your previous situation; simply do your best, see what results you come out with and then assess accordingly.

    However, I assume you're more interested in the scenario where you're not allowed to resit uncapped. Getting poor first year grades (for whatever reason) is absolutely not fatal to your chances of working at a top firm. All it essentially means is that your prospective route into 'X Firm' will be somewhat narrowed down.

    There are currently two ways one may receive a TC: 1) through a vacation scheme or 2) through a direct TC application. Vacation schemes (Summer ones) are applied for at the beginning of your second year, using your first year grades as the academic basis. Unfortunately your grades - despite your unfortunate circumstances - are most unlikely to warrant consideration by the top firms. There is of course merit to the argument that it might be worth pleading mitigating circumstances with a firm, but if your university did not consider it a valid excuse, will the law firm? I cannot answer that question, but it boils down to whether or not you are prepared to put in the necessary time and effort (both physical and emotional) into the process, possibly at the expense of studying and achieving good second year grades.

    The other route is through direct TC applications - these are usually open in June-July of each year. Assuming you decide not to apply for vacation schemes, the earliest time you could apply for a TC would be June next year (in most cases), using your second year AND first year grades as the academic basis. The emboldened part is to emphasise that, if you produce an impressive set of second year results, you could persuasively argue that they should offset your first year ones (bringing in your mitigating circumstances). Of course, if you were unsuccessful at the end of your second year, you can apply through the direct route again at the end of your third year (hopefully with an impressive overall grade that will negate the first year results).

    My advice, assuming you are unsuccessful with your mitigating circumstances, would be to put 100% focus in your second year on obtaining the best set of results possible and worry about TCs later. If you are able to boast a set of impressive second year results then they will add much more gravitas to your overall application, and truly highlight the anomalous nature of your first year results.
    Hi Lawlad13,

    Thanks for the reply, you are right if my mitigating circumstances are successful the plan would be to get the grades I feel I would have got without the situation I was placed. So i was looking for advice around the worst case.

    Thanks for the advice on the best way to proceed should my circumstances be turned down. If it comes to it i will just throw myself into second year like someone who has a point to prove and with the free time i have now i should be able to get the good grades that i know i can obtain. Would be a shame to miss out on a vac scheme though as the experience gained and contacts made would be useful.

    Thanks again
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    (Original post by AHollinrake)
    I know plenty of people who got poor first year results and have gone on to get good training contacts from University - just make sure you have good experience and make the rest of your application shine!

    Thanks for that, that is very reassuring to hear. My concern was the firms would look at first year results and reject me based on the first year results.
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    In real life no one gives a **** if their solicitor or barrister has split up with their partner or got divorced or even if their baby died. They expect professional people to be able to concentrate on delivering the service they are paying for. If you persist in this career then at least you need a better excuse for your poor performance.
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    (Original post by TurboCretin)
    Not necessarily fatal given the circumstances, but it will be an additional thing to explain away (which nobody needs). You would also need to convince the firms that a similar event would not put you out of action while working at the firm.

    Have you considered repeating the year?

    Hi, Yeah have felt like i have already had to explain it away to too many people, I am pretty certain i will not be in a similar situation again, you live and learn.

    Not really keen on repeating the whole year, I worked hard for the best part of the year, feels pointless repeating the whole year. Plus I am 30 so I am reluctant to add extra years onto the time before i graduate.
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    (Original post by Petemg)
    Hi, Yeah have felt like i have already had to explain it away to too many people, I am pretty certain i will not be in a similar situation again, you live and learn.

    Not really keen on repeating the whole year, I worked hard for the best part of the year, feels pointless repeating the whole year. Plus I am 30 so I am reluctant to add extra years onto the time before i graduate.
    You might be 30 but still have many working years ahead of you so don't feel the need to rush your career. I think given the circumstances it might be the best option, if anything you should be able to smash the exams as you will know the content doubly well then you won't have anything to explain away and won't need to worry about limiting your career prospects.

    (That's just my opinion though. Obviously at the end of the day, you've got to do what is right for you )
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    (Original post by Old_Simon)
    In real life no one gives a **** if their solicitor or barrister has split up with their partner or got divorced or even if their baby died. They expect professional people to be able to concentrate on delivering the service they are paying for. If you persist in this career then at least you need a better excuse for your poor performance.
    No offence old Simon, but not sure on your ability to read.

    It wasn't the splitting up, it was the situations that snowballed out of it. Not to go into major details but one of the things she did was clear out our joint savings acc which was where my wages was paid into and majority was my money, and she waited until i signed a lease on a new apartment that was in my budget with my savings to do this. As i said that's one of at least 5 things she has done, so I am well aware that no one cares about a break up, myself included, but the nonsense that followed would affect anyone's ability to concentrate on exams. If you argue otherwise then you my friend are not human.
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    (Original post by Petemg)
    Hi, Yeah have felt like i have already had to explain it away to too many people, I am pretty certain i will not be in a similar situation again, you live and learn.

    Not really keen on repeating the whole year, I worked hard for the best part of the year, feels pointless repeating the whole year. Plus I am 30 so I am reluctant to add extra years onto the time before i graduate.
    In my opinion, it wouldn't be like your year's work would be wasted - you already have familiarity with the subjects so it would be much easier second time around. You could probably do very well, and that would definitely help with vacation scheme/training contract applications. But I can understand your anxiety to get your career going.
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    (Original post by Old_Simon)
    In real life no one gives a **** if their solicitor or barrister has split up with their partner or got divorced or even if their baby died. They expect professional people to be able to concentrate on delivering the service they are paying for. If you persist in this career then at least you need a better excuse for your poor performance.
    A girl from my university repeated a year due to her sister being left comatose after a serious car accident. She now has a training contract with White and Case.
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    (Original post by Petemg)
    No offence old Simon, but not sure on your ability to read.

    It wasn't the splitting up, it was the situations that snowballed out of it. Not to go into major details but one of the things she did was clear out our joint savings acc which was where my wages was paid into and majority was my money, and she waited until i signed a lease on a new apartment that was in my budget with my savings to do this. As i said that's one of at least 5 things she has done, so I am well aware that no one cares about a break up, myself included, but the nonsense that followed would affect anyone's ability to concentrate on exams. If you argue otherwise then you my friend are not human.
    Well I certainly do not mean to sound non human or heartless. But I speak with some experience of how tough, ruthless and demanding most employers are and how any evident blip or weakness can easily be translated in their eyes into a "lack of commitment" and hence fatal to the applicant. The fact is there are infinitely more ostensibly qualified lawyers than there are jobs available. The ability to work under intense and often conflicting pressures is a key skill in a lawyer. At the front end law is not an academic profession. It is a ruthless and very hard professional way of life in which the winner generally takes all. Sharing a joint account in the way you describe is madness.
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    (Original post by Old_Simon)
    Well I certainly do not mean to sound non human or heartless. But I speak with some experience of how tough, ruthless and demanding most employers are and how any evident blip or weakness can easily be translated in their eyes into a "lack of commitment" and hence fatal to the applicant. The fact is there are infinitely more ostensibly qualified lawyers than there are jobs available. The ability to work under intense and often conflicting pressures is a key skill in a lawyer. At the front end law is not an academic profession. It is a ruthless and very hard professional way of life in which the winner generally takes all. Sharing a joint account in the way you describe is madness.
    Well thanks for your honesty at least. I'm quite certain I can show evidence of many battles and hurdles I have overcome. I can certainly show commitment that's for sure.

    My joint account situation was indeed madness but has bean a hard lesson learnt, on the upshot at least i will have a visit to the small claims court to add to my legal experience
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    (Original post by Sazzy890)
    You might be 30 but still have many working years ahead of you so don't feel the need to rush your career. I think given the circumstances it might be the best option, if anything you should be able to smash the exams as you will know the content doubly well then you won't have anything to explain away and won't need to worry about limiting your career prospects.

    (That's just my opinion though. Obviously at the end of the day, you've got to do what is right for you )
    thanks for the reply sazzy, hopefully i have many working years ahead, I just feel if I sat the exam next week i would get at least a 60 so for me the repeat a year would feel a waste.
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    (Original post by TurboCretin)
    In my opinion, it wouldn't be like your year's work would be wasted - you already have familiarity with the subjects so it would be much easier second time around. You could probably do very well, and that would definitely help with vacation scheme/training contract applications. But I can understand your anxiety to get your career going.

    Some good points there, and certainly something to consider. I should know next week where I stand on my mitigating circumstances
 
 
 
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