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    I'm in sixth form at the moment and I was just researching further into my career. I've always known that I want to become a solicitor. I understand the route I need to take and I know it's extremely competitive to actually become qualified. I was just wondering, how difficult is it to realistically find yourself a training contract? How many did you apply for?


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    Depends on your A-Level grades and where you study.
    To give yourself the best possible chance; AAB at A-Level and a 2:1 or a First from a RG/Top University.

    It's competitive but so are most job markets.
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    Sorry that this thread's a week old but I only just saw it. In terms of getting a training contract, there's a lot of things involved. I'm applying for city firms from medium-international size next year because I couldn't compete this year for various reasons. This is going to be a long one so I hope you or someone will actually come and read it!

    Barry2011 is right but I'd like to add a few things that I've picked up from my very long list of very hard knocks. AAB for a lot of firms is non-negotiable and that's the minimum A level grades they'll take. 2:1 grade is also non-negotiable. Don't think for a moment if you've got a 2:2 that they might just look past to read the rest of your stellar application; the sad fact is that they won't. I know a girl who got a 3rd this (2nd) year, is still predicted a 2:2, managed to get a placement with a big firm (through connections), is in loads of societies and runs a lot of things, and hasn't had a single application read past 'predicted 2:2'. I went to City Law live to pick brains on these things, and they all admit they just throw applications out over tiny errors. So if you do have AAB, 2:1 or higher, and make a spelling or grammar mistake you're going in the bin. Meeting the minimum won't mean that you have a chance of getting one, it will just mean in reality that you'll at least make it into the reading queue and won't be shoved out by the automatic filter.

    Imagine walking a tightrope but the tightrope is also covered in vegetable oil and pebbles you have to step over.

    Now I've got the 'not screwing about' part out of the way, hopefully you read this far so I can tell you I'm not trying to scare you! I made the mistake in first year of university of not looking ahead too far and only thinking of a TC as something I wanted to get. You're in sixth form and that makes me cry with happiness because you're asking these questions. It's hard but it isn't impossible. A lot of firms are going CV blind and not looking at where you went to university now, but still aim for the highest you can possibly go for- it still helps. Do all your work, do all your reading, get a part time job. Try and find some legal work experience- email around, call around, walk in and beg to just see what they're doing for a day if you have to- but if you can't then don't just sit on your free time and do nothing. Get a hobby or volunteer. Firms don't just want someone who can do their academic work, if you get a first but you have the personality of a shoe and you never do anything except study, they probably won't pick you over someone who got a 2:1 but is a well rounded, charismatic individual.

    The first thing you'll probably be applying for when you get to uni is vacation schemes, but this goes for TC applications too- don't send 30 mediocre applications hoping that someone will be satisfied enough to give you a shot. It's better to send 10 or 15 well researched, planned and carefully written ones than blanket apply. Especially if you're one of the people who copy pastes their application to 20 firms and forgets to change the [insert firm name here] to the name of the firm. Oh and get the firm name right whenever you contact any of them. Get someone else to read your applications, take them to your careers service, show them to your parents. If you don't get a vacation scheme it hurts but you can make it up elsewhere, just remember that it's a long hard road and just about everything on it sucks, but you'll have a great thick skin from all the disappointing emails you'll receive.

    And don't ever lie on any application, especially if you want to work in a city firm. Often they all know each other and it will come out, and they will know who you are. If you've written down that you've performed in an orchestra when really you just play hot cross buns on a recorder, and then in an interview you get caught in your own lie, that's the end of your chances with that firm- probably forever. No one likes a liar. I know it can be hard to resist just a little bit of embellishment, but really- don't.

    Good luck anyway!
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    (Original post by Vero_)
    Sorry that this thread's a week old but I only just saw it. In terms of getting a training contract, there's a lot of things involved. I'm applying for city firms from medium-international size next year because I couldn't compete this year for various reasons. This is going to be a long one so I hope you or someone will actually come and read it!

    Barry2011 is right but I'd like to add a few things that I've picked up from my very long list of very hard knocks. AAB for a lot of firms is non-negotiable and that's the minimum A level grades they'll take. 2:1 grade is also non-negotiable. Don't think for a moment if you've got a 2:2 that they might just look past to read the rest of your stellar application; the sad fact is that they won't. I know a girl who got a 3rd this (2nd) year, is still predicted a 2:2, managed to get a placement with a big firm (through connections), is in loads of societies and runs a lot of things, and hasn't had a single application read past 'predicted 2:2'. I went to City Law live to pick brains on these things, and they all admit they just throw applications out over tiny errors. So if you do have AAB, 2:1 or higher, and make a spelling or grammar mistake you're going in the bin. Meeting the minimum won't mean that you have a chance of getting one, it will just mean in reality that you'll at least make it into the reading queue and won't be shoved out by the automatic filter.

    Imagine walking a tightrope but the tightrope is also covered in vegetable oil and pebbles you have to step over.

    Now I've got the 'not screwing about' part out of the way, hopefully you read this far so I can tell you I'm not trying to scare you! I made the mistake in first year of university of not looking ahead too far and only thinking of a TC as something I wanted to get. You're in sixth form and that makes me cry with happiness because you're asking these questions. It's hard but it isn't impossible. A lot of firms are going CV blind and not looking at where you went to university now, but still aim for the highest you can possibly go for- it still helps. Do all your work, do all your reading, get a part time job. Try and find some legal work experience- email around, call around, walk in and beg to just see what they're doing for a day if you have to- but if you can't then don't just sit on your free time and do nothing. Get a hobby or volunteer. Firms don't just want someone who can do their academic work, if you get a first but you have the personality of a shoe and you never do anything except study, they probably won't pick you over someone who got a 2:1 but is a well rounded, charismatic individual.

    The first thing you'll probably be applying for when you get to uni is vacation schemes, but this goes for TC applications too- don't send 30 mediocre applications hoping that someone will be satisfied enough to give you a shot. It's better to send 10 or 15 well researched, planned and carefully written ones than blanket apply. Especially if you're one of the people who copy pastes their application to 20 firms and forgets to change the [insert firm name here] to the name of the firm. Oh and get the firm name right whenever you contact any of them. Get someone else to read your applications, take them to your careers service, show them to your parents. If you don't get a vacation scheme it hurts but you can make it up elsewhere, just remember that it's a long hard road and just about everything on it sucks, but you'll have a great thick skin from all the disappointing emails you'll receive.

    And don't ever lie on any application, especially if you want to work in a city firm. Often they all know each other and it will come out, and they will know who you are. If you've written down that you've performed in an orchestra when really you just play hot cross buns on a recorder, and then in an interview you get caught in your own lie, that's the end of your chances with that firm- probably forever. No one likes a liar. I know it can be hard to resist just a little bit of embellishment, but really- don't.

    Good luck anyway!
    I've only just picked this up! But thank you so much, there's some brilliant advice there. I really appreciate that you took your time to write all that - it genuinely helped. Thank you!!




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