Hey there! Sign in to join this conversationNew here? Join for free
Turn on thread page Beta
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    Hi all,

    I've been lurking for a while and gleaned some really useful and helpful advice from the many posters so thanks in advance!

    As the thread title suggests I'm looking for some frank and honest but informed advice please.

    My background; not the typical academic route into law by any stretch of the imagination! I'm a mature student at 27 yrs and the main issue is I left sixth form with a single A level in ICT at a C grade (what an idiot in hindsight!) my explanation for this (some might say excuse ) is that whilst I was completing my A-levels I successfully applied and joined the Police service at 19. With no requirement for any academic qualifications I put academia to one side and focussed on that career.

    I spent the next 6 and a half years within the Police (both as a Community Support Officer and a regular Police Officer) before the realisation hit me that I actually wanted to pursue a career within the legal industry; in private practice as a solicitor. As such, I resigned from the Police and managed to get accepted at a somewhat sub-par university onto their 3 year Law LLB degree through my professional experience.

    I completed my first year and attained a 75% average (with all modules over 70%) and I then transferred to a top 20 uni (as a direct second year entrant) where I am completing my last two years of the degree.

    I am currently volunteering with a local community law service and I also work part time at a local high street firm.

    What are my prospects!? I appreciate this is a fairly broad question and will depend from firm to firm just wondering whether anyone has any similar experience or can advise on where I should realistically be looking at when applying for vac schemes and TCs. I've done around 6 vac-scheme apps so far ranging from regional firms to international firms but my heart is really set on an international city firm. Still awaiting a response from all of them currently. Am I being unrealistic in this endeavour or is it difficult but not impossible?

    With my professional experience I can evidence almost all of the required soft-skills and I'm hoping that my extra-curricular volunteering and work will hold me in good stead - enough to turn a blind eye to the shocking A-level result.

    Thanks for reading
    Offline

    16
    ReputationRep:
    I'm pretty sure your first year grades will make some firms look past the A-levels.

    I know I would have done (and would if I was still recruiting).

    You need to contact firms that you want to apply to and who a minimum UCAS requirement. You need to explain your story and ask them directly as to whether it's worthwhile applying.



    Posted from TSR Mobile
    Offline

    1
    ReputationRep:
    Hi

    Well, you sound quite interesting and you will certainly have interesting, useful experience which as you say, you can utilise in your favour - A levels - I also have no good A levels and am a mature student.

    I do think that most of the big city law firms are set up to employ people in year two of their uni course, and generally they are not people like you (or me). The application systems 'filter you out' if you do not have the right A level results. Even if the system does allow you to apply, then the actual human HR recruiters will likely filter you out.

    So, like the other poster has said - you need to make a hit list of firms now and contact them all to find out what their policy would be. For me, I approach firms which I know have a broader attitude to recruitment and will look at other applicants who have other skills to offer. They are out there. Generally, there will be a box to explain your A level results - so you just need to write something persuasive - honest - but persuasive about your A level results and your drive to get into the police.

    There are also city law firms who operate 'blind' applications - and also look out for essay competitions etc to get you a place on a vacation scheme.

    My other thought is, are you really sure you want to do city law? With your experience? There may be other outlets for you that might value your experience more? CPS? Or perhaps firms which have nice white collar crime practices?

    You will need a coherent story ie why the police, then why not the police? Why not the police and then international law? What is the thread? Police to lawyer makes sense, but then there is an expectation you would be interested in criminal law - is there a good reason for your wanting to go to the big players?

    But basically, you have a pretty good experience and a good reason for your A levels - I think - you will need to show academic achievement so do point to your very good results recently instead when you explain your C


    (Original post by exbob)
    Hi all,

    I've been lurking for a while and gleaned some really useful and helpful advice from the many posters so thanks in advance!

    As the thread title suggests I'm looking for some frank and honest but informed advice please.

    My background; not the typical academic route into law by any stretch of the imagination! I'm a mature student at 27 yrs and the main issue is I left sixth form with a single A level in ICT at a C grade (what an idiot in hindsight!) my explanation for this (some might say excuse ) is that whilst I was completing my A-levels I successfully applied and joined the Police service at 19. With no requirement for any academic qualifications I put academia to one side and focussed on that career.

    I spent the next 6 and a half years within the Police (both as a Community Support Officer and a regular Police Officer) before the realisation hit me that I actually wanted to pursue a career within the legal industry; in private practice as a solicitor. As such, I resigned from the Police and managed to get accepted at a somewhat sub-par university onto their 3 year Law LLB degree through my professional experience.

    I completed my first year and attained a 75% average (with all modules over 70%) and I then transferred to a top 20 uni (as a direct second year entrant) where I am completing my last two years of the degree.

    I am currently volunteering with a local community law service and I also work part time at a local high street firm.

    What are my prospects!? I appreciate this is a fairly broad question and will depend from firm to firm just wondering whether anyone has any similar experience or can advise on where I should realistically be looking at when applying for vac schemes and TCs. I've done around 6 vac-scheme apps so far ranging from regional firms to international firms but my heart is really set on an international city firm. Still awaiting a response from all of them currently. Am I being unrealistic in this endeavour or is it difficult but not impossible?

    With my professional experience I can evidence almost all of the required soft-skills and I'm hoping that my extra-curricular volunteering and work will hold me in good stead - enough to turn a blind eye to the shocking A-level result.

    Thanks for reading
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    Thanks both.

    J-SP could I ask which sort of firm you were a graduate recruiter for, not after any names, just so I have some sort of idea as to which firms may have recruiters with the same sort of mindset?

    Ragandbone - thanks for your post - with regards to working from the Police and then wanting to change to commercial. I think most lawyers, wouldbe lawyers and recruiters definitely have the same thought process! What I would say is that I don't think anyone, or at least a very very marginal percentage of Police Officers joined the Police to work with criminal law. As odd as that sounds I know, its more of a moral thought process in wanting to do the job. Although everything you do is dicatated by criminal law - actual detailed knowledge of criminal law isn't really required to do the job at all. So long as you can identify an offence and recognise the available disposal options to that offence thats pretty much it really.

    So from that point of view I didn't ever really join the Police to work with criminal law, it was more knowing that you wanted to do the job for what it is, to try and help people and appreciating the sacrifices which the job makes you take. As a result it was when I was doing the job that I really found my passion for law and wanted to deal with more testing and challenging issues - hence the international commercial route.

    Hopefully that explains my thought process a little? Reading it back it sounds a little convoluted!

    I will continue to contact firms I think as you've both advised - I'm not looking at magic or silver circle (having a young family I don't have the personal circumstances to commit to the demanding work-life balance I don't think). I'm more looking at mid-sized international firms as those are which I've applied to and have attended insight days to etc.

    Thanks for your advice
    Offline

    14
    ReputationRep:
    As ragandbone says, you will tend to get filtered out because of your poor A-levels. Seems madness to me, when you're a mature student and may end up with a first class degree - but that's how it is (the recruiters have a lot to sift through, so they naturally take the path of least resistance).

    Probably your best option is to apply for vacation schemes, then your face will start to fit the frame. Some firms are only recruiting from their vacation scheme cohort.

    Other than that, just apply for as many TCs as you can, but make sure you can put together a good pitch on each.
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    Try applying for Clifford Chance's Intelligent Aid Competition - there are 9 days until the deadline. It gives applicants with 'interesting' backgrounds a route into commercial law.
    Offline

    16
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by exbob)
    Thanks both.

    J-SP could I ask which sort of firm you were a graduate recruiter for, not after any names, just so I have some sort of idea as to which firms may have recruiters with the same sort of mindset?
    Top tier international law firms + regional/niche firms.

    I agree with the point made about firms filtering you out (whether automatically or after a basic review of your form). You need to anticipate this and so get a conversation going with them before you submit your application.

    The fact you have firsts in every module to date will stop a lot of people filtering you out. They don't see applications like this that often (no matter which university it is) and therefore it will make them think again.
    Offline

    9
    ReputationRep:
    Hey, don't forget to use the quote button to alert people if you want people to know you responded on a thread.

    All the people I know in the police joined because it wasn't a desk job and then continued because they liked locking up villains! And then spent any free time counting how many days they had until retirement (only another 16 years, 244 days to go)...

    You gave I thoughtful answer to my suggestion, but I think what I really meant vis a vis your experience in the police, is hey, you must have met lots of (innocent until proven guilty) criminals and, let's face it, be pretty familiar with how the CJS operates on the sharp end. So, will that experience not benefit you in the context of a firm doing criminal law? The clients are (innocent of course) criminals after all. Could be white collar fraud or, I don't know, POCA stuff?

    The connection between being in the police to criminal law to law makes sense, but I'm not sure I quite buy the 'I really liked the law and therefore wanted to deal with more testing and challenging stuff - hence commercial international law' - hey, it's not my business, but at the mo, I don't think you have made the reasoning perhaps quite as explicit as it might have to be...after all, you still have to answer the 'why commercial law'? question as many do.

    You will need to get some sort of exp in commercial law also to show recruiters you really DO want to do this - I mean, what is it? I have spent two years doing law student stuff, and I really don't know what it is - M & A? Tax? Sounds hideous great!!

    Anyhoo - I still think you must have excellent experience and as long as you find the firms who will consider candidates from a wider BG/contact grad recruitment before applying and ensure you continue to get your impressive grades, then I am sure you will be quite the interesting prospect for many law firms.

    I mean, yeh, how about actions against the police? I know, this is probably going a bit far for you...

    How about a firm like Irwin Mitchell? If you get your skates on you can apply to their VS before end Jan

    (Original post by exbob)
    Thanks both.

    J-SP could I ask which sort of firm you were a graduate recruiter for, not after any names, just so I have some sort of idea as to which firms may have recruiters with the same sort of mindset?

    Ragandbone - thanks for your post - with regards to working from the Police and then wanting to change to commercial. I think most lawyers, wouldbe lawyers and recruiters definitely have the same thought process! What I would say is that I don't think anyone, or at least a very very marginal percentage of Police Officers joined the Police to work with criminal law. As odd as that sounds I know, its more of a moral thought process in wanting to do the job. Although everything you do is dicatated by criminal law - actual detailed knowledge of criminal law isn't really required to do the job at all. So long as you can identify an offence and recognise the available disposal options to that offence thats pretty much it really.

    So from that point of view I didn't ever really join the Police to work with criminal law, it was more knowing that you wanted to do the job for what it is, to try and help people and appreciating the sacrifices which the job makes you take. As a result it was when I was doing the job that I really found my passion for law and wanted to deal with more testing and challenging issues - hence the international commercial route.

    Hopefully that explains my thought process a little? Reading it back it sounds a little convoluted!

    I will continue to contact firms I think as you've both advised - I'm not looking at magic or silver circle (having a young family I don't have the personal circumstances to commit to the demanding work-life balance I don't think). I'm more looking at mid-sized international firms as those are which I've applied to and have attended insight days to etc.

    Thanks for your advice
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    Apologies; I thought it automatically notified anyone who had posted in the thread!

    I only really scraped the surface of the Police as a career and why now commercial law - this stems from an extensive interest in business from running my own business and being involved in a few over the years. My interest lies within IP, trademarking and protection of rights generally; I didn't, and still don't, propose to go into this in too much detail as I wouldn't want to bore everyone with it; plus its slightly off-topic to my original post.

    You're spot on about 90% of the people in the Police currently; counting down the years, months, weeks and days left. Which is an unfortunate result of the hideously low moral through public funding cuts and the like. What I would say is the type of criminal you deal with on the street is a far cry from white collar crime and the investigative process is wholly different. Doing house-to-house inquiries and getting a press release on an assault is a world away from tracing funds from accounts and discovering hidden assets! But I see where you are coming from; the POCA stuff is generally prosecuted by CPS I think and I've had my dose of public sector and have vowed never to return if I can at all help it! :P You're also bang on regarding actions against the Police - don't think I could bring myself to do it haha - even though the majority of actions are against the chief constables rather than the officers themselves; still goes against the grain a little too much for me.

    Irwin Mitchell sounds good I'll definitely take a look - I've kind of applied to a mixed spread of local regional firms and some international firms which I've managed to do an insight day with. I also managed to attend CityLawLive conference a couple of months ago which was really useful too so that has helped. Just trying to find another 2-3 firms which are open-minded at this point who I can hopefully contact and badger into giving me some work experience!

    Thanks for your post btw, and to all the others too






    (Original post by happyinthehaze)
    Hey, don't forget to use the quote button to alert people if you want people to know you responded on a thread.

    All the people I know in the police joined because it wasn't a desk job and then continued because they liked locking up villains! And then spent any free time counting how many days they had until retirement (only another 16 years, 244 days to go)...

    You gave I thoughtful answer to my suggestion, but I think what I really meant vis a vis your experience in the police, is hey, you must have met lots of (innocent until proven guilty) criminals and, let's face it, be pretty familiar with how the CJS operates on the sharp end. So, will that experience not benefit you in the context of a firm doing criminal law? The clients are (innocent of course) criminals after all. Could be white collar fraud or, I don't know, POCA stuff?

    The connection between being in the police to criminal law to law makes sense, but I'm not sure I quite buy the 'I really liked the law and therefore wanted to deal with more testing and challenging stuff - hence commercial international law' - hey, it's not my business, but at the mo, I don't think you have made the reasoning perhaps quite as explicit as it might have to be...after all, you still have to answer the 'why commercial law'? question as many do.

    You will need to get some sort of exp in commercial law also to show recruiters you really DO want to do this - I mean, what is it? I have spent two years doing law student stuff, and I really don't know what it is - M & A? Tax? Sounds hideous great!!

    Anyhoo - I still think you must have excellent experience and as long as you find the firms who will consider candidates from a wider BG/contact grad recruitment before applying and ensure you continue to get your impressive grades, then I am sure you will be quite the interesting prospect for many law firms.

    I mean, yeh, how about actions against the police? I know, this is probably going a bit far for you...

    How about a firm like Irwin Mitchell? If you get your skates on you can apply to their VS before end Jan
    Offline

    9
    ReputationRep:
    OK you passed the pea-under-the-mattress test to see if you were a real (ex) Police!!

    You might try Weightmans, BWB, Mischcon, Kingsley Napley to get you going - they are open to the idea of people like you (and me). Look for firms like this, is my advice; good reputations, national but not your straight forward commercial law firm as such - they will still do the kind of thing you are interested in.

    I think someone else said, check out who does 'blind CV' tests and competitions - intelligence aid

    IP is a tricksy area I think - it is very technical in parts, they often want people with science and maths backgrounds - if you can get any experience now, in any kind of IP type area then it will help you in the future, I think.

    OK enough from me

    (Original post by exbob)
    Apologies; I thought it automatically notified anyone who had posted in the thread!

    I only really scraped the surface of the Police as a career and why now commercial law - this stems from an extensive interest in business from running my own business and being involved in a few over the years. My interest lies within IP, trademarking and protection of rights generally; I didn't, and still don't, propose to go into this in too much detail as I wouldn't want to bore everyone with it; plus its slightly off-topic to my original post.

    You're spot on about 90% of the people in the Police currently; counting down the years, months, weeks and days left. Which is an unfortunate result of the hideously low moral through public funding cuts and the like. What I would say is the type of criminal you deal with on the street is a far cry from white collar crime and the investigative process is wholly different. Doing house-to-house inquiries and getting a press release on an assault is a world away from tracing funds from accounts and discovering hidden assets! But I see where you are coming from; the POCA stuff is generally prosecuted by CPS I think and I've had my dose of public sector and have vowed never to return if I can at all help it! :P You're also bang on regarding actions against the Police - don't think I could bring myself to do it haha - even though the majority of actions are against the chief constables rather than the officers themselves; still goes against the grain a little too much for me.

    Irwin Mitchell sounds good I'll definitely take a look - I've kind of applied to a mixed spread of local regional firms and some international firms which I've managed to do an insight day with. I also managed to attend CityLawLive conference a couple of months ago which was really useful too so that has helped. Just trying to find another 2-3 firms which are open-minded at this point who I can hopefully contact and badger into giving me some work experience!

    Thanks for your post btw, and to all the others too
    Offline

    16
    ReputationRep:
    My other advice is to try the firms who have previously attended The Lawyer2B's "not too late for law" event. It's been running for a number of years and the firms who attend want to appeal to people with similar backgrounds to yourself.


    Posted from TSR Mobile
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    I didn't get great A-Levels (AABCD, one of those A's being General Studies) and am a trainee. I didn't get interviews at any of the mid-sized firms I applied to at all - I assume I was filtered. I got a training contract at a large and well respected high street firm, so obviously the pay is significantly less than the big firms.

    Realistically, you aren't going to get a TC at a top firm because they have hundreds if not thousands applying for each spot. That doesn't mean you can't get something though. I got a 2:1 in my LLB and a commendation (including distinctions in my seat areas) in the LPC along with a scholarship. I had worked as a paralegal in a top west end firm which my current firm really liked.

    Having lots of extra curricular stuff helps and have an open mind to where you train. You can move later on.
    Offline

    16
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by melissa740)
    Realistically, you aren't going to get a TC at a top firm because they have hundreds if not thousands applying for each spot.
    This isn't quite true. It might be the case for firms with a very small intake, but that number is much more like 20-40 applications per place for a lot of "top" firms.




    Posted from TSR Mobile
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    OK, well there's no harm in trying. But I used to work at one of the West End firms listed and they got in the thousands per spot. Although they pay lip service to all applications, there wasn't a trainee there over 30 and every one had straight As. Even my firm (which is a well regarded 'high street' practice) had 600 applications for each TC. I honestly think it's going to be better to focus on firms which will have a genuine interest in life experience over A-Levels, purely for the practicalities of filling in all those applications.

    By 'top' firms, I'm thinking Magic Circle, Silver Circle and West End with a high turnover (like Mishcon, Kingsley Napley). Niche but still 'top' in regards to quality etc are definitely worth applying for.

    Good luck!!
 
 
 
Poll
“Yanny” or “Laurel”
Useful resources

The Student Room, Get Revising and Marked by Teachers are trading names of The Student Room Group Ltd.

Register Number: 04666380 (England and Wales), VAT No. 806 8067 22 Registered Office: International House, Queens Road, Brighton, BN1 3XE

Write a reply...
Reply
Hide
Reputation gems: You get these gems as you gain rep from other members for making good contributions and giving helpful advice.