Help me get my **** together (Training Contract)

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Miracle Day
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#1
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Hi everyone! So I just want to write down where I'm at right now in terms of my hunt (or lack thereof) to obtain a training contract and I'm hoping that I can get some feedback from different people in different stages of their legal careers. This, in terms of whether or not a TC is obtainable, what firms I should be looking at and what I should do to get there.

Grades:
So my grades are quite a mixed bag unfortunately. For my GCSEs I got AABBBBCCCCCC. This was surprisingly good compared to my peers but that probably says more about my socio-economic background. Luckily I turned things around for A Levels and I'd gotten AAB (History; Sociology; Psychology). My first year was alright, I got an average of 58. 2.2s in Contract and Criminal and 2.1s in Legal Foundations and Public Law. In my second year I got an average of 68(40% of my overall degree). I got 71 (Labour Law), 70 (Tort Law), 65 (Land Law) and 66 (Sociology of Law).

Experience:
-General bar jobs, canteen worker.
-Primary school teaching assistant in year 11.
-Small criminal law firm for a week in year 13.
-Volunteered with Law Works Cymru at Duncan Lewis Solicitors, where I interviewed clients receiving legal aid and the impact it has on them.
-Legal research assistant for my law school's tort department, on an article that hopes to be published in the Modern Law Review.
-Negotiation skills for lawyers classes in my second year
-Student Warden for Cardiff Uni's halls starting September.


The type of firms I'm looking at are national/multi sized firms such as Eversheds, Blake Morgan, Hugh James. I have yet applied to any vacation schemes or training contracts because I don't yet feel ready on a personal level, and because I only got a 2.2 in my first year.

I really need to improve on my interview skills, public speaking skills, my commercial awareness and just general professional confidence.

I really hope someone can help me. I'll be going into my third year and I hope t apply to some winter vacation schemes soon. If anyone can offer me any general advice in what I should currently be doing that would be great.

Thanks,

-MD
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Fmacca
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(Original post by Miracle Day)
Hi everyone! So I just want to write down where I'm at right now in terms of my hunt (or lack thereof) to obtain a training contract and I'm hoping that I can get some feedback from different people in different stages of their legal careers. This, in terms of whether or not a TC is obtainable, what firms I should be looking at and what I should do to get there.

Grades:
So my grades are quite a mixed bag unfortunately. For my GCSEs I got AABBBBCCCCCC. This was surprisingly good compared to my peers but that probably says more about my socio-economic background. Luckily I turned things around for A Levels and I'd gotten AAB (History; Sociology; Psychology). My first year was alright, I got an average of 58. 2.2s in Contract and Criminal and 2.1s in Legal Foundations and Public Law. In my second year I got an average of 68(40% of my overall degree). I got 71 (Labour Law), 70 (Tort Law), 65 (Land Law) and 66 (Sociology of Law).

Experience:
-General bar jobs, canteen worker.
-Primary school teaching assistant in year 11.
-Small criminal law firm for a week in year 13.
-Volunteered with Law Works Cymru at Duncan Lewis Solicitors, where I interviewed clients receiving legal aid and the impact it has on them.
-Legal research assistant for my law school's tort department, on an article that hopes to be published in the Modern Law Review.
-Negotiation skills for lawyers classes in my second year
-Student Warden for Cardiff Uni's halls starting September.


The type of firms I'm looking at are national/multi sized firms such as Eversheds, Blake Morgan, Hugh James. I have yet applied to any vacation schemes or training contracts because I don't yet feel ready on a personal level, and because I only got a 2.2 in my first year.

I really need to improve on my interview skills, public speaking skills, my commercial awareness and just general professional confidence.

I really hope someone can help me. I'll be going into my third year and I hope t apply to some winter vacation schemes soon. If anyone can offer me any general advice in what I should currently be doing that would be great.

Thanks,

-MD
You need to figure out what firms you are applying to then look at the requirments for grades, etc they have.
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O'Doyle Rules
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(Original post by Fmacca)
You need to figure out what firms you are applying to then look at the requirments for grades, etc they have.
I got shocking grades in my first year and have a few interviews in London (including SC) for my first year applying.

Also waiting on a paralegal position with a SC (having not done the LPC).

Don't let your first year grades put you off - especially if you are going national.
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TurboCretin
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(Original post by Miracle Day)
Hi everyone! So I just want to write down where I'm at right now in terms of my hunt (or lack thereof) to obtain a training contract and I'm hoping that I can get some feedback from different people in different stages of their legal careers. This, in terms of whether or not a TC is obtainable, what firms I should be looking at and what I should do to get there.

Grades:
So my grades are quite a mixed bag unfortunately. For my GCSEs I got AABBBBCCCCCC. This was surprisingly good compared to my peers but that probably says more about my socio-economic background. Luckily I turned things around for A Levels and I'd gotten AAB (History; Sociology; Psychology). My first year was alright, I got an average of 58. 2.2s in Contract and Criminal and 2.1s in Legal Foundations and Public Law. In my second year I got an average of 68(40% of my overall degree). I got 71 (Labour Law), 70 (Tort Law), 65 (Land Law) and 66 (Sociology of Law).

Experience:
-General bar jobs, canteen worker.
-Primary school teaching assistant in year 11.
-Small criminal law firm for a week in year 13.
-Volunteered with Law Works Cymru at Duncan Lewis Solicitors, where I interviewed clients receiving legal aid and the impact it has on them.
-Legal research assistant for my law school's tort department, on an article that hopes to be published in the Modern Law Review.
-Negotiation skills for lawyers classes in my second year
-Student Warden for Cardiff Uni's halls starting September.


The type of firms I'm looking at are national/multi sized firms such as Eversheds, Blake Morgan, Hugh James. I have yet applied to any vacation schemes or training contracts because I don't yet feel ready on a personal level, and because I only got a 2.2 in my first year.

I really need to improve on my interview skills, public speaking skills, my commercial awareness and just general professional confidence.

I really hope someone can help me. I'll be going into my third year and I hope t apply to some winter vacation schemes soon. If anyone can offer me any general advice in what I should currently be doing that would be great.

Thanks,

-MD
Your first year university grades are not uncommon by LLB standards, so that isn't the end of the world. Your second year grades are promising, and you should focus on maintaining that level of achievement in third year.

If your GCSEs and A-levels were particularly good by your school's standards and/or you're from an underprivileged socio-economic background then you may be able to use that as a mitigating circumstance for your school grades.

Keep doing what you're doing, particularly with regard to extra-curriculars. Look at the competencies your target firms look for and really use your ECs to hone these. Firms often list these competencies on their graduate recruitment sites.
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Miracle Day
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(Original post by J-SP)
Just realised my last post wasn't actually very helpful! Sorry...

What I meant by it is that you seem to have it worked out and taking a very sensible approach to things. You are also aware of what you need to develop in yourself, which is ten steps ahead of a lot of applicants. Just try and find opportunities, whether work experience or extra curricular activities, that may give you the chance to develop those skills you feel you need to develop.

Definitely go along to any careers events this year, whether at your uni or with the firms you want to apply to (open days/workshops/skills sessions/competitions). They can be a good way to supplement a CV especially if you haven't got a lot of commercial experience.

But I meant what I said, you seem to have your **** together far more than a lot of candidates I have come across.


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Thank you for your post!


(Original post by TurboCretin)
Your first year university grades are not uncommon by LLB standards, so that isn't the end of the world. Your second year grades are promising, and you should focus on maintaining that level of achievement in third year.

If your GCSEs and A-levels were particularly good by your school's standards and/or you're from an underprivileged socio-economic background then you may be able to use that as a mitigating circumstance for your school grades.

Keep doing what you're doing, particularly with regard to extra-curriculars. Look at the competencies your target firms look for and really use your ECs to hone these. Firms often list these competencies on their graduate recruitment sites.
Thank you for your advice. What main factors should one consider when deciding what firm you wish to apply for?
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TurboCretin
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(Original post by Miracle Day)
Thank you for your advice. What main factors should one consider when deciding what firm you wish to apply for?
What key practice areas are you interested in?
What industry sectors interest you the most?
Do you want to work for an international firm?
Would you prefer to work for a firm with one office, forty offices or somewhere in between?
Are you interested in secondment opportunities?
Where, geographically, do you want to be based?
What kind of people can you see yourself working with best? (culture)
How big a trainee intake would you prefer to be part of?
What kind of work/life balance are you after?

Not an exhaustive list, but these are some of the factors I would consider.
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Miracle Day
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(Original post by J-SP)
Make a list of the things that are important to you in a job/working environment. What are non-negotiable and what are you willing to compromise on?

A lot of people say they are open minded (often through desperation) but when you dig down and really push them on what's important, you find different things motivate different people, and actually being very "open minded" is at the sacrifice of being happy because they have compromised too much.

Then start researching the firms and match up what they can offer to what you want to receive. If you can, talk to the firms and listen to how people explain the opportunities available. Eliminate the firms that can't give you your non-negotiables and prioritise the firms that meet your expectations the most.


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(Original post by TurboCretin)
What key practice areas are you interested in?
What industry sectors interest you the most?
Do you want to work for an international firm?
Would you prefer to work for a firm with one office, forty offices or somewhere in between?
Are you interested in secondment opportunities?
Where, geographically, do you want to be based?
What kind of people can you see yourself working with best? (culture)
How big a trainee intake would you prefer to be part of?
What kind of work/life balance are you after?

Not an exhaustive list, but these are some of the factors I would consider.
Thank you so much to the both of you!
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