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    I've decided to create a separate thread for this because I fear the 2018 TCs thread is just going to cause this to be overrun right now.

    Essentially, I'm almost certainly going to miss out on TCs for the second year in a row. I've just had a feedback call from Orrick after being rejected post-interview, and it's left me really confused about what I should do next year.

    Quick rundown on my background:
    • (Very) high 2.1 in law from Oxford, optional modules being intellectual property and EU competition law
    • No legal work experience aside from one open day with Shearman & Sterling, but a good understanding of the day-to-day responsibilities of a (trainee) solicitor, and what I think is good commercial awareness (good understanding of economics, game theory in particular, and I've been following business news for a couple of years)
    • Been playing (online) poker professionally for the last year, along with one-on-one teaching and content production - I've got pretty good at selling this and I'm pretty confident it's not a problem.
    • Ideally I would like to work in corporate/finance areas, but I'd also like the chance to do a competition seat. I found IP interesting from an academic perspective but I'm not really interested in the substantive science of patents and my understanding is most places I can do a TC which includes the other things I want don't really have a significant enough focus on copyright/trademarks to balance this out.


    I know my application forms this year have been good (my rate of reaching an interview has been >70%, and I've been told they're excellent on a couple of occasions), but the feedback I received from Orrick has left me confused. Essentially, I've been told that vacation schemes aren't really going to be useful for adding to my CV at this stage, and I shouldn't bother going for them (but 6 months to a year of paralegal work would be useful). However, other firms (not in advice specific to me, but general addresses) have emphasised the importance of them.

    The feedback I have consistently received from a number of firms is that my interview answers lack detail, and that I come across overly nervous. Orrick recommended interview coaching. I have tried to address this on my own, but evidently it's not working.

    I'm also not sure what the best route for the next year is going to be. I think the questions are this:

    1) How valuable is interview coaching? Naturally, as something which is generally quite pricey I want to be pretty confident before shelling out.
    2) How much effort should I put into looking for vacation schemes and more open days? I don't want to spend 7-8 hours researching and writing each of a number of applications if it's not going to be that useful to me.
    3) Should I consider further study? If so, would an LLM or self-funding the LPC be more beneficial for me?
    4) If not further study, how about paralegal work? Honestly, I think I'd struggle to support myself in London on a paralegal salary (16-18k), but I have some savings which mean I can do this for up to a year if necessary. However, as an LLB but not LPC graduate, what's the best way to go about getting that work?

    Thanks.
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    (Original post by TheDefiniteArticle)
    [*]Been playing (online) poker professionally for the last year, along with one-on-one teaching and content production - I've got pretty good at selling this and I'm pretty confident it's not a problem.
    I have never been interested in the solicitor route but for what it's worth I didn't find that playing poker professionally was viewed as a negative by any of the sets that I applied to for mini-pupillages or the two sets that I interviewed at for pupillage. If anything it was an interesting talking point.
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    (Original post by TheDefiniteArticle)
    I've decided to create a separate thread for this because I fear the 2018 TCs thread is just going to cause this to be overrun right now.

    Essentially, I'm almost certainly going to miss out on TCs for the second year in a row. I've just had a feedback call from Orrick after being rejected post-interview, and it's left me really confused about what I should do next year.

    Quick rundown on my background:
    • (Very) high 2.1 in law from Oxford, optional modules being intellectual property and EU competition law
    • No legal work experience aside from one open day with Shearman & Sterling, but a good understanding of the day-to-day responsibilities of a (trainee) solicitor, and what I think is good commercial awareness (good understanding of economics, game theory in particular, and I've been following business news for a couple of years)
    • Been playing (online) poker professionally for the last year, along with one-on-one teaching and content production - I've got pretty good at selling this and I'm pretty confident it's not a problem.
    • Ideally I would like to work in corporate/finance areas, but I'd also like the chance to do a competition seat. I found IP interesting from an academic perspective but I'm not really interested in the substantive science of patents and my understanding is most places I can do a TC which includes the other things I want don't really have a significant enough focus on copyright/trademarks to balance this out.
    I know my application forms this year have been good (my rate of reaching an interview has been >70%, and I've been told they're excellent on a couple of occasions), but the feedback I received from Orrick has left me confused. Essentially, I've been told that vacation schemes aren't really going to be useful for adding to my CV at this stage, and I shouldn't bother going for them (but 6 months to a year of paralegal work would be useful). However, other firms (not in advice specific to me, but general addresses) have emphasised the importance of them.

    The feedback I have consistently received from a number of firms is that my interview answers lack detail, and that I come across overly nervous. Orrick recommended interview coaching. I have tried to address this on my own, but evidently it's not working.

    I'm also not sure what the best route for the next year is going to be. I think the questions are this:

    1) How valuable is interview coaching? Naturally, as something which is generally quite pricey I want to be pretty confident before shelling out.
    2) How much effort should I put into looking for vacation schemes and more open days? I don't want to spend 7-8 hours researching and writing each of a number of applications if it's not going to be that useful to me.
    3) Should I consider further study? If so, would an LLM or self-funding the LPC be more beneficial for me?
    4) If not further study, how about paralegal work? Honestly, I think I'd struggle to support myself in London on a paralegal salary (16-18k), but I have some savings which mean I can do this for up to a year if necessary. However, as an LLB but not LPC graduate, what's the best way to go about getting that work?

    Thanks.
    1) I guess it depends on the interview coach and the candidate. I've done interview coaching before and it can only go so far. If the candidate hasn't got some attributes, won't listen or can't get over their nerves, no amount of coaching will help that. If you are going to use interview coaching, speak to your university careers service - then it is free (even if you have graduated, you usually have access for up to 3 years)! Also try organisations like Aspiring Solicitors - they offer free interview sessions/feedback. I think that will be much more likely to have an impact than spending £1000s (and good careers coaches will cost you that amount).

    2) I think vacation schemes are the way to go based on what you have said. The majority of firms will recruit the majority of their trainees through work experience/intern programmes. You are missing a trick by not applying to them. It is not like you can only apply for paralegal roles or vacation schemes - you can easily apply to both at the same time (although I'd advise not with the same firm). I've had people who were working as paralegals on vac schemes - they just took annual leave to attend. I think they will be incredibly useful as well given your situation.

    Something is not working with your direct TC interviews and so why not try and go a route where more evidence on your ability to do the job will be considered alongside any interviews?

    3) Generally I'd advise against an LLM. Some of the niche IP firms might disagree with this, and look for people with a LLM in this field. But if you are looking at broader commercial firms, few will say an LLM will give you an advantage. Also how would further study help you with your interview technique (which is where your issue lays)?. I'd advise against the LPC completely unless you were looking to go into an area of law that didn't sponsor the LPC. The only other reason to sign up to the LPC is if money is no object.

    4) As I said before, pursuing paralegal work is not mutually exclusive and wont mean you can't apply for vacation schemes. You can do both. Paralegal salaries can be higher than what you have stated though. My advice with breaking into the paralegal industry is to sign up to one of the temp agencies and do day work. Firms bring in these all the time for short projects, when they need mass admin help on a piece of client work but only for a matter of weeks at a time. Anyone who is a half decent temp will then be remembered for future short-term contracts. A lot of people completely fail to judge the paralegal market as they see it as a stepping stone to a TC. In contrast the firms are often looking for career paralegals (people who are not constantly searching for a TC), and so temp/FTC work is usually the better starting point. They are also much more likely to be flexible with requirements too (such as not needing the LPC). However, with the lack of legal work experience you might still struggle for paralegal roles. Don't just consider paralegal roles though - look for an admin roles within firm's Business Development departments, marketing, pro-bono etc, especially if they are FTCs. Getting your foot in the door can then lead to other opportunities within the firm (if you do a good job).

    You also have one of the strongest alumni networks into the legal profession through Oxford. Go and find some partners at firms you are interested in (but haven't applied to) who went to your college. Contact them and see if they can help in some way (informal work experience/careers advice etc). You'd be surprised how much the college you studied at or your own personal interests will potentially influence someone to help you if they have a similar background.
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    I applied for straight TCs, got to final rounds but rejected.

    I then applied for one VS with a MC, was successful and now have a TC with them

    Vac schemes are used to recruit for TCs so don't ignore them.
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    play smart. don't give them any reason to reject you. apply to a grad scheme like the FCA or something where you can get a brilliant aerial view of all sorts of financial products/regulations etc, they love hiring lawyers. get a secondment to somewhere like Allen and overy which you could do for 6 months. think outside the box and work your way in that way, whilst making contacts on the inside and impressing people. plus, even if you have to apply via the normal channels, you basically have 6 months of experience in the legal department and knowledge of clients/colleagues/partners, so it would be silly of them to not take you on as a trainee, considering your academic profile too. plus, you will be doing something productive, learning new stuff and getting paid for 2 and a half years, all whilst pursuing that TC
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    1) You might not need extensive coaching, but given your circumstances, a few sessions would be good for just gaining experience of interview style questions.

    2) In your case, I would go for vacation schemes. As J-SP and O'Doyle Rules have mentioned, firms recruit heavily from their schemes. I also think firms will be slightly more 'forgiving' over your nerves and lack of experience, if it's just a vacation scheme place on offer. With regards to your nerves, the only way to overcome them is interview practice. I used to be pretty nervous before interviews, but having done so many, they are now the least of my concerns before any interview. Your lack of legal experience is an issue which probably impacts on the level of detail in your interview answers. You say that you have a good understanding of what a trainee solicitor does, sadly your interviewer is unlikely to believe that, with no experience. I don't think vac schemes are an accurate reflection of life as a trainee, but they are great for getting a TC/building a network/enhancing your understanding of the firm.

    3) DO NOT do the LLM, unless you're passionate about doing so. A very high 2.1 from Oxford puts you at the top of the pile, academically speaking. A masters will not add to that, unless it was maybe from one of the Ivies.

    4) I'm not sure how to source paralegal work. However, in the City, 25k+ would be a reasonable salary for a paralegal. I know people on more than that. There is nothing to stop you from starting paralegal work now and also doing vacation scheme applications. Most vacation schemes will take place in the summer, leaving you with plenty of time to paralegal.

    Also, there is not much here about your ECs (aside from poker) Do you have any? Do you have any general/commercial work experience?

    I would also recommend applying to firms with a larger intake than Orrick, they are more likely to be less bothered about whether you have done a vacation scheme.
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    Thanks for all the advice guys. Signed up with SJP and Hays regarding paralegal positions and had some useful conversations. Dropping the idea of an LLM now.
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    (Original post by TheDefiniteArticle)
    Thanks for all the advice guys. Signed up with SJP and Hays regarding paralegal positions and had some useful conversations. Dropping the idea of an LLM now.
    Try Ryder Reid and Career Legal too.


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    (Original post by neal95)
    play smart. don't give them any reason to reject you. apply to a grad scheme like the FCA or something where you can get a brilliant aerial view of all sorts of financial products/regulations etc, they love hiring lawyers. get a secondment to somewhere like Allen and overy which you could do for 6 months. think outside the box and work your way in that way, whilst making contacts on the inside and impressing people. plus, even if you have to apply via the normal channels, you basically have 6 months of experience in the legal department and knowledge of clients/colleagues/partners, so it would be silly of them to not take you on as a trainee, considering your academic profile too. plus, you will be doing something productive, learning new stuff and getting paid for 2 and a half years, all whilst pursuing that TC
    Sorry to sound incredibly naive, but what is the FCA?
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    (Original post by hodgey111)
    Sorry to sound incredibly naive, but what is the FCA?
    Financial Conduct Authority - definitely useful to understand the basics of what they do as an organisation, especially if you are applying to commercial firms.
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    (Original post by TheDefiniteArticle)
    I've decided to create a separate thread for this because I fear the 2018 TCs thread is just going to cause this to be overrun right now.

    Essentially, I'm almost certainly going to miss out on TCs for the second year in a row. I've just had a feedback call from Orrick after being rejected post-interview, and it's left me really confused about what I should do next year.

    Quick rundown on my background:
    • (Very) high 2.1 in law from Oxford, optional modules being intellectual property and EU competition law
    • No legal work experience aside from one open day with Shearman & Sterling, but a good understanding of the day-to-day responsibilities of a (trainee) solicitor, and what I think is good commercial awareness (good understanding of economics, game theory in particular, and I've been following business news for a couple of years)
    • Been playing (online) poker professionally for the last year, along with one-on-one teaching and content production - I've got pretty good at selling this and I'm pretty confident it's not a problem.
    • Ideally I would like to work in corporate/finance areas, but I'd also like the chance to do a competition seat. I found IP interesting from an academic perspective but I'm not really interested in the substantive science of patents and my understanding is most places I can do a TC which includes the other things I want don't really have a significant enough focus on copyright/trademarks to balance this out.


    I know my application forms this year have been good (my rate of reaching an interview has been >70%, and I've been told they're excellent on a couple of occasions), but the feedback I received from Orrick has left me confused. Essentially, I've been told that vacation schemes aren't really going to be useful for adding to my CV at this stage, and I shouldn't bother going for them (but 6 months to a year of paralegal work would be useful). However, other firms (not in advice specific to me, but general addresses) have emphasised the importance of them.

    The feedback I have consistently received from a number of firms is that my interview answers lack detail, and that I come across overly nervous. Orrick recommended interview coaching. I have tried to address this on my own, but evidently it's not working.

    I'm also not sure what the best route for the next year is going to be. I think the questions are this:

    1) How valuable is interview coaching? Naturally, as something which is generally quite pricey I want to be pretty confident before shelling out.
    2) How much effort should I put into looking for vacation schemes and more open days? I don't want to spend 7-8 hours researching and writing each of a number of applications if it's not going to be that useful to me.
    3) Should I consider further study? If so, would an LLM or self-funding the LPC be more beneficial for me?
    4) If not further study, how about paralegal work? Honestly, I think I'd struggle to support myself in London on a paralegal salary (16-18k), but I have some savings which mean I can do this for up to a year if necessary. However, as an LLB but not LPC graduate, what's the best way to go about getting that work?

    Thanks.
    If I can be brief, I wouldn't do an LLM or self-fund the LPC (who do the latter when a firm will, if you get a TC, pay for it for you?). I would work on your interview skills and on the level of detail in your answers.

    Paralegal work is fine, but equally so is other useful work experience. You always run the risk of being seen to be a paralegal as opposed to a future trainee, but it's not the end of the world. There are legal recruiters who handle paralegal vacancies - you can search online, but Chadwick Nott and Robert Walters spring to mind.

    And don't get too worked out re commercial awareness - for example, "game theory" is probably a bit too abstract. Commercial awareness means simply being aware of the wider business climate, the fact that clients aren't interested in the law, merely solutions to their legal issues and that you need to make an effort to understand your client in order to advise them fully. Read a good newspaper.
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    (Original post by TheDefiniteArticle)
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    Vac schemes are certainly worthwhile. Getting one signals to firms that other firms are interested in you, and that you have been pre-vetted to an extent. This can be a double-edged sword further down the road if you have numerous vac schemes on your CV and are still applying for TCs, but I suspect if it got that far you would probably be considering alternatives anyway.

    I got my TC in my third round, which was the first round in which I did a vac scheme (I didn't get an offer from that firm, but I did from one of their competitors shortly afterwards).*
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    (Original post by TurboCretin)
    Vac schemes are certainly worthwhile. Getting one signals to firms that other firms are interested in you, and that you have been pre-vetted to an extent. This can be a double-edged sword further down the road if you have numerous vac schemes on your CV and are still applying for TCs, but I suspect if it got that far you would probably be considering alternatives anyway.

    I got my TC in my third round, which was the first round in which I did a vac scheme (I didn't get an offer from that firm, but I did from one of their competitors shortly afterwards).*
    Definitely spot on with regards to vacation schemes being a 'double- edged' sword'. Beyond one scheme, and you need to be prepared for difficult questioning in interview.

    I would recommend that anyone with multiple vacation scheme offers actually looks into the conversion rate before accepting. I did a scheme with a 10-20% conversion rate, which meant that the odds were stacked against you. It would have been easier to apply directly for a training contract.
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    (Original post by erj2018)
    Definitely spot on with regards to vacation schemes being a 'double- edged' sword'. Beyond one scheme, and you need to be prepared for difficult questioning in interview.

    I would recommend that anyone with multiple vacation scheme offers actually looks into the conversion rate before accepting. I did a scheme with a 10-20% conversion rate, which meant that the odds were stacked against you. It would have been easier to apply directly for a training contract.
    Out of interest, how would you go about figuring out the 'conversion' rate?*

    It's important to be clear about what conversion rate means, and what can influence it. If by 'conversion rate' you mean the conversion rate of vac schemers into trainees, I imagine that the conversion rates at the most popular firms would be difficult to interpret, as students on those schemes would presumably have good chances of having multiple schemes/offers in a given year. Assuming this is a known fact to each firm they have a scheme with, each of these firms might both be more likely to give such candidates an offer and less likely for them to accept it. It would be wrong to draw a conclusion from a lower 'conversion' rate that a vac schemer at one of those firms would struggle to obtain an offer from that firm.

    As a consequence of the above, you can't just look at the number of trainees hired from a given scheme: you need to look instead at the numbers of offers made. I've never heard of firms publishing this information, so short of asking every student in a given scheme whether they got an offer (and probably not hearing back from those that didn't...) I'm not sure how you could find this out. Am I missing something?
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    (Original post by TurboCretin)
    Out of interest, how would you go about figuring out the 'conversion' rate?*

    It's important to be clear about what conversion rate means, and what can influence it. If by 'conversion rate' you mean the conversion rate of vac schemers into trainees, I imagine that the conversion rates at the most popular firms would be difficult to interpret, as students on those schemes would presumably have good chances of having multiple schemes/offers in a given year. Assuming this is a known fact to each firm they have a scheme with, each of these firms might both be more likely to give such candidates an offer and less likely for them to accept it. It would be wrong to draw a conclusion from a lower 'conversion' rate that a vac schemer at one of those firms would struggle to obtain an offer from that firm.

    As a consequence of the above, you can't just look at the number of trainees hired from a given scheme: you need to look instead at the numbers of offers made. I've never heard of firms publishing this information, so short of asking every student in a given scheme whether they got an offer (and probably not hearing back from those that didn't...) I'm not sure how you could find this out. Am I missing something?
    You can get that information by talking to previous vac-schemers and current trainees. You can probably pose the question to Grad Recruitment, but probably not worth the risk of it going down badly.

    In the example that I used, there were 80+ vacation schemes, 25 TCs available, and only 40% of the 25 were taken from <80 vac-schemers. I asked the firm in question, and they said that they made offers to roughly 10-20% across the four schemes. Obviously it's possible that the vac schemers were just awful, but having spoke to people, it's a year on year trend. I just don't think they placed much importance on completing a vacation scheme at the firm. The firm had magic circle numbers, in terms of vacation schemes places available, but recruited considerably less trainees than MC firms.

    I agree with the general gist of your comments, but the above figures are indicative of the fact that doing the vacation scheme at this particular firm did not really mean that you were more 'likely than direct applicants' to get the TC. There seems to be a general consensus among students/and some recruiters, that 'most' students on vacation schemes get offers, which is true for some firms, but not for others. Some people assume that as long as you don't 'mess up' you'll get a TC from a vacation scheme. As a result, vacation schemes, as you said, can be a 'double-edged' sword.

    I just think that if you have a choice of doing a scheme at a firm like the aforementioned, or one with a firm that converts 50%-60%+, it would be worth factoring this into your decision making process, if you have to choose between multiple offers. Yes, you should always back yourself, but I think it's also worthwhile to maximise your chances.

    This won't apply to all firms, and is probably more applicable to those with small intakes.
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    (Original post by erj2018)
    You can get that information by talking to previous vac-schemers and current trainees. You can probably pose the question to Grad Recruitment, but probably not worth the risk of it going down badly.
    Yeah, I figured it would be something like this. That seems to me to be a lot of homework to do in order to obtain some less than reliable stats. That said, as I type this it does occur to me that some grad recruitment teams are quite open about having targets for the proportion of their trainee intake they take from their vac schemes (usually for those that do this, it's a good proportion).

    Exhibit A...

    http://graduates.nabarro.com/summer-scheme/
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    Would I be at a disadvantage for vac scheme applications given I have graduated, compared to penultimate and final year students?
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    (Original post by hodgey111)
    Would I be at a disadvantage for vac scheme applications given I have graduated, compared to penultimate and final year students?
    Not at a direct disadvantage.

    There will be some schemes you can't apply to as they are only for penultimate year undergrads, but apart from that there is no disadvantage at all.


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    (Original post by J-SP)
    Not at a direct disadvantage.

    There will be some schemes you can't apply to as they are only for penultimate year undergrads, but apart from that there is no disadvantage at all.


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    Yeah, have noticed that some are only open to penultimate and final-year students. I was just concerned that recruiters would look at me more harshly because I have graduated
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    (Original post by hodgey111)
    Yeah, have noticed that some are only open to penultimate and final-year students. I was just concerned that recruiters would look at me more harshly because I have graduated
    They won't care about that at all. It's more about the evidence you present showing your interest in the sector/role that will be considered.


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