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Getting more experience before applying for a Training Contract watch

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    Since my chances of getting a training contract this year are getting slimmer, I decided to go for the ‘get more experience first’ option. Naturally, I was thinking about a paralegal position. What I found out is that a lot of places are actually advertised by recruitment agencies. Does anyone have any experience with registering with an agency? Are they helpful or is it better to find ways to apply directly to law firms?

    Also, what do people think about going for graduate programmes with the plan of applying for a training contract in a few years? I feel that if you devote your time to a different career, it may get harder to go back to the solicitors’ route. If so, what would people recommend to applyfor if you want to get ‘more experience’ before applying for a training contract?

    I apologise if this has been discussed somewhere else.

    Thanks!
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    (Original post by L1005)
    Since my chances of getting a training contract this year are getting slimmer, I decided to go for the ‘get more experience first’ option. Naturally, I was thinking about a paralegal position. What I found out is that a lot of places are actually advertised by recruitment agencies. Does anyone have any experience with registering with an agency? Are they helpful or is it better to find ways to apply directly to law firms?

    Also, what do people think about going for graduate programmes with the plan of applying for a training contract in a few years? I feel that if you devote your time to a different career, it may get harder to go back to the solicitors’ route. If so, what would people recommend to applyfor if you want to get ‘more experience’ before applying for a training contract?

    I apologise if this has been discussed somewhere else.

    Thanks!
    A lot of agencies recruit paralegal positions for firms (or help with the recruitment) as firms often do not have the resource internally.

    There are also paralegal agencies that provide temp paralegals, and so the candidates are employed by the agency rather than the firm. You'd be surprised how many temp paralegal roles there are purely through agencies, mainly due to fluctuations in project work.

    My only other advice is to look for roles on LinkedIn and other job sites - some firms do manage all their vacancies internally. I have shared at least 2 paralegal roles to my network on LinkedIn in the last couple of days, so a significant number will not be through agencies. So I'd recommend both - register with a couple of agencies and then look at opportunities with firms directly, whether on LinkedIn or on their careers site.

    I seem to be saying this a lot at the moment, but the biggest mistake people make when applying for paralegal work, is that they apply for permanent positions when their CV screams out that they want to be a solicitor. If the role is permanent, the reality is that the firm wants a career paralegal - someone who is likely to stay in that type of role for a decent amount of time (e.g. over two years). If it looks like you are going to bolt as soon as you get a TC elsewhere, or be pushing internally to be considered for a TC with that firms, they can often exclude you on that basis alone. Therefore applying for temp or FTC work is likely to bring more success. They are also more likely to be more flexible in terms of requirements (such as whether they will accept people who have not completed the LPC).

    I've recruited enough career changers to know it is possible to do a grad programme for a few and then pursue a career in law. However, it comes with its own challenges. I recommend reading some of the comments in the following article to explain those -
    http://www.legalcheek.com/2016/08/do...ing-contracts/
    - the comment from "MC(Donald's) trainee" is particularly insightful IMHO.
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    (Original post by J-SP)
    A lot of agencies recruit paralegal positions for firms (or help with the recruitment) as firms often do not have the resource internally. There are also paralegal agencies that provide temp paralegals, and so the candidates are employed by the agency rather than the firm. You'd be surprised how many temp paralegal roles there are purely through agencies, mainly due to fluctuations in project work.My only other advice is to look for roles on LinkedIn and other job sites - some firms do manage all their vacancies internally. I have shared at least 2 paralegal roles to my network on LinkedIn in the last couple of days, so a significant number will not be through agencies. So I'd recommend both - register with a couple of agencies and then look at opportunities with firms directly, whether on LinkedIn or on their careers site.I seem to be saying this a lot at the moment, but the biggest mistake people make when applying for paralegal work, is that they apply for permanent positions when their CV screams out that they want to be a solicitor. If the role is permanent, the reality is that the firm wants a career paralegal - someone who is likely to stay in that type of role for a decent amount of time (e.g. over two years). If it looks like you are going to bolt as soon as you get a TC elsewhere, or be pushing internally to be considered for a TC with that firms, they can often exclude you on that basis alone. Therefore applying for temp or FTC work is likely to bring more success. They are also more likely to be more flexible in terms of requirements (such as whether they will accept people who have not completed the LPC).I've recruited enough career changers to know it is possible to do a grad programme for a few and then pursue a career in law. However, it comes with its own challenges. I recommend reading some of the comments in the following article to explain those - http://www.legalcheek.com/2016/08/do...ing-contracts/ - the comment from "MC(Donald's) trainee" is particularly insightful IMHO.
    Thank you very much, J-SP! Helpful as always.
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    (Original post by J-SP)
    A lot of agencies recruit paralegal positions for firms (or help with the recruitment) as firms often do not have the resource internally.

    There are also paralegal agencies that provide temp paralegals, and so the candidates are employed by the agency rather than the firm. You'd be surprised how many temp paralegal roles there are purely through agencies, mainly due to fluctuations in project work.

    My only other advice is to look for roles on LinkedIn and other job sites - some firms do manage all their vacancies internally. I have shared at least 2 paralegal roles to my network on LinkedIn in the last couple of days, so a significant number will not be through agencies. So I'd recommend both - register with a couple of agencies and then look at opportunities with firms directly, whether on LinkedIn or on their careers site.

    I seem to be saying this a lot at the moment, but the biggest mistake people make when applying for paralegal work, is that they apply for permanent positions when their CV screams out that they want to be a solicitor. If the role is permanent, the reality is that the firm wants a career paralegal - someone who is likely to stay in that type of role for a decent amount of time (e.g. over two years). If it looks like you are going to bolt as soon as you get a TC elsewhere, or be pushing internally to be considered for a TC with that firms, they can often exclude you on that basis alone. Therefore applying for temp or FTC work is likely to bring more success. They are also more likely to be more flexible in terms of requirements (such as whether they will accept people who have not completed the LPC).

    I've recruited enough career changers to know it is possible to do a grad programme for a few and then pursue a career in law. However, it comes with its own challenges. I recommend reading some of the comments in the following article to explain those -
    http://www.legalcheek.com/2016/08/do...ing-contracts/
    - the comment from "MC(Donald's) trainee" is particularly insightful IMHO.
    Hi J-SP - what would you advise for a non-law grad who cannot afford to self-fund the GDL/LPC?
    I haven't come across any paralegal positions that allow for my lack of legal qualifications. Which agency would be best?
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    (Original post by alittlebitlost)
    Hi J-SP - what would you advise for a non-law grad who cannot afford to self-fund the GDL/LPC?
    I haven't come across any paralegal positions that allow for my lack of legal qualifications. Which agency would be best?
    For agencies it will depend on where you are based.

    My advice is the same as the above though. Also think about applying for other interim roles within law firms (business development/marketing/conflict departments etc) if the lack of GDL/LPC is the real barrier.


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