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Paralegaling in HK with no Chinese Language Skills Watch

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    Hey everyone,

    I have not secured a TC yet and was considering finding a paralegal position abroad should I not manage to secure a TC this year.

    I would be really interested in working in Hong Kong (or even Singapore) given their importance as global financial hubs, and possibilities of building networking contacts there as well.

    This would also present me with the opportunity to study Chinese (if I were to work in HK).

    My question is the following.
    I am a graduate and am currently pursuing an LLM.

    Is it possible to secure a paralegal position in HK without speaking any Chinese?
    (also without any previous paralegal experience)

    It would be amazing if you could share your own opinions on this topic!

    Thanks,
    A

    ps: regarding Visa's, I am an EU National
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    It's possible - I've seen it on application forms, although I've seen it more with main land China rather than HK or Singapore for non-native speakers. They also tend to be shorter term internships too.

    The vast majority of people I've seen with experience in that region though speak Mandarin and/or Cantonese, and have some kind of ties to the region.

    You'd probably want to speak to someone who has responsibilities for recruiting in that region though to get some accurate advice.


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    (Original post by J-SP)
    It's possible - I've seen it on application forms, although I've seen it more with main land China rather than HK or Singapore for non-native speakers. They also tend to be shorter term internships too.

    The vast majority of people I've seen with experience in that region though speak Mandarin and/or Cantonese, and have some kind of ties to the region.

    You'd probably want to speak to someone who has responsibilities for recruiting in that region though to get some accurate advice.


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    Thank you for your reply.
    I remember someone who had done paralegal work in HK for about 9 months with no Chinese knowledge. I figured this would be a great way (if doable) to work in HK and also having the opportunity to take Chinese classes while there.

    I will contact my university's career center, hopefully they have any knowledge as to how to apply and where to look for vacancies that do not require Chinese knowledge.
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    (Original post by Anthony I)
    Hey everyone,

    I have not secured a TC yet and was considering finding a paralegal position abroad should I not manage to secure a TC this year.

    I would be really interested in working in Hong Kong (or even Singapore) given their importance as global financial hubs, and possibilities of building networking contacts there as well.

    This would also present me with the opportunity to study Chinese (if I were to work in HK).

    My question is the following.
    I am a graduate and am currently pursuing an LLM.

    Is it possible to secure a paralegal position in HK without speaking any Chinese?
    (also without any previous paralegal experience)

    It would be amazing if you could share your own opinions on this topic!

    Thanks,
    A

    ps: regarding Visa's, I am an EU National
    Singaporean currently training at a Hong Kong MC here.

    Is your long-term goal to move to Singapore/ Hong Kong, or are you just looking for some legal work experience in Asia in the short term? Are you open to taking a Singapore/ Hong Kong training contract? What's your Mandarin fluency like?

    As regards paralegals in Singapore, my understanding is that local firms don't use them much (trainees/ interns don't get billed or have low billing rates, so there's no/ little need for paralegals). The Singapore offices of international firms aren't that large, so I don't know whether they have their own paralegals, or just rely on those from other offices.

    I don't think an inability to speak Mandarin is all that important for Singapore law jobs, unless you work for a team which does a lot of Sino work. Singapore tends to focus on domestic/ regional deals (ie South and South East Asia).

    On the other hand, for Hong Kong, the usual position is that Mandarin is strongly preferred, but not outright necessary. Cantonese typically isn't used at work (unless you're with a local firm), and is mostly helpful for social reasons. In my office though, I think all of our paralegals are reasonably proficient in Mandarin.

    However, you can try applying for paralegal positions regardless. For example, Clifford Chance Hong Kong is recruiting for a Capital Markets paralegal, and says Chinese language skills are strongly preferred, but doesn't outright state that they are mandatory: https://www9.i-grasp.com/fe/tpl_Clif...hxfqooyqdlcfur

    I don't think visa would be a massive problem for Hong Kong - the firm will apply on your behalf, and I got mine without any fuss. I suspect the same is probably true for Singapore as well.
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    (Original post by mishieru07)
    Singaporean currently training at a Hong Kong MC here.

    Is your long-term goal to move to Singapore/ Hong Kong, or are you just looking for some legal work experience in Asia in the short term? Are you open to taking a Singapore/ Hong Kong training contract? What's your Mandarin fluency like?

    As regards paralegals in Singapore, my understanding is that local firms don't use them much (trainees/ interns don't get billed or have low billing rates, so there's no/ little need for paralegals). The Singapore offices of international firms aren't that large, so I don't know whether they have their own paralegals, or just rely on those from other offices.

    I don't think an inability to speak Mandarin is all that important for Singapore law jobs, unless you work for a team which does a lot of Sino work. Singapore tends to focus on domestic/ regional deals (ie South and South East Asia).

    On the other hand, for Hong Kong, the usual position is that Mandarin is strongly preferred, but not outright necessary. Cantonese typically isn't used at work (unless you're with a local firm), and is mostly helpful for social reasons. In my office though, I think all of our paralegals are reasonably proficient in Mandarin.

    However, you can try applying for paralegal positions regardless. For example, Clifford Chance Hong Kong is recruiting for a Capital Markets paralegal, and says Chinese language skills are strongly preferred, but doesn't outright state that they are mandatory: https://www9.i-grasp.com/fe/tpl_Clif...hxfqooyqdlcfur

    I don't think visa would be a massive problem for Hong Kong - the firm will apply on your behalf, and I got mine without any fuss. I suspect the same is probably true for Singapore as well.

    Hey mishieru,

    thanks for your much appreciated input!

    To be honest, I am considering working in HK/Singa for a short-term period (1yr preferably) in order to maximise my chances of obtaining a TC here back in London.
    Atm, I am having a really hard time getting a TC, because I do not meet the A-Level requirement AAB/ABB that most firms have and therefore get filtered out automatically.

    I also think that living and working in HK/Singa could also prove to be a fascinating life experience for me. The problem is that I have no knowledge whatsoever on how to proceed (or whether I have any chances at all) of working there.

    The thing is, I do not know Mandarin at all. I just started a Mandarin basic course (4 hours a week) of classes this year, therefore after this year I will only have the most basic knowledge of the language possible.

    In addition to which, I have no specific previous paralegaling experience, what I do have are 6 work experience placements of 2 weeks each that I completed during my UG degree (i.e. 6 vac-schemes).

    I am currently a Master's student, and so will apply straight after my studies.

    Based on this, do you think I could have any chances of working in HK/Singa, and overall would you think this could prove a smart move to then find a TC back in London once I am done?

    Again, many thanks for stopping by and sharing your knowledge!
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    There is a slight risk you pose by working in Asia, and that is that t could create the question of why the U.K. or do you only have a short term commitment to the UK (e.g. To qualify as an English Lawyer and then work elsewhere).

    Work experience of this nature is usually great but it does sometimes create a question or two when reviewing an application, like "why did you not paralegal in the UK?".




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    (Original post by J-SP)
    Work experience of this nature is usually great but it does sometimes create a question or two when reviewing an application, like "why did you not paralegal in the UK?".

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    I would probably answer such a question with the following points:

    1)Paralegaling in HK would for example confer me the possibility of improving my Mandarin Chinese (I just enrolled on a basic course)

    2)From what most people tell me, paralegaling in the UK seems to be a dead-end in most circumstances. I would paralegal elsewhere, in order to maximise my chances of getting a TC, since I do not meet the A-Level requirements of the firms I want to work in. In addition, I believe that it is harder t get a paralegal position in the UK, for graduates with no previous paralegal work experience. (I usually see that they are looking for experienced paralegal hires)


    Do you think this is a good thought process?
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    (Original post by Anthony I)
    I would probably answer such a question with the following points:

    1)Paralegaling in HK would for example confer me the possibility of improving my Mandarin Chinese (I just enrolled on a basic course)

    2)From what most people tell me, paralegaling in the UK seems to be a dead-end in most circumstances. I would paralegal elsewhere, in order to maximise my chances of getting a TC, since I do not meet the A-Level requirements of the firms I want to work in. In addition, I believe that it is harder t get a paralegal position in the UK, for graduates with no previous paralegal work experience. (I usually see that they are looking for experienced paralegal hires)


    Do you think this is a good thought process?
    Yes good thought process - although everything said in 2) will still be the same even with the experience. And I don't think it will be easier to get a role in Asia than it will be in U.K., especially given the language and visa issues.


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    (Original post by Anthony I)
    Hey mishieru,

    thanks for your much appreciated input!

    To be honest, I am considering working in HK/Singa for a short-term period (1yr preferably) in order to maximise my chances of obtaining a TC here back in London.
    Atm, I am having a really hard time getting a TC, because I do not meet the A-Level requirement AAB/ABB that most firms have and therefore get filtered out automatically.

    I also think that living and working in HK/Singa could also prove to be a fascinating life experience for me. The problem is that I have no knowledge whatsoever on how to proceed (or whether I have any chances at all) of working there.

    The thing is, I do not know Mandarin at all. I just started a Mandarin basic course (4 hours a week) of classes this year, therefore after this year I will only have the most basic knowledge of the language possible.

    In addition to which, I have no specific previous paralegaling experience, what I do have are 6 work experience placements of 2 weeks each that I completed during my UG degree (i.e. 6 vac-schemes).

    I am currently a Master's student, and so will apply straight after my studies.

    Based on this, do you think I could have any chances of working in HK/Singa, and overall would you think this could prove a smart move to then find a TC back in London once I am done?

    Again, many thanks for stopping by and sharing your knowledge!
    (Original post by Anthony I)
    I would probably answer such a question with the following points:

    1)Paralegaling in HK would for example confer me the possibility of improving my Mandarin Chinese (I just enrolled on a basic course)

    2)From what most people tell me, paralegaling in the UK seems to be a dead-end in most circumstances. I would paralegal elsewhere, in order to maximise my chances of getting a TC, since I do not meet the A-Level requirements of the firms I want to work in. In addition, I believe that it is harder t get a paralegal position in the UK, for graduates with no previous paralegal work experience. (I usually see that they are looking for experienced paralegal hires)


    Do you think this is a good thought process?
    What's your end goal with respect to improving your Mandarin Chinese? Enough to be fluent on a day-to-day basis? Enough to correspond with clients and draft/ review documents at a professional level?

    I say this because Chinese is a notoriously difficult language to learn, and learning professional Chinese is an additional hurdle in itself. To be very honest, unless you're good with languages and spend a lot of time, you probably won't reach professional fluency within a year. I'm considered sort of "day-to-day" fluent, and it's been a real struggle to learn professional Chinese. The jargon and technical language makes it very different (and more difficult in my opinion).

    With that in mind, even in the future, I'm not sure whether you'd be allowed to handle a lot of Sino-heavy work. The firms would probably just farm it to someone who has Chinese capabilities (people can and do instruct across offices), or you'd have to rely on a translator. That's not to say you shouldn't learn it, but I think you need to be realistic about the amount of work you can handle after a year of language classes. It's also worth bearing in mind that the vast majority of Sino work tends to get handled out of the Asian offices, particularly Hong Kong or mainland China. You probably won't see much of it during your career if your plan is to work in London.

    For Hong Kong paralegalling, my suspicion is that most firms will have a "strongly preferred but not strictly necessary" policy. In that sense, the barriers to entry may not be any lower compared to paralegalling in the UK. You will definitely be at a disadvantage because most of the paralegals are probably Hong Kong or China natives, but there's no harm in firing off applications regardless. Worst that can happen is the firms tell you no.

    I think you'll be fine in Singapore even without Chinese, bearing in mind that people predominantly use English professionally. The real difficulty is that I'm not sure we even have paralegal positions, and if we do, they're probably very, very few in number.

    I would start by looking at all the international firms' recruitment websites. Check whether they have any paralegal positions open in Hong Kong/ Singapore, and go from there.
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    (Original post by mishieru07)
    What's your end goal with respect to improving your Mandarin Chinese? Enough to be fluent on a day-to-day basis? Enough to correspond with clients and draft/ review documents at a professional level?

    I say this because Chinese is a notoriously difficult language to learn, and learning professional Chinese is an additional hurdle in itself. To be very honest, unless you're good with languages and spend a lot of time, you probably won't reach professional fluency within a year. I'm considered sort of "day-to-day" fluent, and it's been a real struggle to learn professional Chinese. The jargon and technical language makes it very different (and more difficult in my opinion).

    With that in mind, even in the future, I'm not sure whether you'd be allowed to handle a lot of Sino-heavy work. The firms would probably just farm it to someone who has Chinese capabilities (people can and do instruct across offices), or you'd have to rely on a translator. That's not to say you shouldn't learn it, but I think you need to be realistic about the amount of work you can handle after a year of language classes. It's also worth bearing in mind that the vast majority of Sino work tends to get handled out of the Asian offices, particularly Hong Kong or mainland China. You probably won't see much of it during your career if your plan is to work in London.

    For Hong Kong paralegalling, my suspicion is that most firms will have a "strongly preferred but not strictly necessary" policy. In that sense, the barriers to entry may not be any lower compared to paralegalling in the UK. You will definitely be at a disadvantage because most of the paralegals are probably Hong Kong or China natives, but there's no harm in firing off applications regardless. Worst that can happen is the firms tell you no.

    I think you'll be fine in Singapore even without Chinese, bearing in mind that people predominantly use English professionally. The real difficulty is that I'm not sure we even have paralegal positions, and if we do, they're probably very, very few in number.

    I would start by looking at all the international firms' recruitment websites. Check whether they have any paralegal positions open in Hong Kong/ Singapore, and go from there.
    Thank you for your valuable input!

    As I said, I am researching this possibility of one year work as paralegal in order to maximise my chances of obtaining a TC with a top commercial law firm in London. At the moment I am completely cut out due to my A-Levels (ABB/BBB) instead of AAA or AAB.

    So, I though that working and living one year in HK/Singa, apart from being an invaluable life experience, could confer me ulterior skills that would make getting a TC easier. For example: good Chinese knowledge (not professional, but good enough to attend meetings/calls with clients when working in London).

    I know that work in HK/Singa is extremely high profile (like London), so there is always the chance of networking with someone who could help me obtain a TC in London.

    Do you think this is delusional? Or that this strategy is worth pursuing? I have absolutely no knowledge regarding this topic, so any input is very appreciated!

    Again, thanks for taking the time and commenting on this post!
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    If you are white you will be fine.
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    (Original post by Anthony I)
    I know that work in HK/Singa is extremely high profile (like London), so there is always the chance of networking with someone who could help me obtain a TC in London.
    I think this is the only issue with your plan. You can't rely on anyone to help get you a TC. I've seen the most connected individuals with a lot of internal support still fall down on the basics of an application and therefore are unsuccessful.

    Any placement you get would enhance your work experience section of an application, but it is highly unlikely to provide a backdoor to a TC. If you really wanted that, your best bet is to stay in the U.K., secure a paralegal role with a firm with a known reputation of recruiting trainees from their paralegal population.

    And as for language skills enhancing an application or allowing you to work on matters in the local language, you'd need to be fluent, and I can't see a year + a course here getting you to that level, especially with other commitments. I think you are also over estimating the opportunities to use language skills on the job.
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    (Original post by J-SP)
    I think this is the only issue with your plan. You can't rely on anyone to help get you a TC. I've seen the most connected individuals with a lot of internal support still fall down on the basics of an application and therefore are unsuccessful.

    Any placement you get would enhance your work experience section of an application, but it is highly unlikely to provide a backdoor to a TC. If you really wanted that, your best bet is to stay in the U.K., secure a paralegal role with a firm with a known reputation of recruiting trainees from their paralegal population.

    And as for language skills enhancing an application or allowing you to work on matters in the local language, you'd need to be fluent, and I can't see a year + a course here getting you to that level, especially with other commitments. I think you are also over estimating the opportunities to use language skills on the job.
    Thanks for your reply J-SP!

    My last point (networking) was the weakest one and I know I can't rely on anyone to "give me a TC". The thing is that I am trying to find out what the best way to secure a TC is.

    I am facing a wall now with my A-Level equivalent score, and I need to find the best and most efficient way to break through it. I thought that knowing Chinese (not fluently but at least at a good level would be helpful), I am already Fluent in Italian, English and more than Advanced in Spanish.I am a bit lost at the moment, and need to really find out what could help me the most in securing a TC here back in the UK with a top commercial firm.

    I even considered retaking A-Levels (IB for me), but that would honestly be humiliating after having done an LLM (I am on it right now). And that would still, not guarantee me a TC with any top firm.
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    (Original post by Anthony I)
    I even considered retaking A-Levels (IB for me), but that would honestly be humiliating after having done an LLM (I am on it right now). And that would still, not guarantee me a TC with any top firm.
    Retaking you A-levels/IB is likely to have little to no impact. Firms tend to only look at the first sitting anyway.

    If you have a good UG result and get good grades in your Masters then there is even less reason to do so.

    There are firms out there that do not have a minimum A-level requirement. You may also want to look at those who utilise the contextualised recruitment process too (doesn't really work for you, but at least they are open to grades).

    Your equivalent grades are only the equivalent on one or possibly two grades off firms' usual requirements - a lot of firms apply some level of flexibility for people who have excelled academically elsewhere, and in some cases with foreign IB grades which tend to be lower than UK IB grades. I am starting to think you have assumed this is the issue with your application, but I suspect there are other areas that might be contributing to your unsuccessful applications. Too many people assume it's the academics that are solely responsible.
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    (Original post by J-SP)
    Retaking you A-levels/IB is likely to have little to no impact. Firms tend to only look at the first sitting anyway.

    If you have a good UG result and get good grades in your Masters then there is even less reason to do so.

    There are firms out there that do not have a minimum A-level requirement. You may also want to look at those who utilise the contextualised recruitment process too (doesn't really work for you, but at least they are open to grades).

    Your equivalent grades are only the equivalent on one or possibly two grades off firms' usual requirements - a lot of firms apply some level of flexibility for people who have excelled academically elsewhere, and in some cases with foreign IB grades which tend to be lower than UK IB grades. I am starting to think you have assumed this is the issue with your application, but I suspect there are other areas that might be contributing to your unsuccessful applications. Too many people assume it's the academics that are solely responsible.
    Thanks for your reply, I totally understand that, and that is why I am doing my best in order to improve myself and my application as much as I can, e.g.: learning languages, seeking positions of responsibility, and honestly, just writing applications as best as I can. (Trying the best approach for the question instead of just throwing hours at the question).

    What is the contextualised recruitment that you mentioned? I never heard of it o.O
    Do you mean like access to law for minorities, e.g. aspiring solicitors schemes?
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    (Original post by Anthony I)
    Thanks for your reply, I totally understand that, and that is why I am doing my best in order to improve myself and my application as much as I can, e.g.: learning languages, seeking positions of responsibility, and honestly, just writing applications as best as I can. (Trying the best approach for the question instead of just throwing hours at the question).

    What is the contextualised recruitment that you mentioned? I never heard of it o.O
    Do you mean like access to law for minorities, e.g. aspiring solicitors schemes?
    Contextualised recruitment has a database of school performances and demographics specific to postcodes (only UK) and assesses the individual candidate's A-level performance against their peers. It allows the recruiter to review whether they over performed or under performed compared to others at their school or local community. It also asks a number of specific social mobility questions (free school meals, first generation university attendee, whether you have been in the care system) to create "flags" that may suggest whether you have been from a lower SEB group. The system doesn't really work fully for you as you are non UK educated.

    But what it does mean is that the firms are generally more open minded to grades and there is no automatic filtering process in place. There's more likely to be a person reviewing your form.

    The system mainly used by firms is through Rare. If you google contextualised recruitment you will probably find the firms who are using the system.
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    (Original post by Anthony I)
    Thank you for your valuable input!

    As I said, I am researching this possibility of one year work as paralegal in order to maximise my chances of obtaining a TC with a top commercial law firm in London. At the moment I am completely cut out due to my A-Levels (ABB/BBB) instead of AAA or AAB.

    So, I though that working and living one year in HK/Singa, apart from being an invaluable life experience, could confer me ulterior skills that would make getting a TC easier. For example: good Chinese knowledge (not professional, but good enough to attend meetings/calls with clients when working in London).

    I know that work in HK/Singa is extremely high profile (like London), so there is always the chance of networking with someone who could help me obtain a TC in London.

    Do you think this is delusional? Or that this strategy is worth pursuing? I have absolutely no knowledge regarding this topic, so any input is very appreciated!

    Again, thanks for taking the time and commenting on this post!
    I can see the attraction regarding working overseas, especially in a completely different part of the world. It's a very different experience for sure. However, I should also warn you that rent is going to be pretty expensive for Singapore/ HK if you're on a paralegal salary.

    That being said, I'm really not confident your Chinese is going to be fluent enough to attend meetings/ calls with clients in Mandarin within a year or so. On top of becoming fluent (a tall order in itself, bearing in mind that Chinese has a completely different writing system, has its own set of grammar rules, and is a tonal language), you need to learn business terminology to communicate with clients. That means understanding technical terms such as security, syndicated loan, profit and loss accounts, mergers and acquisitions, private equity etc, which are not in everyday vernacular. It is challenging - in HK, many firms offer Chinese classes even for fluent/ near fluent speakers for this reason.

    The graduate recruitment partner at my firm used to say the test is :Would we feel comfortable putting you in front of a client? Unless you're sufficiently fluent, chances are they'll just ask a Chinese speaker to sit in if necessary, especially since London doesn't get a lot of Sino-work to begin with. There are probably sufficient numbers of native Chinese people working in London to handle the odd case.

    Re networking opportunities, wouldn't the advantage be similar to what you may derive from paralegalling in the UK? I can see why you might paralegal in HK if you want a HK TC specifically, because you might get a good reputation/ reference in the HK market, but I'm not sure how this might translate to getting a UK TC anymore than if you paralegalled in London.

    If I were you, I would really focus efforts on getting a UK TC. What about CV-blind schemes in the UK? For instance, Clifford Chance runs the Intelligent Aid competition, which as far as I'm aware doesn't have a minimum A level grade requirement. Have you tried applying to the firms on this list http://www.chambersstudent.co.uk/law...ction-criteria whose A level requirements you meet (Eg Addleshaw Goddard, Macfarlanes)? What sort of feedback have you been getting from the firms as to why your application wasn't successful?
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    (Original post by mishieru07)
    I can see the attraction regarding working overseas, especially in a completely different part of the world. It's a very different experience for sure. However, I should also warn you that rent is going to be pretty expensive for Singapore/ HK if you're on a paralegal salary.

    That being said, I'm really not confident your Chinese is going to be fluent enough to attend meetings/ calls with clients in Mandarin within a year or so. On top of becoming fluent (a tall order in itself, bearing in mind that Chinese has a completely different writing system, has its own set of grammar rules, and is a tonal language), you need to learn business terminology to communicate with clients. That means understanding technical terms such as security, syndicated loan, profit and loss accounts, mergers and acquisitions, private equity etc, which are not in everyday vernacular. It is challenging - in HK, many firms offer Chinese classes even for fluent/ near fluent speakers for this reason.

    The graduate recruitment partner at my firm used to say the test is :Would we feel comfortable putting you in front of a client? Unless you're sufficiently fluent, chances are they'll just ask a Chinese speaker to sit in if necessary, especially since London doesn't get a lot of Sino-work to begin with. There are probably sufficient numbers of native Chinese people working in London to handle the odd case.

    Re networking opportunities, wouldn't the advantage be similar to what you may derive from paralegalling in the UK? I can see why you might paralegal in HK if you want a HK TC specifically, because you might get a good reputation/ reference in the HK market, but I'm not sure how this might translate to getting a UK TC anymore than if you paralegalled in London.

    If I were you, I would really focus efforts on getting a UK TC. What about CV-blind schemes in the UK? For instance, Clifford Chance runs the Intelligent Aid competition, which as far as I'm aware doesn't have a minimum A level grade requirement. Have you tried applying to the firms on this list http://www.chambersstudent.co.uk/law...ction-criteria whose A level requirements you meet (Eg Addleshaw Goddard, Macfarlanes)? What sort of feedback have you been getting from the firms as to why your application wasn't successful?
    Thanks for your post!

    I see what you are saying with regards to "focusing on getting a UK TC". I have seen that link already and am considering applying to Macfarlanes (I am not really keen on Addleshaw). The point is, that even applying there will still be very difficult (I will probably be at the bottom pile of all candidates applying, in terms of A-Level grades).

    Regarding feedback, unfortunately I have been getting close to known. I had a few appointments with my uni career centre, but they are merely 15/20 minutes long and honestly, the quality of feedback they provide is not specific enough. So I just do my best, but struggle with questions such as "How does a thing you have been following in the media affect our global practice".

    Unfortunately, all I can do is try my best with apps. I am submitting (4-5 Winter vac-scheme apps), but this is the 4th time I am sending out apps and never got an interview so far, so not really confident.

    What is important, is now figuring what to do next year, since this is the last one I will be spending in academia (LLM atm).

    What would you suggest? Is paralegaling really the best option, even after a Master's degree?
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    (Original post by Anthony I)
    Thanks for your post!

    I see what you are saying with regards to "focusing on getting a UK TC". I have seen that link already and am considering applying to Macfarlanes (I am not really keen on Addleshaw). The point is, that even applying there will still be very difficult (I will probably be at the bottom pile of all candidates applying, in terms of A-Level grades).

    Regarding feedback, unfortunately I have been getting close to known. I had a few appointments with my uni career centre, but they are merely 15/20 minutes long and honestly, the quality of feedback they provide is not specific enough. So I just do my best, but struggle with questions such as "How does a thing you have been following in the media affect our global practice".

    Unfortunately, all I can do is try my best with apps. I am submitting (4-5 Winter vac-scheme apps), but this is the 4th time I am sending out apps and never got an interview so far, so not really confident.

    What is important, is now figuring what to do next year, since this is the last one I will be spending in academia (LLM atm).

    What would you suggest? Is paralegaling really the best option, even after a Master's degree?
    You are too hung up on the A-level thing to be honest - I think you seem to have an issue with it more than firms would. If a firm says their grade requirements are what you have then it is not an issue and you are not at the bottom of the pile at all. If you were then they would have a higher grade requirement.

    Some of that list isn't that accurate though, particularly with the "undisclosed" firms. So do some research, speak to firms directly

    It sounds like you are being quite picky with the firms you are choosing if you are still only "considering" applying to Macfarlanes and have eliminated AG from your list. Maybe it is time to have more of an open mind?

    And paralegal work is better than not working. Again maybe you are being a bit close minded to how helpful it might be?

    Send me a copy of a recent full application in a PM on here and I'll give you feedback on it.


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    (Original post by Anthony I)
    Thanks for your post!

    I see what you are saying with regards to "focusing on getting a UK TC". I have seen that link already and am considering applying to Macfarlanes (I am not really keen on Addleshaw). The point is, that even applying there will still be very difficult (I will probably be at the bottom pile of all candidates applying, in terms of A-Level grades).

    Regarding feedback, unfortunately I have been getting close to known. I had a few appointments with my uni career centre, but they are merely 15/20 minutes long and honestly, the quality of feedback they provide is not specific enough. So I just do my best, but struggle with questions such as "How does a thing you have been following in the media affect our global practice".

    Unfortunately, all I can do is try my best with apps. I am submitting (4-5 Winter vac-scheme apps), but this is the 4th time I am sending out apps and never got an interview so far, so not really confident.

    What is important, is now figuring what to do next year, since this is the last one I will be spending in academia (LLM atm).

    What would you suggest? Is paralegaling really the best option, even after a Master's degree?
    I was thinking more of feedback from the firms, but I suspect they're not likely to offer any/ much if you got rejected before interview. Definitely take up J-SP's offer to check an application. She's a (former?) recruiter, and will be able to give you good advice on how to improve.

    Exactly how many firms have you been applying to over the past 4 cycles (by cycle and total), and particularly, which firms did you apply to? Are these firms for which you meet the A level requirements?

    To be honest, if I were in your position, I'd be applying to every single firm that I could conceivably see myself working for which does not have an A level auto-filter or where you meet the grade requirements. To put it bluntly, you're really not in a position to be very selective about which firms to apply to, considering that there aren't many where you won't be auto-filtered out, pending extenuating circumstances (eg you have a strong recommendation from a partner, there's a reason for your poor performance at A levels equivalent).

    4-5 is really not many applications. My usual advice to my juniors is that they should be putting in 8 or more good, solid VS/ TC applications if their goal is to secure a UK TC, unless they're lucky enough to get offers they like early on in the season. To some extent, it is a numbers game, and you need to maximize your odds as much as possible.

    I would really rather paralegal or take another job than be jobless to be honest. Even with a Master's. In fact, having done a Master's myself (Ox BCL), I don't think there's anything special about a Master's degree, except getting more specialized knowledge in certain fields.

    The other thing you can do is perhaps apply for more long-term internships or programmes in commercial/ business areas. For instance, an internship at a MNC or start-up might make you a more interesting candidate and give you fresh perspectives.
 
 
 
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