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Law Training Contract Commencing 2019- PERSONAL WORRIES- HELP. Watch

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    Hi there,

    I am a LLB law graduate from the London School of Economics & Politics, graduated in 2015. I am interested in applying for training contracts at the leading commercial law firms such as the magic circle firms, silver circles firms etc. I have a few worries and concerns which are demotivating me to apply. So I thought it would be wise to get some fresh perspective on my current dilemma. These deeps concerns I believe could have a major impact on my career choice. They include:

    A) I feel that my experience is not good enough. I have had a range of very short term legal experience, such as 2 mini pupillages, experience at 4 different firms, 2 chambers and experience shadowing judges. Although I have had a wide range of exposure, these experiences lasted no longer than a week. Since graduating I have engaged in self employed, freelance work, trying to set up my own business and have recently started working on a part time basis as an administrative assistant in a small business. I have tried to apply for several paralegal roles within the year but have been unsuccessful yet. My concern is that my experience shows a lack of commitment to a long term role, where I have been managed, worked within a team, adapted to a proper 9-5 working routine and got used to the culture, fast paced lifestyle and environment of the professional services industry. I feel that the recruiters will see right through my experiences and judge that it is not enough. What should I do? Should this be a major concern?

    B) Although I graduated from a Russell group university with a 2:1., my individual module grades are not particularly high and are very inconsistent. I averaged a 2:1 in my first year, 2:2 in my second and 2:2/3rd in my final year. My grades progressively became worse. I am concerned whether this plays a huge role in the firm’s decisions to choose me as an applicant. Although I have grave mitigating circumstances (death of family member), this could only really be used as an excuse for the second year of exams. Would it be plausible to say that this death also affected my third year due to mourning? When in interview, is it plausible to be completely honest and explain that you found certain modules difficult etc? How should I handle this concern?

    C) I was convicted by Transport for London for using an underaged ticket about 3 years ago. It was a silly decision to make, despite the honest fact that I didn’t have the funds to pay for a more expensive travel card at the time. It was the younger me and have learnt my lessons.The offence is classed as minor and does not show up on my DBS extended checks. I was wondering whether I should DEFINITELY declare this on my form? I have declared it in previous applications. How much is having this criminal conviction likely to affect my prospects of being accepted onto the next stage and getting an offer on the whole? How should I justify and prepare myself if asked about it at interview?

    D) I have also been cautioned and fined for drunk and disorderly. How does that affect my career?

    E) I have lived in the UK for a long while and I am currently in the process of attaining my indefinite leave to remain. I have the right to work and study at the UK at this moment, but I have no clue what the final outcome will be. If granted status, I will be a citizen and if not, then I may be subject to deportation. What should I put on my application right now to indicate my current status? Does having this uncertainty affect the firm’s decision to choose me as a suitable applicant? I understand that some firms have to prioritise British residents and those who have the definite right to work and study in the UK.

    F) What work searches do the commercial firms carry out? Do they validate the dates of the places you have worked at only or validate both the dates and content/experiences/tasks you undertook while there? How does the contacting process with previous employees work?

    G) How much impact does your reference have on the selection process? I have always been wary of this part of the process as it is beyond my control what my referees say; what if they are not saying enough or not saying the right things at all? What should I do to reassure myself that I have chosen the right referees and they are putting their best word forward?

    H) The application process always ask whether you have applied to the firm before. I was wondering why is that and does recruitment look at your previous applications alongside your new application? Does your previous applications get deleted off their system?

    I have been committed to the legal field for years now and being a commercial lawyer has been my passion for a while now. I have visited a number of these firms at open days so far. The concerns I have could be the difference between still applying and contemplating a completely new career path because of my personal choices and circumstances. I welcome all your support and recommendations. Thank you.

    Best wishes, Confused Law Graduate
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    (Original post by Lagoonnine)
    Hi there,

    I am a LLB law graduate from the London School of Economics & Politics, graduated in 2015. I am interested in applying for training contracts at the leading commercial law firms such as the magic circle firms, silver circles firms etc. I have a few worries and concerns which are demotivating me to apply. So I thought it would be wise to get some fresh perspective on my current dilemma. These deeps concerns I believe could have a major impact on my career choice. They include:

    A) I feel that my experience is not good enough. I have had a range of very short term legal experience, such as 2 mini pupillages, experience at 4 different firms, 2 chambers and experience shadowing judges. Although I have had a wide range of exposure, these experiences lasted no longer than a week. Since graduating I have engaged in self employed, freelance work, trying to set up my own business and have recently started working on a part time basis as an administrative assistant in a small business. I have tried to apply for several paralegal roles within the year but have been unsuccessful yet. My concern is that my experience shows a lack of commitment to a long term role, where I have been managed, worked within a team, adapted to a proper 9-5 working routine and got used to the culture, fast paced lifestyle and environment of the professional services industry. I feel that the recruiters will see right through my experiences and judge that it is not enough. What should I do? Should this be a major concern?

    B) Although I graduated from a Russell group university with a 2:1., my individual module grades are not particularly high and are very inconsistent. I averaged a 2:1 in my first year, 2:2 in my second and 2:2/3rd in my final year. My grades progressively became worse. I am concerned whether this plays a huge role in the firm’s decisions to choose me as an applicant. Although I have grave mitigating circumstances (death of family member), this could only really be used as an excuse for the second year of exams. Would it be plausible to say that this death also affected my third year due to mourning? When in interview, is it plausible to be completely honest and explain that you found certain modules difficult etc? How should I handle this concern?

    C) I was convicted by Transport for London for using an underaged ticket about 3 years ago. It was a silly decision to make, despite the honest fact that I didn’t have the funds to pay for a more expensive travel card at the time. It was the younger me and have learnt my lessons.The offence is classed as minor and does not show up on my DBS extended checks. I was wondering whether I should DEFINITELY declare this on my form? I have declared it in previous applications. How much is having this criminal conviction likely to affect my prospects of being accepted onto the next stage and getting an offer on the whole? How should I justify and prepare myself if asked about it at interview?

    D) I have also been cautioned and fined for drunk and disorderly. How does that affect my career?

    E) I have lived in the UK for a long while and I am currently in the process of attaining my indefinite leave to remain. I have the right to work and study at the UK at this moment, but I have no clue what the final outcome will be. If granted status, I will be a citizen and if not, then I may be subject to deportation. What should I put on my application right now to indicate my current status? Does having this uncertainty affect the firm’s decision to choose me as a suitable applicant? I understand that some firms have to prioritise British residents and those who have the definite right to work and study in the UK.

    F) What work searches do the commercial firms carry out? Do they validate the dates of the places you have worked at only or validate both the dates and content/experiences/tasks you undertook while there? How does the contacting process with previous employees work?

    G) How much impact does your reference have on the selection process? I have always been wary of this part of the process as it is beyond my control what my referees say; what if they are not saying enough or not saying the right things at all? What should I do to reassure myself that I have chosen the right referees and they are putting their best word forward?

    H) The application process always ask whether you have applied to the firm before. I was wondering why is that and does recruitment look at your previous applications alongside your new application? Does your previous applications get deleted off their system?

    I have been committed to the legal field for years now and being a commercial lawyer has been my passion for a while now. I have visited a number of these firms at open days so far. The concerns I have could be the difference between still applying and contemplating a completely new career path because of my personal choices and circumstances. I welcome all your support and recommendations. Thank you.

    Best wishes, Confused Law Graduate
    A) You are reading too much into your experience, but do keep building it up and view everything you do in terms of how it might support your career.

    B) No, it would not be plausible to say your grief extended into a second year. The world of work is far less forgiving, you'd have got 3-6 days off in compassionate leave and then you'd be expected to be back at work at 100% and leave your grief at home.

    C) Answer all questions asked honestly. By itself this is probably not an issue, but combined with D it raises questions.

    D) Again, by itself, this is probably not an issue, depending on the circumstances. Combined with C though, it begins to look as though your judgement is unreliable.

    E) This is a big issue, given you don't have stellar grades or any special jurisdictional talent to offer, this is likely to make you uncompetitive until you have permanent leave to remain.

    F) Thorough ones. Don't lie, extend dates, improve job titles, invent anything.

    G) It doesn't matter, you can't do anything about it at all, except ask the people you hope will give you the best references. But you have no control over anything here, except to always be the best student/employee you can be, because you never know when you will want a reference.

    H) They can keep them for up to 12 months IIRC but thereafter have to delete them if they can't show any further, legitimate use for them, which would be hard to do in a recruiting context. They will probably be looking for desperate repeat attempts in a very short space of time, with minorly tweaked applications, to try and hit the right scores.
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    How did you get a 2.1 if you averaged a 2.2 and a 2.2/3rd in your last two years? I swear the way LSE grades their students is designed to help you get a decent grade. So weird.
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    Hey,
    Thank you very much, really eased some of my concerns. Also just received my IDLR so I'll keep it going!

    Can you clarify what you mean by: "They will probably be looking for desperate repeat attempts in a very short space of time, with minorly tweaked applications, to try and hit the right scores"

    Thanks!
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    (Original post by Lagoonnine)
    Hey,
    Thank you very much, really eased some of my concerns. Also just received my IDLR so I'll keep it going!

    Can you clarify what you mean by: "They will probably be looking for desperate repeat attempts in a very short space of time, with minorly tweaked applications, to try and hit the right scores"

    Thanks!
    They won't appreciate one scrappy application, followed a few weeks or months later by a slightly better one.

    You need to take time to make one strong application, where you have read thoroughly what they say they want and understand it, and deliver what they want to know about in your application, not what you want to say.
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    Many of the magic circle and SC firms like modular consistency. As difficult as it may have been for you, I highly suspect that law firms won't see one death as a mitigating factor flra 3rd in your final year. And telling them that you found certain modules tricky doesn't look good among the other candidates who have 2:1s and firsts. It will only count against you.

    Also, I am confused how you graduated with a 2:1 when you averaged 2:2/ 3rd in the latter years. If you were formally diagnosed with depression, then that may act as mitigating circumstances in your third year. Your academic reference will be contacted to confirm whether your circumstances are as you describe, so don't go making things up.

    Your criminal history may count against you. Obviously rather minor situations but certainly does not look good against the hundreds of squeaky clean candidates.

    Finding a training contract is difficult. And given what you have said, it's going to be even trickier for you. It might be a good idea to paralegal and work your way up from there (can be tricky finding a paralegal role if you haven't done the LPC).
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    (Original post by threeportdrift)
    A) You are reading too much into your experience, but do keep building it up and view everything you do in terms of how it might support your career.

    B) No, it would not be plausible to say your grief extended into a second year. The world of work is far less forgiving, you'd have got 3-6 days off in compassionate leave and then you'd be expected to be back at work at 100% and leave your grief at home.

    C) Answer all questions asked honestly. By itself this is probably not an issue, but combined with D it raises questions.

    D) Again, by itself, this is probably not an issue, depending on the circumstances. Combined with C though, it begins to look as though your judgement is unreliable.

    E) This is a big issue, given you don't have stellar grades or any special jurisdictional talent to offer, this is likely to make you uncompetitive until you have permanent leave to remain.

    F) Thorough ones. Don't lie, extend dates, improve job titles, invent anything.

    G) It doesn't matter, you can't do anything about it at all, except ask the people you hope will give you the best references. But you have no control over anything here, except to always be the best student/employee you can be, because you never know when you will want a reference.

    H) They can keep them for up to 12 months IIRC but thereafter have to delete them if they can't show any further, legitimate use for them, which would be hard to do in a recruiting context. They will probably be looking for desperate repeat attempts in a very short space of time, with minorly tweaked applications, to try and hit the right scores.
    Interesting you mention that recruits keep apps for 12 months, because I've applied to a firm via the apply4law system, and my app from July 2015 is still there...

    Does it only show on my end, or both me and the recruiters?
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    (Original post by tehforum)
    Interesting you mention that recruits keep apps for 12 months, because I've applied to a firm via the apply4law system, and my app from July 2015 is still there...

    Does it only show on my end, or both me and the recruiters?
    No idea, that's entirely system specific, so you'd have to ask the person in charge of that system.

    Generally, you can only hold personal data while you have a reasonable reason to do so. Any recruiter would be very hard pressed to justify keeping someone's application for over a year, especially if they couldn't also shown a record of keep offering you jobs opportunities based on your filed information.
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    Surprised JSP didnt respond. My 10p worth short version

    A) Experience average- bar in mind time taken to acquire and you will be competing against the best.

    B) No to third year. they make allowances but only goes so far. Mystifying how you can get a 2:1 with 2;2 and 2//3 in third year. Wont do you any favours. candidates likely to have solid 2;1 or higher throughout.

    C) Assume you got past the Law society. Agree threeport imperative answer honestly. Do your research and check. Underage ticket if found out would be sign of dishonesty and not go down well. Also sign of failing to exercise judgment. You need to check and research DBS. If actual conviction am not sure whether it shows up. You are LLB so you should have those skills.

    D) Less important than C , but doesnt help. Do the DBS research.

    E) Your current status is whatever it is today, but you can put in you applied for ILR. If you are talented they might let you though. If you arent better than other candidates they wont bother. All employers have to prioritise students from UK and EU. In two years time it will be just UK.

    F) Varies and am not sure they are that thorough depends on the firm. If you get caught lying, then you will probably be dismissed,even if its years later. Not sure why I would have to draw your attention to the fact that professional law firms take the issue of honesty quite seriously.

    G) All firms are different. not so sure if references matter as they can be confirmational and after the event. I doubt theyd bother to read them before interview and then its performance in interviews etc.

    H) Firms vary. Its easier for them to keep electronic records for as long as they have a reason to. They want to see progress in any reapplication.

    JSP can give you a better insight. Imo lots of things makes your application more problematic. You will find it difficult to compete at the top imo and theres nothing outstanding there.
 
 
 
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