Law Training Contract Commencing 2019- PERSONAL WORRIES- HELP

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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. 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 mistake and I honestly didn’t have the funds to pay for a travel card. It was the younger me and have learnt my lessons and hope that it is not taken as a reflection on my character. 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. My details I believe are on the police’s system. 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?

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 is 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.

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