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    (Original post by Golden436)
    Can anyone please clarify the difference between "non-law students and graduates" and "law students" ?

    Is the latter LLB students and the former GDL? What's the difference between "non-law student" and "non-law graduates"? Are there applicants who take time off between their GDL and LPC to apply for a TC, and are therefore categorized as "non-law graduates"?

    If I enroll in the GDL, would I be considered a "non-law student" or a "law student" (given my JD qualifications)?

    I simply ask as some firms list different TC application deadlines for each category.
    There isn't a straight answer on this. Vast majority of firms will consider you a non lawyer if you have to do the GDL.

    However I worked for one firm where they would have considered you a law graduate based on your qualifications.

    Some other firms have other quirks though that mean it isn't a standardised policy.


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    (Original post by J-SP)
    Ok that's even worse - why would a firm put you through what is close to £45k worth of training (fees + maintenance fees) when they can just ask you to go through the QLTS which will be far cheaper and quicker!?!

    The "legal assistant" role is a TC - it is just for those who can't technically be called a trainee where they are qualified in another jurisdiction.

    Your 2.2 will be as much as a blocker for a TC as it will be for a "legal assistant" role. If your grades suck, they will still suck when you come round to applying. Few firms will be interested as 1) you have poor grades and they will typically look for a 2.1 (GPA is usually around the 3.3-3.4 mark), 2) it will be more difficult for them to prove they could have recruited someone of the same standard as you from within the UK/EU if your grades suck (your words not mine), and if they have on any of their marketing materials that you need a strong academic background (pretty much any firm that can sponsor you for a Tier 2 visa will say that).

    The GDL and LPC will not prove your academic ability - most firms sponsoring a work permit will want to see strong grades throughout, and are more likely to focus on your undergrad and JD grades than the GDL/LPC. Plus you are suggesting the firm would sponsor you before you had done either course, so they would only be able to go on your previous qualifications.

    Of course BPP will sign you up - the course could be redundant in less than 6 months time and they need to try and ensure they are getting enough money coming in while they can.
    Well, there is only one way to find out, isn't there? No harm in applying. I highly doubt there will be UK/EU nationals also applying for TCs with NY and CA bar memberships. At least those are my goals come this year - I sit in July 2017 and February 2018, respectively. I'll be sure to update this thread to help other American JDs considering similar career options.

    Additionally, despite my poor JD grades, there are many who obtain TCs with just undergraduate grades. Of course, most firms require 2:1 undergrad degrees and a GDL with either a pass or commendation. If I can offset my JD grades with that of my GDL, I believe I stand a fair chance. My undergraduate GPA is a solid 2:1, separate from my 6 years work experience pre-law school, vacation schemes throughout law school, and what will be 2 years post-grad experience leading up to GDL or LLM.

    And of course, there is always the importance of networking. I've worked with several UK trainee solicitors during their secondments in the New York office, and note that one New York associate is now a partner in the London office of a MC firm. I'll be sure to reach out to him with queries.

    Thank you for your insight.
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    (Original post by J-SP)
    There isn't a straight answer on this. Vast majority of firms will consider you a non lawyer if you have to do the GDL.
    I figured that much but wanted to confirm.


    (Original post by J-SP)
    However I worked for one firm where they would have considered you a law graduate based on your qualifications.


    Some other firms have other quirks though that mean it isn't a standardised policy.
    Anecdotes are just that...anecdotes.

    I look forward to exploring the quirks of the UK legal market.
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    (Original post by Golden436)
    Well, there is only one way to find out, isn't there? No harm in applying. I highly doubt there will be UK/EU nationals also applying for TCs with NY and CA bar memberships. At least those are my goals come this year - I sit in July 2017 and February 2018, respectively. I'll be sure to update this thread to help other American JDs considering similar career options.

    Additionally, despite my poor JD grades, there are many who obtain TCs with just undergraduate grades. Of course, most firms require 2:1 undergrad degrees and a GDL with either a pass or commendation. If I can offset my JD grades with that of my GDL, I believe I stand a fair chance. My undergraduate GPA is a solid 2:1, separate from my 6 years work experience pre-law school, vacation schemes throughout law school, and what will be 2 years post-grad experience leading up to GDL or LLM.

    And of course, there is always the importance of networking. I've worked with several UK trainee solicitors during their secondments in the New York office, and note that one New York associate is now a partner in the London office of a MC firm. I'll be sure to reach out to him with queries.

    Thank you for your insight.
    There's no harm - but I'm just trying to manage your expectations having seen these processes from the inside.

    Low academics + needing a work permit will make the process far more difficult. Unless firms advertise that they are looking for dual qualified lawyers, the NYB will not balance out a poor performance in your JD, particularly from a work permit perspective.

    The undergrads are not just applying with their grades - they are applying with a while CV/application form. I wouldn't under estimate how strong those applications are.

    Firms don't get that caught up in GDL/LPC grades. Some ask for a commendation as a minimum but many don't really put weight on them and will look at your degree results far more closely.



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    (Original post by Golden436)
    I figured that much but wanted to confirm.




    Anecdotes are just that...anecdotes.

    I look forward to exploring the quirks of the UK legal market.
    I'm trying to help you, there's no reason to be all curt of a sudden. I know these systems well, so although they might be anecdotes, they are those where I've recruited enough people across enough firms to know the challenges of recruiting someone with the type of background you are suggesting.


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    I wouldn't be so quick to dismiss what JSP has said. He's worked in legal recruitment and has direct experience of the market you are trying to enter.

    I think you're seriously underestimating the challenges you face in obtaining a TC. I wonder whether or not you have adequately researched the competition and looked at statistics. Good grades on the GDL and LPC will not offset a 2:2. Firms aren't overly concerned what performance on these courses are like, as long as you pass. The undergraduate degree is another matter and many firms stipulate 2:1s as a minimum. And realistically one of the only ways I can see a 2:2 be offset is through compelling mitigating circumstances, such as chronic illness. A good postgrad and extensive experience (perhaps a few years paralegalling etc) might make up for your below average grades.

    Also, I suspect you may struggle to get on an LLM at LSE and UCL.
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    (Original post by J-SP)
    There's no harm - but I'm just trying to manage your expectations having seen these processes from the inside.

    Low academics + needing a work permit will make the process far more difficult. Unless firms advertise that they are looking for dual qualified lawyers, the NYB will not balance out a poor performance in your JD, particularly from a work permit perspective.

    The undergrads are not just applying with their grades - they are applying with a while CV/application form. I wouldn't under estimate how strong those applications are.

    Firms don't get that caught up in GDL/LPC grades. Some ask for a commendation as a minimum but many don't really put weight on them and will look at your degree results far more closely.



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    If firms don't get that caught up in GDL grades then why is this board populated with GDL law students freaking out because they failed modules or did not obtain commendation?

    At the end of the day GDL grades are what separate the pack amongst non-law graduates, and I base this from perusing the sites and sales pitch of UK law firms. Most everyone would have obtained 2:1s and firsts in their undergraduate (myself included), but I figure law firms use GDL as a metric to determine who stays and who goes.

    I understand I would likely have the most success of landing a TC via an American-based law firm. If that fails, well, then, there is always the LLM.

    Then, of course, there is work experience. I am not trying to turn my nose up on those GDL applicants without NY/CA bar passage, but separate from my work experiences, this will likely be one differentiation that may work in my favor. That, and an Ivy law degree. Yes, I said it. Hiring committees see "Yale" or "Harvard" and you immediately command attention. I wiggled my way into interviews on the sole basis of the pedigree of where I obtained my law degree.

    Last point, I promise: the opportunities I have on my resume with my 2.8/2:2 are experiences many would be surprised I obtained. We always here about the importance of grades and rank, but forget the importance of simple people skills, networking, and recommendations. The latter has gotten me this far, and I'm not going to count myself out on the basis of my grades alone. The worse that can happen is a rejection mail or email saying "thanks, but no thanks". Their loss, and move on we must.

    That's been my approach to life, and it will continue to be my approach while I navigate the legal market on your shores.
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    (Original post by J-SP)
    I'm trying to help you, there's no reason to be all curt of a sudden. I know these systems well, so although they might be anecdotes, they are those where I've recruited enough people across enough firms to know the challenges of recruiting someone with the type of background you are suggesting.
    I apologize for being "cheeky" (is this the correct phrase? Please forgive this "Yank" if it is not), and understand you're trying to be helpful, and, indeed, you've been of great help!

    I'll give it a go, and see where I fall. I will apply to both LLM and TCs/Legal Assistant roles, and see where it goes.
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    (Original post by Golden436)
    If firms don't get that caught up in GDL grades then why is this board populated with GDL law students freaking out because they failed modules or did not obtain commendation?

    At the end of the day GDL grades are what separate the pack amongst non-law graduates, and I base this from perusing the sites and sales pitch of UK law firms. Most everyone would have obtained 2:1s and firsts in their undergraduate (myself included), but I figure law firms use GDL as a metric to determine who stays and who goes.

    I understand I would likely have the most success of landing a TC via an American-based law firm. If that fails, well, then, there is always the LLM.

    Then, of course, there is work experience. I am not trying to turn my nose up on those GDL applicants without NY/CA bar passage, but separate from my work experiences, this will likely be one differentiation that may work in my favor. That, and an Ivy law degree. Yes, I said it. Hiring committees see "Yale" or "Harvard" and you immediately command attention. I wiggled my way into interviews on the sole basis of the pedigree of where I obtained my law degree.

    Last point, I promise: the opportunities I have on my resume with my 2.8/2:2 are experiences many would be surprised I obtained. We always here about the importance of grades and rank, but forget the importance of simple people skills, networking, and recommendations. The latter has gotten me this far, and I'm not going to count myself out on the basis of my grades alone. The worse that can happen is a rejection mail or email saying "thanks, but no thanks". Their loss, and move on we must.

    That's been my approach to life, and it will continue to be my approach while I navigate the legal market on your shores.
    Vast majority of TC holders for the firms you are aiming for are recruited before they have started the GDL - it's why the grades don't really mean much. So the GDL grades don't separate the non-law grads from the law grads, because most people don't have them!

    Plus as I said the GDL might not exist much longer, so it's relevance is only going to be on a decline.

    I think if it was me, I'd do the LLM, get good grades to try and balance out the JD concerns and then take the QLTS (if it still existed). The LLM grades will be looked at with far more interest than the GDL (which is basically just a tick boxing exercise from a regulation perspective).

    That or I would qualify in the US, continue to work and then try and get an internal transfer to the UK.

    Recommendations won't help with work permit processes, especially if you don't meet advertised minimum criteria.


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    (Original post by Golden436)
    If firms don't get that caught up in GDL grades then why is this board populated with GDL law students freaking out because they failed modules or did not obtain commendation?
    Students need to pass all GDL modules in order to even qualify as a solicitor. This is required by the SRA. Some firms want commendations but this rare, and generally a commendation on the GDL is fairly easy to obtain.

    (Original post by Golden436)
    At the end of the day GDL grades are what separate the pack amongst non-law graduates, and I base this from perusing the sites and sales pitch of UK law firms. Most everyone would have obtained 2:1s and firsts in their undergraduate (myself included), but I figure law firms use GDL as a metric to determine who stays and who goes.
    Many students who obtain training contracts do so in their penultinate year or final year of the undergrad degree (whether that's law or non-law). So the GDL is not used to separate candidates.

    (Original post by Golden436)
    That, and an Ivy law degree. Yes, I said it. Hiring committees see "Yale" or "Harvard" and you immediately command attention. I wiggled my way into interviews on the sole basis of the pedigree of where I obtained my law degree.
    Firms in London recruit from a variety of universities. A 2:2 from Oxford or Cambridge doesn't meet the minimum requirements and those applicants are not given special treatment because of their university. They are unlikely to even reach the interview stage. So I'm not sure why you think a 2:2 from an Ivy League would be seen favourably. The system here is different, and firms won't give you special treatment just because you are an Ivy League grad. Firms are less impressed by your alma matter and more focussed on your grade (and other things outside of that). Although getting a 2:1 or first from Oxbridge certainly helps.

    (Original post by Golden436)
    We always here about the importance of grades and rank, but forget the importance of simple people skills, networking, and recommendations. The latter has gotten me this far, and I'm not going to count myself out on the basis of my grades alone.
    Almost every student applying for a TC realises that grades are merely a prequisite. It's not the decisive factor. Firms hammer on to students throughout law school how they need extra-curriculars, commercial awareness and social skills. So you are certainly not unique in your thinking. Most students are very aware of the non-academic requirements and skills which firms look for.
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    (Original post by Bubblyminty)
    Students need to pass all GDL modules in order to even qualify as a solicitor. This is required by the SRA. Some firms want commendations but this rare, and generally a commendation on the GDL is fairly easy to obtain.
    From what I can tell on this forum and on many websites of law firms, a requisite of GDL commendation is far from rare. I think I will go ahead and take the advice of those doing the hiring.


    (Original post by Bubblyminty)
    Many students who obtain training contracts do so in their penultinate year or final year of the undergrad degree (whether that's law or non-law). So the GDL is not used to separate candidates.
    Keyword: Many. Not most, not all.

    And then there are those who would have already graduated from non-law programs, who, after several years of real world experience are seeking to obtain a GDL. I fall in this category, and not in the category of young people coming fresh out of an LLB or undergraduate program.

    And once again, I note that to MAINTAIN a TC offer, firms request either a GDL pass or commendation. It is not a shoe in until successful completion of the GDL. Some firms explictly state offers will be revoked if certain requirements are not met under the GDL.

    (Original post by Bubblyminty)
    Firms in London recruit from a variety of universities. A 2:2 from Oxford or Cambridge doesn't meet the minimum requirements and those applicants are not given special treatment because of their university. They are unlikely to even reach the interview stage. So I'm not sure why you think a 2:2 from an Ivy League would be seen favourably. The system here is different, and firms won't give you special treatment just because you are an Ivy League grad. Firms are less impressed by your alma matter and more focussed on your grade (and other things outside of that). Although getting a 2:1 or first from Oxbridge certainly helps.
    I will be applying with a 2:1 undergrad and a 2:2 postgrad. I believe you are comparing apples to oranges.

    (Original post by Bubblyminty)
    Most students are very aware of the non-academic requirements and skills which firms look for.
    As am I, seeing that I have the experience of working at the likes of Sullivan & Cromwell and Goldman Sachs.
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    (Original post by Golden436)
    From what I can tell on this forum and on many websites of law firms, a requisite of GDL commendation is far from rare. I think I will go ahead and take the advice of those doing the hiring.




    Keyword: Many. Not most, not all.

    And then there are those who would have already graduated from non-law programs, who, after several years of real world experience are seeking to obtain a GDL. I fall in this category, and not in the category of young people coming fresh out of an LLB or undergraduate program.

    And once again, I note that to MAINTAIN a TC offer, firms request either a GDL pass or commendation. It is not a shoe in until successful completion of the GDL. Some firms explictly state offers will be revoked if certain requirements are not met under the GDL.



    I will be applying with a 2:1 undergrad and a 2:2 postgrad. I believe you are comparing apples to oranges.



    As am I, seeing that I have the experience of working at the likes of Sullivan & Cromwell and Goldman Sachs.
    Ok...

    Most non-law TC holders do get their offer before they have started or completed the GDL so they won't have grades! It's one of the side effects of recruiting 2-3 years in advance. Especially at the firms you are looking at.

    A requirement to get a commendation in the GDL is pretty rare. The reason is in part that not all their trainees have to complete the course, therefore setting expectations for it can be more tricky. A commendation or above in the LPC is more common, but most firms just have a "don't fail a module and you will be ok approach" even for that course. Some even allow their trainees to resit though....

    Yes - there are the experienced candidates like you. Most haven't completed the GDL when they apply though, as like you previously suggested they want to get the sponsorship of the course before they commit to it.

    Your experience may work against you. If you have so much of it, there could be a question as to why now an entry level role in the U.K. when you could qualify in the US, gain qualified experience in that time and be ahead comparatively compared to if you went through the GDL + LPC + training contract. There could be questions of whether you will get bored with the mundane aspects of being a trainee. There may also be the question of your commitment to the UK to at least the medium term if you have little/no experience here.

    I get that a lot of what I and others are saying is not what you want to hear but i truly want to explain things. I see foreign qualified lawyers come to the UK all the time, even at top universities, assuming their LLM will make them employable in the U.K. Many have interesting experiences like yourself and significant work experience, but when speaking to them you find out quite quickly that there is something that means getting a TC or qualified lawyer role won't be as straight forward as they would have hoped.






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    At its core, I guess you are an overseas candidate applying for a TC with the equivalent of a 2:1 at undergrad and equivalent of 2:2 on your JD, and a decent chunk of work experience.

    A lot of the larger city firms do seem to recruit a reasonable number of overseas grads so I guess you might be in with a chance. I suppose your grades might not be well understood by partners at UK firms who are more used to dealing with UK grading systems.

    It also perhaps depends on the type of firm you go for. The largest city/commercial firms tend to recruit pre-LPC and often pre-GDL. Smaller firms often recruit from people actually doing the GDL/LPC, BPP actually has a pretty good careers service, but that sort of firm may be less willing to fund a visa.

    A lot of the MC firms and similar firms tell you that they "expect" their trainees to get a commendation on the GDL and LPC, but would only actually require a pass. However if you failed any particular module your TC offer might get revoked. Or at least that is how it was a few years ago when I did my LPC, it might have changed. And of course getting a commendation would be important if you begun the GDL without securing a TC beforehand.

    Purely out of interest, what is motivating you to come to the UK rather than staying in the US?
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    (Original post by habeas.corpus)
    The undergraduate degree is another matter and many firms stipulate 2:1s as a minimum. And realistically one of the only ways I can see a 2:2 be offset is through compelling mitigating circumstances, such as chronic illness. A good postgrad and extensive experience (perhaps a few years paralegalling etc) might make up for your below average grades.
    By the time I apply to both LLM and GDL programs I would have had 6 years paralegalling pre-JD (at a large firm and bank). During the 3 years of my JD program I spent two summers at a firm and then in-house company, and a semester (4 months) at a US government agency.

    I will also then have about 2 years PQE at a firm or fellowship. I have also met the 2:1 minimum in undergraduate.


    (Original post by habeas.corpus)
    Also, I suspect you may struggle to get on an LLM at LSE and UCL.
    Only one way to find out, and that is by applying.
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    (Original post by J-SP)
    I see foreign qualified lawyers come to the UK all the time, even at top universities, assuming their LLM will make them employable in the U.K. Many have interesting experiences like yourself and significant work experience, but when speaking to them you find out quite quickly that there is something that means getting a TC or qualified lawyer role won't be as straight forward as they would have hoped.
    No where in this thread have I insinuated that an LLM would make me employable, so I'm not quite sure why you're harping about foreign qualified lawyers who assume an LLM will make them employable. I specifically asked, and I quote:

    "What are my chances of acceptance to KCL, UCL or QMUL for the LLM? I wish to take my LLM to practice in an overseas jurisdiction, and not necessarily the UK."

    You in fact never addressed that query, instead choosing to focus on my plans to pursue QLTS qualifications.

    From there, our entire debate centered on whether it made sense to pursue the GDL/LPC route and the likelihood of securing a TC in the UK IF, in fact, I chose that route.

    As it stands, I have several options in front of me, none of which would cost me more than time and energy in sending out applications to see where I fall. A lot can also happen within the next 2-3 years before I apply.
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    Take a chill pill bro. If you want to enter law, you'll have to get used to criticism. Often excessive criticism and often very passive-aggressive. Even in transactional areas. Comes with the territory I'm afraid.
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    (Original post by jacketpotato)
    At its core, I guess you are an overseas candidate applying for a TC with the equivalent of a 2:1 at undergrad and equivalent of 2:2 on your JD, and a decent chunk of work experience.

    A lot of the larger city firms do seem to recruit a reasonable number of overseas grads so I guess you might be in with a chance. I suppose your grades might not be well understood by partners at UK firms who are more used to dealing with UK grading systems.

    It also perhaps depends on the type of firm you go for. The largest city/commercial firms tend to recruit pre-LPC and often pre-GDL. Smaller firms often recruit from people actually doing the GDL/LPC, BPP actually has a pretty good careers service, but that sort of firm may be less willing to fund a visa.
    Thank you for your insight. I have just obtained a 1900+ page document which provides a list of sponsors on Register Licensed under Tiers 2 and 5 of the visa points-based system. A quick look of the list of organisations helped me realize that quite a number of UK law firms do in fact sponsor Tier 2 visas.

    I also have a list of firms to avoid (such as Irwin Mitchell, Freeths, Freshfields, Shoosmiths), etc.



    (Original post by jacketpotato)
    And of course getting a commendation would be important if you begun the GDL without securing a TC beforehand.
    Yes, indeed. Will definitely take this into consideration if I go the GDL route without sponsorship.


    (Original post by jacketpotato)
    Purely out of interest, what is motivating you to come to the UK rather than staying in the US?
    I'm not an American by birth. I migrated to the USA from a formerly colonized British territory, but I've always wanted to return to my home country.

    Almost all lucrative legal positions of power in my home country require some type of UK legal education. Those with such positions either obtained UK GDLs, LLBs, LPC/BPTCs or LLMs. And while many offshore firms heavily recruit British lawyers, they also recruit locals from the Caribbean region where they practice. Almost all of those locals also obtained an education that is recognized by the UK, coupled with local experience.

    I have no intentions of practicing in the USA forever. I need UK qualifications, and at the very least a UK legal education to enter the region I wish to practice in long-term.
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    (Original post by Golden436)
    No where in this thread have I insinuated that an LLM would make me employable, so I'm not quite sure why you're harping about foreign qualified lawyers who assume an LLM will make them employable. I specifically asked, and I quote:

    "What are my chances of acceptance to KCL, UCL or QMUL for the LLM? I wish to take my LLM to practice in an overseas jurisdiction, and not necessarily the UK."

    You in fact never addressed that query, instead choosing to focus on my plans to pursue QLTS qualifications.

    From there, our entire debate centered on whether it made sense to pursue the GDL/LPC route and the likelihood of securing a TC in the UK IF, in fact, I chose that route.

    As it stands, I have several options in front of me, none of which would cost me more than time and energy in sending out applications to see where I fall. A lot can also happen within the next 2-3 years before I apply.
    I really wasn't aware that I should be ignoring your subsequent posts that have also been "harping on" about these topics, especially when you were asking questions about the GDL too.





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    (Original post by Golden436)
    Thank you for your insight. I have just obtained a 1900+ page document which provides a list of sponsors on Register Licensed under Tiers 2 and 5 of the visa points-based system. A quick look of the list of organisations helped me realize that quite a number of UK law firms do in fact sponsor Tier 2 visas.

    I also have a list of firms to avoid (such as Irwin Mitchell, Freeths, Freshfields, Shoosmiths), etc.
    That document will not give you an indication of which firms will be able to sponsor you for a work permit for a TC or NQ role. Many firms will have the licence so they can hire much more senior lawyers or even technical/specialised non-legal staff - they just won't be able to apply it to their trainees as the recruitment process, pay or job description means it won't meet the tier 2 minimum criteria.

    It will only be able to tell you who you can avoid if they are not included.





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    (Original post by J-SP)
    That document will not give you an indication of which firms will be able to sponsor you for a work permit for a TC or NQ role. Many firms will have the licence so they can hire much more senior lawyers or even technical/specialised non-legal staff - they just won't be able to apply it to their trainees as the recruitment process, pay or job description means it won't meet the tier 2 minimum criteria.

    It will only be able to tell you who you can avoid if they are not included.
    I've utilized a portion of my day to contact a handful of firms on that list, all of which have indicated contrary to what you suggest: they can and DO sponsor international applicants for their training contracts.

    That's all I needed to hear.

    Thanks again.
 
 
 
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