Training Contract 2020 Watch

username3011808
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Hi Everyone,

I am proceeding to enter my final year of BA Criminology at Durham University. I decided to embark on a career in law during my second year and as such I applied to a plethora of firms, both MC and US. I managed to secure an interview with Slaughter and May (albeit on a weak CV) but unfortunately didn't advance to the next stage, whereas my other successful application was with Sidley Austin, to whom I applied for a vac scheme but I found out I wasn't eligible yet they offered me an open day placement because of my apparently impressive application haha. For a bit of background, my A-Level grades are A*A A D3 in Spanish, Religious Studies (Philosophy and Ethics), Psychology and History (Pre-U) in that order. My first year grades are 82, 73, 70, 65, 64 and my second year ones are 78, 74, 70, 68, 66. This time around I am thinking of reapplying to Slaughters and Sidley Austin as well as to Shearman & Sterling, Ashurst, Jones Day, Norton Rose Fulbright and Herbert Smith Freehills for now.

In terms of work experience, I don't have anything legal-related unfortunately but I do have two volunteering placements and I am currently working as an event planner as part of a society I'm a member of in Durham. I have also recently been promoted to the position of Social Chair of another society. For the purpose of building up my credibility for the role, I have also started a political/commercial awareness blog. I was wondering if anyone could offer any advice based on the information I provided above e.g. areas of improvement or how to approach each application. I'm looking forward to hearing from anyone!
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a1b2c3d456
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Hi,

Well done on your applications! For somebody with no legal-related experience, it is pretty impressive to be successful with Sidley Austin and to get an interview with Slaughter and May. I graduated with a 2:1 Law LLB with honours this year from a RG uni and have quite a bit of legal work experience, but still didn't manage to get a training contract, but that was partially due to me applying so late (in some cases right before the deadline haha) and my lack of vacation scheme experience.

My advice would be not to make the same mistake as me and apply as soon as places open. Most firms open applications for vacation schemes on 1st of October so be prepared because I think the majority of firms look at the earliest applications to come through first. I would also recommend you do some shadowing at a small, boutique firm. They usually just want your CV and it is not that difficult to get experience at such a firm provided you talk to a lot of them. Just call them up, or better yet, go to them in person. It's what I did. Also, make sure you do a vac scheme; from personal experience it is really difficult to get a TC at a MC or US firm without a vac scheme..most don't even leave many places open to non-vac scheme applicants.

Another area which I think may have failed me is my applications themselves; I suck at them . So, can't offer you advice there; you'd probably need to give me a bit of advice on that yourself because you seem a lot better at it hahaha.

Good Luck
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username3011808
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(Original post by a1b2c3d456)
Hi,

Well done on your applications! For somebody with no legal-related experience, it is pretty impressive to be successful with Sidley Austin and to get an interview with Slaughter and May. I graduated with a 2:1 Law LLB with honours this year from a RG uni and have quite a bit of legal work experience, but still didn't manage to get a training contract, but that was partially due to me applying so late (in some cases right before the deadline haha) and my lack of vacation scheme experience.

My advice would be not to make the same mistake as me and apply as soon as places open. Most firms open applications for vacation schemes on 1st of October so be prepared because I think the majority of firms look at the earliest applications to come through first. I would also recommend you do some shadowing at a small, boutique firm. They usually just want your CV and it is not that difficult to get experience at such a firm provided you talk to a lot of them. Just call them up, or better yet, go to them in person. It's what I did. Also, make sure you do a vac scheme; from personal experience it is really difficult to get a TC at a MC or US firm without a vac scheme..most don't even leave many places open to non-vac scheme applicants.

Another area which I think may have failed me is my applications themselves; I suck at them . So, can't offer you advice there; you'd probably need to give me a bit of advice on that yourself because you seem a lot better at it hahaha.

Good Luck
Hey,

Thanks so much and I apologise for getting back to you this late! Strangely enough, one of the S&M partners that interviewed me told me not to worry if I didn't get a VS place because they have, and I quote, "way more places for training contracts". Might I ask if you have reapplied for this year?
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a1b2c3d456
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(Original post by Dale Cooper)
Hey,

Thanks so much and I apologise for getting back to you this late! Strangely enough, one of the S&M partners that interviewed me told me not to worry if I didn't get a VS place because they have, and I quote, "way more places for training contracts". Might I ask if you have reapplied for this year?
Hmm, I never applied to S&M and am surprised to read that. They are certainly in the minority; most law firms I have researched into make it clear that they take in the bulk of their trainees via vacation schemes.

I am planning to apply to vacation schemes this year, though it is taking longer than I expected since I am working for my dad full-time at the moment. It will be my first time applying to vacation schemes; I certainly should have done this last year, whilst still at uni. Have you started applying to vac schemes?
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username3011808
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(Original post by a1b2c3d456)
Hmm, I never applied to S&M and am surprised to read that. They are certainly in the minority; most law firms I have researched into make it clear that they take in the bulk of their trainees via vacation schemes.

I am planning to apply to vacation schemes this year, though it is taking longer than I expected since I am working for my dad full-time at the moment. It will be my first time applying to vacation schemes; I certainly should have done this last year, whilst still at uni. Have you started applying to vac schemes?
Yeah, so S&M is the only firm I'm applying for a training contract at directly. I have applied only for winter vac schemes as they're exclusive to finalists. The firms I have chosen to apply to and that I am still waiting on are: Sidley Austin, Shearman & Sterling, Squire Patton Boggs, Cleary Gottlieb, and I have been rejected by Jones Day and Ashurst.

Which firms are you thinking of applying to?
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a1b2c3d456
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(Original post by Dale Cooper)
Yeah, so S&M is the only firm I'm applying for a training contract at directly. I have applied only for winter vac schemes as they're exclusive to finalists. The firms I have chosen to apply to and that I am still waiting on are: Sidley Austin, Shearman & Sterling, Squire Patton Boggs, Cleary Gottlieb, and I have been rejected by Jones Day and Ashurst.

Which firms are you thinking of applying to?
There's a bit of overlap between us; I'm planning on applying to Sidley Austin, Shearman & Sterling, Paul Hastings, Reed Smith so far. Possibly White & Case too, but that would definitely be the most competitive and difficult position to get.

Have you already been rejected this year? For vacation schemes? I didn't know they started reviewing them this early.
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username3011808
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(Original post by a1b2c3d456)
There's a bit of overlap between us; I'm planning on applying to Sidley Austin, Shearman & Sterling, Paul Hastings, Reed Smith so far. Possibly White & Case too, but that would definitely be the most competitive and difficult position to get.

Have you already been rejected this year? For vacation schemes? I didn't know they started reviewing them this early.
Yeah by Ashurst and Jones Day. I think they recruit on a rolling basis for winter schemes and training contracts thereafter, which is why I have applied so early. Were you at the Sidley Austin Open Day in June this year?
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a1b2c3d456
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(Original post by Dale Cooper)
Yeah by Ashurst and Jones Day. I think they recruit on a rolling basis for winter schemes and training contracts thereafter, which is why I have applied so early. Were you at the Sidley Austin Open Day in June this year?
No, I wasn't; I thought Sidley Austin Open Day is only available to first years, or at least students only. How are your applications going; I'm currently sending off Open Day applications because I want to get to know the firms better before doing my vacation scheme applications.
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username3011808
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(Original post by a1b2c3d456)
No, I wasn't; I thought Sidley Austin Open Day is only available to first years, or at least students only. How are your applications going; I'm currently sending off Open Day applications because I want to get to know the firms better before doing my vacation scheme applications.
You're right, they are technically for first years, but I applied for a vac scheme during my second year and I wasn't eligible then. But, they were impressed by my application and so they wanted to meet me; as such they offered me an Open Day invitation.

Apps are not too bad atm, I haven't heard anything since my Ashurst rejection which was over a month ago, so hopefully this is a good sign. Most recently, I've applied to Slaughters and they say they are currently considering my application.

How about you?
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a1b2c3d456
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(Original post by Dale Cooper)
You're right, they are technically for first years, but I applied for a vac scheme during my second year and I wasn't eligible then. But, they were impressed by my application and so they wanted to meet me; as such they offered me an Open Day invitation.

Apps are not too bad atm, I haven't heard anything since my Ashurst rejection which was over a month ago, so hopefully this is a good sign. Most recently, I've applied to Slaughters and they say they are currently considering my application.

How about you?
I've been so busy with work, I'm neglecting applications; the only thing I've sent so far is an Open Day application to Shearman and Sterling.

I am wondering whether to send Open Day applications and go to them first, or send Vacation Scheme applications now. The issue being, I don't want to leave the Vacation Scheme applications late, but at the same time, I want to include as much Open Day experience as possible in my applications for Vac Schemes.
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username3011808
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(Original post by a1b2c3d456)
I've been so busy with work, I'm neglecting applications; the only thing I've sent so far is an Open Day application to Shearman and Sterling.

I am wondering whether to send Open Day applications and go to them first, or send Vacation Scheme applications now. The issue being, I don't want to leave the Vacation Scheme applications late, but at the same time, I want to include as much Open Day experience as possible in my applications for Vac Schemes.
Maybe try striking a balance between the two?
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The Lawyer Portal
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Hi Dale!

I saw you were enquiring about some tips on training contract applications - we actually have loads of free guides covering every stage of the application process that could help you, including case studies with Herbert Smith Freehills, which I know you applied to.

Here's a couple that might help:
- Herbert Smith Freehills: Training Contract - an interview with the recruitment manager at Herbert Smith, including what they look for in their trainees
- Herbert Smith Freehills: Trainees - two trainees go into more detail about doing a training contract with this law firm
- Training Contract Applications - some top tips
- Training Contract Interviews - some interview tips

We have a lot of other case studies from other law firms as well which you might want to look at - all state what sort of candidate they like to see, so it could be very useful.

Hope this helps!

The Lawyer Portal
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a1b2c3d456
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(Original post by Dale Cooper)
Maybe try striking a balance between the two?
Yeah, I'm going to start applying as much as possible this week. I've decided to focus on Open Days for now. Honestly, doing such applications whislt at university is far, far easier than when you're actually working in the real world.:argh:
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username3011808
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(Original post by a1b2c3d456)
Yeah, I'm going to start applying as much as possible this week. I've decided to focus on Open Days for now. Honestly, doing such applications whislt at university is far, far easier than when you're actually working in the real world.:argh:
Yeah I agree, but it is still frustrating having to juggle between university work and applications. I just hope I get something worth sweating for by the Christmas holiday.
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awb17
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Does anyone know if the DLA tests are within the application online or after?

Thanks!
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a1b2c3d456
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(Original post by awb17)
Does anyone know if the DLA tests are within the application online or after?

Thanks!
I didn't apply to DLA Piper. Which other winter vac schemes did you apply to; I only sent Simmons and Simmons and Shearman and Sterling last minute.
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greenandblue345
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Has anyone applied to Herbert Smith Freehills? Found out that I passed the verbal reasoning test about two weeks ago but haven't heard anything since. Thanks.
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greenlettuce
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Hi, I was just wondering whether you did any prep for the Herbert Smith Freehills verbal reasoning test? Was it law related text as well please? Any help would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!
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J-SP
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(Original post by greenlettuce)
Hi, I was just wondering whether you did any prep for the Herbert Smith Freehills verbal reasoning test? Was it law related text as well please? Any help would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!
Highly unlikely to be law related text. Verbal reasoning tests tend to be fairly generic topics that vast majority of people can understand so you dont really need previous knowledge.
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a1b2c3d456
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Has anyone done the cover letter for White & Case Vac Scheme? What should I include in it?
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