Training contract no-hoper? Watch

UncertainGrad
Badges: 1
Rep:
?
#1
Report Thread starter 8 months ago
#1
Hello to all on the TSR. Have been meaning to ask some questions on this forum for some time, so here goes.

Now I know these threads are ten a penny, and most are frankly bored of seeing them at this point. However, I would be extremely grateful if anybody could bear with me and speak frankly their feelings on my situation, i.e. my chances of a training contract at a City firm (I live in London).

I am aware that achieving a TC requires strong academics, strong extracurriculars and great, consistent work experience. Unfortunately the meat of my CV, in my honest opinion, cannot be described as anything other than laughable from the perspective of a big law firm. Does anybody agree? Am I doomed? My credentials are as follows:

I am a 23 year old Law undergrad, soon to graduate from The University of Liverpool with a low first class degree. My A-levels are ABB, and I have 1A* (english lit) 4A, 3B (one in maths) and 3C at GCSE. I am aware these are unspectacular academics. Surely most wish to turn back the clock and achieve greater things, but such is life.

I have 2 weeks' work experience from 2010 at CMS Cameron McKenna. I also have 2 weeks' work experience from a local high street practise Aletta Shaw Solicitors, this from 2016. Surely this is grossly insufficient?

I have maintained a job at my local McDonald's for just over 6 years, as a 'Customer Care Assistant' but working essentially everywhere in the store, ranging from chips to drive thu. I gather this is next to useless for a TC application?

Regrettably due to a horrendous time at university, I have no extracurriculars. Nothing. I will say however that from 2014-17 many, many things went horribly wrong for me resulting in an extended breakdown of sorts. While I regret my lack of volunteering and extracurrics, it was hardly likely I was able to get any done during this time. To rectify this, I start at FRU next week and Citizens Advice in April latest.

So in light of this info, what do you think? Vacation schemes are surely out of the question- next cycle is October 2018 - Jan 2019, and I will have graduated by then. Is it worth me applying for a TC now until summer deadline just to try my luck? The problem is I have bugger all to talk about when it comes to competency questions. I am rather reluctant to self fund an LPC beginning in September as I see myself as a no-hoper for a TC.


1. So am I screwed for TCs as things are? Or is there a glimmer of hope?

2. Do I start my LPC self funded later this year, and try to get extracurrics/volunteering/work experience around it? Is it even possible to balance these?

3. Is paralegalling an avenue I should consider, or is it simply a low paid trap?

4. Are vacation schemes totally out of the question for me now as a (soon to be) graduate?

5. What should I do this summer to enhance my CV before I (possibly) take the plunge and self fund LPC?


Thank you for reading- any advice is greatly appreciated.
0
quote
reply
Albcat28
Badges: 5
Rep:
?
#2
Report 8 months ago
#2
(Original post by UncertainGrad)
Hello to all on the TSR. Have been meaning to ask some questions on this forum for some time, so here goes.

Now I know these threads are ten a penny, and most are frankly bored of seeing them at this point. However, I would be extremely grateful if anybody could bear with me and speak frankly their feelings on my situation, i.e. my chances of a training contract at a City firm (I live in London).

I am aware that achieving a TC requires strong academics, strong extracurriculars and great, consistent work experience. Unfortunately the meat of my CV, in my honest opinion, cannot be described as anything other than laughable from the perspective of a big law firm. Does anybody agree? Am I doomed? My credentials are as follows:

I am a 23 year old Law undergrad, soon to graduate from The University of Liverpool with a low first class degree. My A-levels are ABB, and I have 1A* (english lit) 4A, 3B (one in maths) and 3C at GCSE. I am aware these are unspectacular academics. Surely most wish to turn back the clock and achieve greater things, but such is life.

I have 2 weeks' work experience from 2010 at CMS Cameron McKenna. I also have 2 weeks' work experience from a local high street practise Aletta Shaw Solicitors, this from 2016. Surely this is grossly insufficient?

I have maintained a job at my local McDonald's for just over 6 years, as a 'Customer Care Assistant' but working essentially everywhere in the store, ranging from chips to drive thu. I gather this is next to useless for a TC application?

Regrettably due to a horrendous time at university, I have no extracurriculars. Nothing. I will say however that from 2014-17 many, many things went horribly wrong for me resulting in an extended breakdown of sorts. While I regret my lack of volunteering and extracurrics, it was hardly likely I was able to get any done during this time. To rectify this, I start at FRU next week and Citizens Advice in April latest.

So in light of this info, what do you think? Vacation schemes are surely out of the question- next cycle is October 2018 - Jan 2019, and I will have graduated by then. Is it worth me applying for a TC now until summer deadline just to try my luck? The problem is I have bugger all to talk about when it comes to competency questions. I am rather reluctant to self fund an LPC beginning in September as I see myself as a no-hoper for a TC.


1. So am I screwed for TCs as things are? Or is there a glimmer of hope?

2. Do I start my LPC self funded later this year, and try to get extracurrics/volunteering/work experience around it? Is it even possible to balance these?

3. Is paralegalling an avenue I should consider, or is it simply a low paid trap?

4. Are vacation schemes totally out of the question for me now as a (soon to be) graduate?

5. What should I do this summer to enhance my CV before I (possibly) take the plunge and self fund LPC?


Thank you for reading- any advice is greatly appreciated.
The first thing that’s jumps out for me is your 6 years at McDonalds which you seem to be dismissing.Many would turn their noses up , but the fact you have stuck at a job for 6 years , at a firm you obviously had no intentions of making a career with , speaks volumes about your work ethic . Do not dismiss it , I am sure you have picked up many customer related skills along the way and it’s a company everyone has heard of , capitalise on it ..
Try not to self - fund the LPC . Paralegal work may be tough because of a lack of the LPC , but you could try and find general admin work in a law firm to start off with . My relative did that , After the GDL , then was taken on as a paralegal ( they are now an associate in the MC ) , again this shows motivation and a strong work ethic .
Others will come along to advise you , more qualified and experienced than me , but I’m sure you will be fine
Good luck
1
quote
reply
dan.ashley
Badges: 5
Rep:
?
#3
Report 8 months ago
#3
Hi,
I am also about to graduate from Edge Hill University. I too am looking into training contracts but I am also doubting myself. I think if you are applying you need to focus on the fact that you've had a job for so long. The skills you will have learnt in that job will be transferable to any law firm - communication skills, time keeping, organisation etc. We have been told at uni that it is a good idea to get into a firm as a paralegal then you've got your foot in the door because apparently it's easier to get a training contract if your applying internally. I agree with this to some extent but I also worry that the firm may then not allow you to progress so this is something you have to think about I guess. I was going to self fund my LPC but I think it's too uncertain and scary to pay so much money for a course when you have no guarantee of getting a TC after it.
Maybe try and get some more work experience in the legal sector. I appreciate you don't have any extra curriculars but if you can demonstrate your commitment to the legal sector by your work experience this may go in your favour.
You can always apply for vacation schemes anyway, try to target high street firms you may have more luck. These are the type of firms that I am targeting at the moment because unlike you I have quite low A level grades.
Hope this has been somewhat helpful. If you want to chat about this further, feel free to drop me a message.

Good luck!
Posted on the TSR App. Download from Apple or Google Play
1
quote
reply
jacketpotato
Badges: 20
Rep:
?
#4
Report 8 months ago
#4
I don't see why you couldn't get a reasonable TC. After all you do have a first class degree from a good uni.

Obviously you'd need to write good applications which clearly demonstrate that you've done your homework, want to work for the particular firm you are applying for, and are able to prepare a clear piece of written English without spelling or grammatical mistakes. And perform well at interview.

People often underestimate the importance of this stuff - TC applications are not just a matter of reeling off grades and achievements.
1
quote
reply
UncertainGrad
Badges: 1
Rep:
?
#5
Report Thread starter 8 months ago
#5
Thanks a load for the amazing advice guys! Interesting to hear other people's situations, appreciate your comments.
0
quote
reply
UncertainGrad
Badges: 1
Rep:
?
#6
Report Thread starter 8 months ago
#6
I think I will lean on my Maccies experience then. Over 6 years is a long time after all! Just feels silly banging on about a job at McDonald's to these formidable lawyers. Will try to grab as much extracurricular and high street work experience as I can this year then. Feel awful that I don't have more to be frank.
0
quote
reply
LeapingLucy
  • Community Assistant
Badges: 19
Rep:
?
#7
Report 8 months ago
#7
J-SP


Might be able to help?
1
quote
reply
J-SP
Badges: 17
Rep:
?
#8
Report 8 months ago
#8
(Original post by LeapingLucy)
J-SP


Might be able to help?
They need to work on their confidence and self-belief if anything.

The only issue I read when reading the profile was how negative they were about themselves.
Posted on the TSR App. Download from Apple or Google Play
2
quote
reply
UncertainGrad
Badges: 1
Rep:
?
#9
Report Thread starter 8 months ago
#9
I think I am just daunted by the sheer competitiveness of it all. It is so hard to get a TC at a firm in London. Reading it back I realise I sounded very negative haha. I am however pleased that some of you on here think I have a chance! Any other advice for me J-SP?
0
quote
reply
J-SP
Badges: 17
Rep:
?
#10
Report 8 months ago
#10
(Original post by UncertainGrad)
I think I am just daunted by the sheer competitiveness of it all. It is so hard to get a TC at a firm in London. Reading it back I realise I sounded very negative haha. I am however pleased that some of you on here think I have a chance! Any other advice for me J-SP?
Explain the combination of working and some
Mitigating circumstances meant you couldn’t take part in extra curricular activities as much as you would have liked to. Try to show earlier ECs (at school or college) instead to at least show it is in your nature to seek out responsibility. If apply after you have graduated, try to think of ways to build up the equivalent of extra curriculars either in the Work place or in the local community (like you are doing with FRU and CAB).

The McDonald’s work is not useless

Your grades are stronger than you think, especially if you do graduate with a first.

You are too late for most summer vacation schemes for London firms (they closed anywhere between end of Dec and beginning of Feb). Some will still be open, no harm in applying to some firms that are still open and that you truly want to apply to.

If you don’t get any formal summer schemes, look for other opportunities in either a law firm (doesn’t have to be a paralegal job) or in the type of clients the lW firms you want to work for might work with. Large corporate organisations tend to have an in house legal or compliance team - ask speculatively for work experience with those types of organisations.

Try open days as an alternative way to build up your CV.

Plenty of people work around the LPC, so you should be able to build your CV if you did choose to self fund.

Personally I wouldn’t rush into the LPC. An alternative might be to keep on applying for vac schemes and TCs over the next 10 months and then consider an LPC that starts in Jan/Feb of 2019 instead.
Posted on the TSR App. Download from Apple or Google Play
0
quote
reply
Perseverance
Badges: 21
Rep:
?
#11
Report 8 months ago
#11
(Original post by UncertainGrad)
Hello to all on the TSR. Have been meaning to ask some questions on this forum for some time, so here goes.

Now I know these threads are ten a penny, and most are frankly bored of seeing them at this point. However, I would be extremely grateful if anybody could bear with me and speak frankly their feelings on my situation, i.e. my chances of a training contract at a City firm (I live in London).

I am aware that achieving a TC requires strong academics, strong extracurriculars and great, consistent work experience. Unfortunately the meat of my CV, in my honest opinion, cannot be described as anything other than laughable from the perspective of a big law firm. Does anybody agree? Am I doomed? My credentials are as follows:

I am a 23 year old Law undergrad, soon to graduate from The University of Liverpool with a low first class degree. My A-levels are ABB, and I have 1A* (english lit) 4A, 3B (one in maths) and 3C at GCSE. I am aware these are unspectacular academics. Surely most wish to turn back the clock and achieve greater things, but such is life.

I have 2 weeks' work experience from 2010 at CMS Cameron McKenna. I also have 2 weeks' work experience from a local high street practise Aletta Shaw Solicitors, this from 2016. Surely this is grossly insufficient?

I have maintained a job at my local McDonald's for just over 6 years, as a 'Customer Care Assistant' but working essentially everywhere in the store, ranging from chips to drive thu. I gather this is next to useless for a TC application?

Regrettably due to a horrendous time at university, I have no extracurriculars. Nothing. I will say however that from 2014-17 many, many things went horribly wrong for me resulting in an extended breakdown of sorts. While I regret my lack of volunteering and extracurrics, it was hardly likely I was able to get any done during this time. To rectify this, I start at FRU next week and Citizens Advice in April latest.

So in light of this info, what do you think? Vacation schemes are surely out of the question- next cycle is October 2018 - Jan 2019, and I will have graduated by then. Is it worth me applying for a TC now until summer deadline just to try my luck? The problem is I have bugger all to talk about when it comes to competency questions. I am rather reluctant to self fund an LPC beginning in September as I see myself as a no-hoper for a TC.


1. So am I screwed for TCs as things are? Or is there a glimmer of hope?

2. Do I start my LPC self funded later this year, and try to get extracurrics/volunteering/work experience around it? Is it even possible to balance these?

3. Is paralegalling an avenue I should consider, or is it simply a low paid trap?

4. Are vacation schemes totally out of the question for me now as a (soon to be) graduate?

5. What should I do this summer to enhance my CV before I (possibly) take the plunge and self fund LPC?


Thank you for reading- any advice is greatly appreciated.
You're fine. Many people have come from a lot worse and secured training contracts with the top firms.

You're only going to stand a chance if you stop criticising yourself for not being the person you think you need to be. So, try to work on the story you're telling yourself. Really think about what you've actually achieved - spending six years in McDonald's shows commitment to a difficult job, an ability to work under pressure and interpersonal skills. Some students haven't worked a day in their life when they apply.
1
quote
reply
help___me
Badges: 4
Rep:
?
#12
Report 8 months ago
#12
Also don't forget they're shaking up the LPC - supposedly the SQE will be way more financially accessible, though it only begins around 2020 I believe. Not sure if you're wanting to wait that long, but if you're not keen on splashing that much on the LPC and want to build up experience in the meantime that could be an option too
1
quote
reply
NotQuiteMikeRoss
Badges: 10
Rep:
?
#13
Report 8 months ago
#13
This thread is eerily similar to what I used to think

I'm 22, just graduated from Liverpool with a first in law, with similar A-levels (AAB) and GCSEs....I also worked at Mcdonald's during my time at uni, and didn't obtain *that much* legal experience.

Yet, I've just been accepted for a DLA Piper Vac Scheme and had interviews/assessment centres with 5 other city law firms (albeit all in Manchester). The partner who interviewed me at DLA highlighted the importance of McDonald's, and how law firms actually like it - it shows you're happy to work long hours for crap money (I'd even say that it's just as important as any legal work experience). Joining the CAB is a brilliant idea too - definitely pursue this!

Please don't undersell yourself, especially if you have mitigating circumstances. You have the grades and (some) legal experience, the rest is down to self-belief and the ability to write a good application!

Tl;DR you're far from a TC no-hoper.

Edit: listen to Perseverance above - he really knows his stuff!
Last edited by NotQuiteMikeRoss; 8 months ago
1
quote
reply
UncertainGrad
Badges: 1
Rep:
?
#14
Report Thread starter 8 months ago
#14
Really comforting to read that MikeRoss! Congrats on your success so far, it's cool to see a Liverpool uni boy make it at a great firm!

Once again, incredible advice guys. I love your comments, and I'm glad I joined the TSR. I will stop being so hard on myself and start working intelligently to boost my CV. Possibly starting an LPC in Jan/Feb 2019 is a great idea actually! It will give me one last shot at those Vacation Schemes for this year. I should start thinking about those in August/ early October 2018?
0
quote
reply
jacketpotato
Badges: 20
Rep:
?
#15
Report 8 months ago
#15
(Original post by UncertainGrad)
I think I will lean on my Maccies experience then. Over 6 years is a long time after all! Just feels silly banging on about a job at McDonald's to these formidable lawyers. Will try to grab as much extracurricular and high street work experience as I can this year then. Feel awful that I don't have more to be frank.
Instead you should be using the interview to demonstrate that you've really done your research, have a great understanding of what the law firm does, are really keen to work there, and demonstrating that you've great commercial awareness (e.g. read the newspapers and have a good understanding of issues such as Brexit).

Lots to talk about that is not focussing on past achievements. Unlikely you'll spend too long speaking about Maccies.
0
quote
reply
NotQuiteMikeRoss
Badges: 10
Rep:
?
#16
Report 8 months ago
#16
(Original post by UncertainGrad)
Really comforting to read that MikeRoss! Congrats on your success so far, it's cool to see a Liverpool uni boy make it at a great firm!

Once again, incredible advice guys. I love your comments, and I'm glad I joined the TSR. I will stop being so hard on myself and start working intelligently to boost my CV. Possibly starting an LPC in Jan/Feb 2019 is a great idea actually! It will give me one last shot at those Vacation Schemes for this year. I should start thinking about those in August/ early October 2018?
Thank you!

As good as the TSR is, it tends to give a distorted representation of the legal world and those that aspire to work within it. As much as a good CV is important, I still think there's a lot of luck and perseverance involved; if at first you don't succeed, try again (and again, and gain, ad infinitum)

As for applications, I found it helpful to have one big document with all the questions compiled from the different firms. This allows you to borrow from your answers, and makes the whole process more efficient. I'd recommend doing this as soon as the applications are released - even if you don't start writing, you can commence research and start to formulate ideas in your head.

Also, spread your research/writing out; it's better to do little bits often, than it is to smash it in the 24 hours before a deadline (even if the sum total of hours is the same). Finally, don't be proud - ask as many people as possible to check your applications, especially any legal contacts you have.

If you ever want any advice or reassurance from someone who's had similar experiences to yours, feel free to PM me
1
quote
reply
UncertainGrad
Badges: 1
Rep:
?
#17
Report Thread starter 8 months ago
#17
Thats a great idea, I will deffo compile all the competency questions from different TC applications and my answers into one big document. Shall PM you if I need any advice, thanks for that
0
quote
reply
X

Reply to thread

Attached files
Write a reply...
Reply
new posts
Latest
My Feed

See more of what you like on
The Student Room

You can personalise what you see on TSR. Tell us a little about yourself to get started.

Personalise

Who is most responsible for your success at university

Mostly me (1091)
90.24%
Mostly my university including my lecturers/tutors (118)
9.76%

Watched Threads

View All
Latest
My Feed

See more of what you like on
The Student Room

You can personalise what you see on TSR. Tell us a little about yourself to get started.

Personalise