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24 y.o. and no Training Contract - Advice Hugely Appreciated watch

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    Happy Friday to all,

    I wanted to ask for an opinion on my situation. I graduated with an average 2.1 from Uni of Edinburgh (Law and Economics) in Jul 2015 and still have not managed to secure a training contract.

    I have worked for 2 years as a wealth management analyst and went on to become a paralegal for a US investment bank in Canary Wharf where I have worked for about 6 months now.

    So far, all TC applications I have made came back with rejections. I cannot get on to a vac scheme either due to potential conflicts of interest and an exclusivity clause in my t&cs of employment.

    My main concern is that with my average 2.1 from Edinburgh coupled with 4 AP exams (US equivalent of A-levels) at 5544 (or AABB), I basically signed a death warrant to my training contract prospects with a City firm, as these are just enough to meet the minimum requirements.

    A few other questions I have are:
    1. How damaging is the fact that I am unable to complete a vac scheme anywhere to my applications?
    2. Does anyone have experience of obtaining a training contract with a major City firm 3 / 4 / 5 years post-graduation? If so, how did you make the most of your time during that 'waiting' period?
    3. What would be the best way to find out the real reason(s) behind these rejections (as firms generally don't provide feedback unless at assessment centre stage), so that I can address it / them if possible?
    4. Would it be worth taking a look at paralegal jobs with law firms?

    Thank you very much.
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    (Original post by Paralegal)
    Happy Friday to all,

    I wanted to ask for an opinion on my situation. I graduated with an average 2.1 from Uni of Edinburgh (Law and Economics) in Jul 2015 and still have not managed to secure a training contract.

    I have worked for 2 years as a wealth management analyst and went on to become a paralegal for a US investment bank in Canary Wharf where I have worked for about 6 months now.

    So far, all TC applications I have made came back with rejections. I cannot get on to a vac scheme either due to potential conflicts of interest and an exclusivity clause in my t&cs of employment.

    My main concern is that with my average 2.1 from Edinburgh coupled with 4 AP exams (US equivalent of A-levels) at 5544 (or AABB), I basically signed a death warrant to my training contract prospects with a City firm, as these are just enough to meet the minimum requirements.

    A few other questions I have are:
    1. How damaging is the fact that I am unable to complete a vac scheme anywhere to my applications?
    2. Does anyone have experience of obtaining a training contract with a major City firm 3 / 4 / 5 years post-graduation? If so, how did you make the most of your time during that 'waiting' period?
    3. What would be the best way to find out the real reason(s) behind these rejections (as firms generally don't provide feedback unless at assessment centre stage), so that I can address it / them if possible?
    4. Would it be worth taking a look at paralegal jobs with law firms?

    Thank you very much.
    Do you require a work permit?
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    (Original post by J-SP)
    Do you require a work permit?
    For now, yes, but I won’t as of Sept 2018 (basically applications are done 2 years in advance, so if I apply in Sept 2018, I’m eligible to settle permanently and not require sponsorship in Sept 2020)
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    (Original post by Paralegal)
    For now, yes, but I won’t as of Sept 2018 (basically applications are done 2 years in advance, so if I apply in Sept 2018, I’m eligible to settle permanently and not require sponsorship in Sept 2020)

    Ok... this isn’t straight forward then.

    You need to make it clear on applications you have been unable to apply to vacation schemes due to conflicts of interest/exclusivity clauses in your employment. However even with this, firms will be wondering whether you gained any legal work experience beforehand. If it’s because you have only considered a legal career recently, again you need to explain this.

    You also need to explain you will be applying for permanent residency in 2020 (will that be possible if you go back to study the GDL/LPC though?).

    The equivalent of AAB is enough for most firms. There’s very few who want straight As. Your grades are no the death warrant you think they are (based on what you have said anyway). Obviously depends on more detail though, like your individual module results.

    1) Go to more networking events and open days if you can’t do vacation schemes.

    2) I recruited plenty to know it is possible. I’m not sure you would have much time out if you’d need to complete part of the GDL and then the LPC, so I am sure there would be enough to keep you busy. You could also stay in your current employment.

    3) Get someone to review your applications. Your careers service could do it (typically still have access up to 3 years after graduating). Or you could pay for a professional to review it if you are earning. Some people on here might offer to review it for you. Or sign up to something like Aspiring Solicitors and get one of their professional mentors to review it.

    4) you are in a paralegal job so it seems odd to jump from one to another one. I think you’d struggle to find paralegal work where they would sponsor your work permit, I’m surprised you are in one now.
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    (Original post by J-SP)
    Ok... this isn’t straight forward then.

    You need to make it clear on applications you have been unable to apply to vacation schemes due to conflicts of interest/exclusivity clauses in your employment. However even with this, firms will be wondering whether you gained any legal work experience beforehand. If it’s because you have only considered a legal career recently, again you need to explain this.

    You also need to explain you will be applying for permanent residency in 2020 (will that be possible if you go back to study the GDL/LPC though?).

    The equivalent of AAB is enough for most firms. There’s very few who want straight As. Your grades are no the death warrant you think they are (based on what you have said anyway). Obviously depends on more detail though, like your individual module results.

    1) Go to more networking events and open days if you can’t do vacation schemes.

    2) I recruited plenty to know it is possible. I’m not sure you would have much time out if you’d need to complete part of the GDL and then the LPC, so I am sure there would be enough to keep you busy. You could also stay in your current employment.

    3) Get someone to review your applications. Your careers service could do it (typically still have access up to 3 years after graduating). Or you could pay for a professional to review it if you are earning. Some people on here might offer to review it for you. Or sign up to something like Aspiring Solicitors and get one of their professional mentors to review it.

    4) you are in a paralegal job so it seems odd to jump from one to another one. I think you’d struggle to find paralegal work where they would sponsor your work permit, I’m surprised you are in one now.
    Thank you very much for your response. As a matter of fact, I did not want to become a lawyer when I was at university, and I think I only had a change of heart about a year ago, which is why I did not apply for vac schemes. Would this be viewed as a negative?

    Re my work permit, is that something that law firms could be uncomfortable with? The bank I am with sponsored me when I first applied as an analyst and also put me through the Resident Labour Market Test when I found the paralegal position, so I never imagined it being a hurdle. If I go back to studying GDL / LPC, I will still qualify for indefinite leave on the basis of 10-year long residence.

    Finally, what worries me about my uni grades is that they are all between low fifties and high sixties, not a single 70+. The truth is I found studying Law and Economics at the same time quite challenging and also had to work part-time, so I definitely was not a high achiever.
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    (Original post by Paralegal)
    Thank you very much for your response. As a matter of fact, I did not want to become a lawyer when I was at university, and I think I only had a change of heart about a year ago, which is why I did not apply for vac schemes. Would this be viewed as a negative?

    Re my work permit, is that something that law firms could be uncomfortable with? The bank I am with sponsored me when I first applied as an analyst and also put me through the Resident Labour Market Test when I found the paralegal position, so I never imagined it being a hurdle. If I go back to studying GDL / LPC, I will still qualify for indefinite leave on the basis of 10-year long residence.

    Finally, what worries me about my uni grades is that they are all between low fifties and high sixties, not a single 70+. The truth is I found studying Law and Economics at the same time quite challenging and also had to work part-time, so I definitely was not a high achiever.
    The recent focus on law is not an issue at all - is just up to you to explain why you are now focused.

    The work permit is not an issue for a training contract if you will have permanent residency, but you have to make that clear in your application.

    Your current company may have been able to prove the RLMT for your role, but most firms would really struggle to do so for theirs - many paralegal roles wouldn’t even meet the Tier 2 criteria, but most firms would really struggle with passing the RLMT due to number of applications. Exceptions tend to be if there is very specialist knowledge or skills needed in the paralegal role (eg fluency in a specific language).

    You don’t need 70+ grades. 60+ grades are more than sufficient. Some firms might be concerned about the low 50 grades but it really depends on how many they are and which subjects they are in. But I suspect many firms would balance out any concerns with your commercial experience.
 
 
 
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