Chances of VCs or TCs? Watch

Pretty Flacko
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Hi people,

I’m a current second year at the University of Lincoln. I have BCC at A-Level: English Lit, Psychology and History.

I am planning to apply for Vac Schemes tomorrow but I am very worried about my chances and whether there will be a successful career waiting for me as a solicitor with these mediocre academics.

I have retail experience but no legal experience as of yet.

However I am a decent mooter and have entered numerous external mooting competitions and got respectable results.

I’m from a working class background and during my time at sixth form I wasn’t really taking my education seriously among other serious family issues.

I am just very pessimistic about the future now given the amazing academics of everyone here. I am not, however, looking for naive support. Just tell me my realistic chances of having a decent career as a solicitor as it is not too late to think otherwise — even though my heart is in this.

Thanks in advance!
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999tigger
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(Original post by Pretty Flacko)
Hi people,

I’m a current second year at the University of Lincoln. I have BCC at A-Level: English Lit, Psychology and History.

I am planning to apply for Vac Schemes tomorrow but I am very worried about my chances and whether there will be a successful career waiting for me as a solicitor with these mediocre academics.

I have retail experience but no legal experience as of yet.

However I am a decent mooter and have entered numerous external mooting competitions and got respectable results.

I’m from a working class background and during my time at sixth form I wasn’t really taking my education seriously among other serious family issues.

I am just very pessimistic about the future now given the amazing academics of everyone here. I am not, however, looking for naive support. Just tell me my realistic chances of having a decent career as a solicitor as it is not too late to think otherwise — even though my heart is in this.

Thanks in advance!

It depends where you are applying. As you say your academics are nothing special and neither is your uni.

Against that you could write an excellent application plus your marks at universiy could be top class.

Whilst its good to be realistic, then make the most of what you have.

Apply locally or just apply for legal work experience rather than official schemes where they may be less competition.

Not just solicitors, but anyone involved in the courts system or anyone who has a legal department or even business generally. You cna still rescue yourself with a good degree and working your way up, but be realistic. If you wnat it then be determined, believe in yourself and expect a few knocks.
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Pretty Flacko
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(Original post by 999tigger)
It depends where you are applying. As you say your academics are nothing special and neither is your uni.

Against that you could write an excellent application plus your marks at universiy could be top class.

Whilst its good to be realistic, then make the most of what you have.

Apply locally or just apply for legal work experience rather than official schemes where they may be less competition.

Not just solicitors, but anyone involved in the courts system or anyone who has a legal department or even business generally. You cna still rescue yourself with a good degree and working your way up, but be realistic. If you wnat it then be determined, believe in yourself and expect a few knocks.
Thanks for the reply. I will probably go the solicitor route but I just hope it isn’t an uphill battle with diminishing returns. Like you said I will just have to be a little less hopeful with my applications
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Greatleysteg
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(Original post by Pretty Flacko)
Thanks for the reply. I will probably go the solicitor route but I just hope it isn’t an uphill battle with diminishing returns. Like you said I will just have to be a little less hopeful with my applications
I don't think the suggestion was that you give up on the solicitor route, but rather that you try other avenues to get the experience you need, e.g. paralegal work, clerking at a court or barristers' chambers.

It's hard to assess your chances without knowing more info – when you say second year, do you mean in law? What kind of grades are you getting? There's a lot more you can do than just mooting – try taking advantage of your uni's pro bono unit (e.g. any clinics they run) and/or volunteering at places like the Citizens Advice Bureau to get client-facing experience. Then you can focus on other stuff like commercial awareness, on which solicitors seem to put so much emphasis.
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Pretty Flacko
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(Original post by Greatleysteg)
I don't think the suggestion was that you give up on the solicitor route, but rather that you try other avenues to get the experience you need, e.g. paralegal work, clerking at a court or barristers' chambers.

It's hard to assess your chances without knowing more info – when you say second year, do you mean in law? What kind of grades are you getting? There's a lot more you can do than just mooting – try taking advantage of your uni's pro bono unit (e.g. any clinics they run) and/or volunteering at places like the Citizens Advice Bureau to get client-facing experience. Then you can focus on other stuff like commercial awareness, on which solicitors seem to put so much emphasis.
Thanks for the reply. I am a second year in law, I got 1x1st and the rest 2:1s last year but very near 1sts in all modules. I know I am thinking of applying to the law clinic etc. I am more than willing to work my way up, I just don’t want to be stuck in a high street firm with very little chances of career progression.
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JohanGRK
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(Original post by Pretty Flacko)
Hi people,

I’m a current second year at the University of Lincoln. I have BCC at A-Level: English Lit, Psychology and History.

I am planning to apply for Vac Schemes tomorrow but I am very worried about my chances and whether there will be a successful career waiting for me as a solicitor with these mediocre academics.

I have retail experience but no legal experience as of yet.

However I am a decent mooter and have entered numerous external mooting competitions and got respectable results.

I’m from a working class background and during my time at sixth form I wasn’t really taking my education seriously among other serious family issues.

I am just very pessimistic about the future now given the amazing academics of everyone here. I am not, however, looking for naive support. Just tell me my realistic chances of having a decent career as a solicitor as it is not too late to think otherwise — even though my heart is in this.

Thanks in advance!
Assuming you're talking about corporate law/the City:

Don't apply for summer vac schemes at City firms for 2018. Most of these have had their deadlines pass in January. The few remaining February ones are tough. Some of these have already sent out interview invites. They will be populated with people who undoubtedly put in a lot of effort into getting commercial awareness etc. early on.

I'd follow the advice of the other posters in this thread if you're thinking of going down the City/commercial law route. Get work experience in something law-related. If possible, try getting something in a client institution such as a retail bank. Volunteer at CAB or a local legal clinic. Get good grades this summer as well (prizes and scholarships make you stand out). Go to Open Days in the Spring/Autumn (most of their deadlines have not passed, yet). Get a sense of what sort of commercial law firm you want to work at. After that, start writing winter and summer vac scheme applications the second they open in September/October.

There are firms that don't use a hard A-level cut-off. Go for those. Try to create a narrative around your grades - "despite not being X at school, I loved my law degree and got Y grades in first and second year". It's truthfully the only way you'll have a chance if you don't have 'formal' extenuating circumstances such as bereavement, serious illness, etc. You're going up against people with As and A*s, after all.

Try getting an understanding of how commercial stuff works. That means understanding the process and concerns behind M&A. It could mean understanding how finance or real estate transactions work. It involves having lots of examples as to what interests you w.r.t. the above.

When you apply next year, you'll be in a far better chance. Do remember that even the most elite firms in the City have taken people with grades like A*AB or AABB at A-level. I know future trainees at Slaughters and HSF who got AAB from places like Cardiff - not exactly the most elite A-level + Uni combo. It shows that they can accept a degree of compromise with regard to your grades if you've turned them around at uni.
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Pretty Flacko
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(Original post by JohanGRK)
Assuming you're talking about corporate law/the City:

Don't apply for summer vac schemes at City firms for 2018. Most of these have had their deadlines pass in January. The few remaining February ones are tough. Some of these have already sent out interview invites. They will be populated with people who undoubtedly put in a lot of effort into getting commercial awareness etc. early on.

I'd follow the advice of the other posters in this thread if you're thinking of going down the City/commercial law route. Get work experience in something law-related. If possible, try getting something in a client institution such as a retail bank. Volunteer at CAB or a local legal clinic. Get good grades this summer as well (prizes and scholarships make you stand out). Go to Open Days in the Spring/Autumn (most of their deadlines have not passed, yet). Get a sense of what sort of commercial law firm you want to work at. After that, start writing winter and summer vac scheme applications the second they open in September/October.

There are firms that don't use a hard A-level cut-off. Go for those. Try to create a narrative around your grades - "despite not being X at school, I loved my law degree and got Y grades in first and second year". It's truthfully the only way you'll have a chance if you don't have 'formal' extenuating circumstances such as bereavement, serious illness, etc. You're going up against people with As and A*s, after all.

Try getting an understanding of how commercial stuff works. That means understanding the process and concerns behind M&A. It could mean understanding how finance or real estate transactions work. It involves having lots of examples as to what interests you w.r.t. the above.

When you apply next year, you'll be in a far better chance. Do remember that even the most elite firms in the City have taken people with grades like A*AB or AABB at A-level. I know future trainees at Slaughters and HSF who got AAB from places like Cardiff - not exactly the most elite A-level + Uni combo. It shows that they can accept a degree of compromise with regard to your grades if you've turned them around at uni.
That’s very good advice. Thank you!
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Pretty Flacko
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(Original post by JohanGRK)
Assuming you're talking about corporate law/the City:

Don't apply for summer vac schemes at City firms for 2018. Most of these have had their deadlines pass in January. The few remaining February ones are tough. Some of these have already sent out interview invites. They will be populated with people who undoubtedly put in a lot of effort into getting commercial awareness etc. early on.

I'd follow the advice of the other posters in this thread if you're thinking of going down the City/commercial law route. Get work experience in something law-related. If possible, try getting something in a client institution such as a retail bank. Volunteer at CAB or a local legal clinic. Get good grades this summer as well (prizes and scholarships make you stand out). Go to Open Days in the Spring/Autumn (most of their deadlines have not passed, yet). Get a sense of what sort of commercial law firm you want to work at. After that, start writing winter and summer vac scheme applications the second they open in September/October.

There are firms that don't use a hard A-level cut-off. Go for those. Try to create a narrative around your grades - "despite not being X at school, I loved my law degree and got Y grades in first and second year". It's truthfully the only way you'll have a chance if you don't have 'formal' extenuating circumstances such as bereavement, serious illness, etc. You're going up against people with As and A*s, after all.

Try getting an understanding of how commercial stuff works. That means understanding the process and concerns behind M&A. It could mean understanding how finance or real estate transactions work. It involves having lots of examples as to what interests you w.r.t. the above.

When you apply next year, you'll be in a far better chance. Do remember that even the most elite firms in the City have taken people with grades like A*AB or AABB at A-level. I know future trainees at Slaughters and HSF who got AAB from places like Cardiff - not exactly the most elite A-level + Uni combo. It shows that they can accept a degree of compromise with regard to your grades if you've turned them around at uni.
Also, even though I will not apply for the Vac Scheme this year but instead get some commercial experience in the summer, will I still apply for the TC in 2020? Or would you recommend building my CV for another year?
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999tigger
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(Original post by Pretty Flacko)
Also, even though I will not apply for the Vac Scheme this year but instead get some commercial experience in the summer, will I still apply for the TC in 2020? Or would you recommend building my CV for another year?
You have to find your level.

You really only seem interested in City Law.

Just get very good results, but it is competitive and you will be competing against those with higher A levels and who go t more established universities. Try for both and see what happens.
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JohanGRK
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(Original post by Pretty Flacko)
Also, even though I will not apply for the Vac Scheme this year but instead get some commercial experience in the summer, will I still apply for the TC in 2020? Or would you recommend building my CV for another year?
I'd probably go for 2021, not least because 2020 will be filled with people who already have vac schemes and will be trying to convert them. Applying for 2021 TCs will also give you a bit more time in terms of deadline - you'll be able to send in applications until December 2018/January 2019, as opposed to having to apply last minute over the summer without being able to show a lot of City-specific interest. There's no point in wasting your time, frankly.

I think that the important thing to remember is that showing a sufficient knowledge and interest in the City itself takes time and patience. It involves a lot of reading into finance and commercial stuff, a lot of research into what lawyers do and how it fits into business needs, and a lot of keeping up to date with the news so as to spot the most recent trends. It's why most students will start with first year open days, and move on to first year insight schemes, second year vac schemes, third year TCs, and hopefully land a TC somewhere along the way. Even building up your assessment centre skills is a challenge (it took 3 rejections for me to start getting VS offers, and I'm one of the lucky ones who did get something in the end). My point is that you can't speed up the process beyond a certain point.
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