Government Legal Service - career change

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iheartdjokovic
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#1
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Hi,

I graduated in summer 2017 with a 2:1 in Law from Oxford and started a grad scheme at one of the big banks in September 2017.

I've recently started feeling that banking isn't really what I want to do, and have been really missing law (never thought that would happen!). I initially discounted going into law as a career on the grounds that every interaction I had with the big "magic circle" firms really put me off (including some work experience) due to the culture and the nature of the work.

However I've recently discovered the GLS training contract, and think it could be perfect for me - I loved administrative/ constitutional and EU law at uni and have always been interested in politics. My questions are:
1) do I have a decent chance of getting a place on the GLS scheme, or will they discount me as too indecisive/ not showing enough commitment?
2) what are the arrangements for living costs - I understand that the LPC course fees would be paid for should I get a place on the scheme, but is the grant sufficient to rent somewhere in London/ be able to eat?

Thanks so much for any advice x
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999tigger
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(Original post by iheartdjokovic)
Hi,

I graduated in summer 2017 with a 2:1 in Law from Oxford and started a grad scheme at one of the big banks in September 2017.

I've recently started feeling that banking isn't really what I want to do, and have been really missing law (never thought that would happen!). I initially discounted going into law as a career on the grounds that every interaction I had with the big "magic circle" firms really put me off (including some work experience) due to the culture and the nature of the work.

However I've recently discovered the GLS training contract, and think it could be perfect for me - I loved administrative/ constitutional and EU law at uni and have always been interested in politics. My questions are:
1) do I have a decent chance of getting a place on the GLS scheme, or will they discount me as too indecisive/ not showing enough commitment?
2) what are the arrangements for living costs - I understand that the LPC course fees would be paid for should I get a place on the scheme, but is the grant sufficient to rent somewhere in London/ be able to eat?

Thanks so much for any advice x
Oxbridge gives you an advantage.
Apply . Nothing to lose and you have good work experience.

Says £5400- £7,600.

Have you talked to your old college to see if they have any contacts?

You could also try and access the master loan and professional Development.
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iheartdjokovic
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(Original post by 999tigger)
Oxbridge gives you an advantage.
Apply . Nothing to lose and you have good work experience.

Says £5400- £7,600.

Have you talked to your old college to see if they have any contacts?

You could also try and access the master loan and professional Development.
Thank you for the advice I have emailed someone from my old college. Do you have any advice on the application process itself?
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colgate13
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(Original post by iheartdjokovic)
Thank you for the advice I have emailed someone from my old college. Do you have any advice on the application process itself?
You should read last year's application thread
https://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/sho....php?t=4807084

Unlike other TC application processes, the GLS is very objective in that if you score high enough on one test you progress to the next test. Being "too indecisive/ not showing enough commitment" isn't considered until the assessment centre.

The "downside" is that, unlike other TCs, going to Oxford really doesn't help you (at least officially). Work experience also only helps in as far as it helps you answer their questions at the AC.

The trick to getting to the AC is scoring high enough on the Watson Glazer. They eliminate something like 96% of applicants through the 3 rounds of standardised tests.
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iheartdjokovic
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(Original post by colgate13)
You should read last year's application thread
https://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/sho....php?t=4807084

Unlike other TC application processes, the GLS is very objective in that if you score high enough on one test you progress to the next test. Being "too indecisive/ not showing enough commitment" isn't considered until the assessment centre.

The "downside" is that, unlike other TCs, going to Oxford really doesn't help you (at least officially). Work experience also only helps in as far as it helps you answer their questions at the AC.

The trick to getting to the AC is scoring high enough on the Watson Glazer. They eliminate something like 96% of applicants through the 3 rounds of standardised tests.
I saw on last year's thread that you got an offer for the TC, congratulations! Do you have any advice on how to get through the Watson Glazer?
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flatlined
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I think it is a horrendous idea and you don't have enough information.

Firstly, it's better to be a civil servant than a lawyer in the civil service for various reasons. The downside of the civl service is the pay, the upside is the hours and, for civil servants, the variety of the work - they can up and leave for any job in the civil service in another team or department and go from doing delivery to policy to project management. You don't have that kind of transferability in the GLS. At all.

The other thing is that promotion for lawyers in the civil service is slow and basically non existent. It is quicker to get promoted as a civil servant than a lawyer. Even without the fast stream (which is also a bit of a con as it doesn't make much difference in terms of actual progression but means graduates are on a fixed salary), start as an EO, as a competent graduate from a decent university and within 3-5 years, having been promoted through the ranks, you'll be a G7, a manager of a team, on c.55k. The GLS scheme is a joke - after taking a whole year out unpaid to study the LPC at a great personal financial cost to yourself (the grant is pathetic and you can't survive on it) you start on an EO salary in year 1, year 2 on HEO salary and qualify on an SEO salary on c.40k. SEO is achievable 2 years of uni starting as an EO. I know grads who have done EO to G7 in 3 years or less, it can be done, but usually it's longer.

Also as a lawyer in the civil service you will be stuck at G7. There just aren't the number of jobs available that there are for civil servants. The G6s, the grade above G7s, are usually pretty senior lawyers in their 40s and 50s and DDs are very few and far between. Promotion to G6 is essentially not happening for you. It's not that hard for normal civil servants even to DD level. There are loads and loads of job openings, they don't exist for lawyers.

Secondly, generally exits for GLS lawyers suck. Exit options for lawyers generally suck, but it sucks particularly hard for the GLS. You'll have no private practice experience and will find it tricky to move in house. The whole point about doing a magic circle training contract is at least you get great exit options to do something else in-house afterwards. I work at a US firm - I work past midnight very regularly, this isn't sustainable, I Uber home, at the firm's expense, most nights. I have loads of exit opportunities in-house doing much more reasonable hours when the time is right for me. The culture in the magic circle firms is also a "we own you" one; but during the TC, you're basically unfireable and it's not that difficult to hide a bit in the MC.

I'd say maybe there are some exceptions e.g. if you did a GLS tax pupillage and leveraged HMRC experience to get yourself in to a tax set at some stage, that can happen. But doing a GLS training contract vs PP - it's foolish. You're limiting your exits.

Thirdly, to be candid, if you're halfway intelligent, you're going to end up hugely frustrated with the GLS. People leave at 5pm on the dot, yes. People emphasise their private lives over work. But there are consequences to this. Firstly, if you care about the work and doing it well, you'll get annoyed at people being lacklustre, taking too much time, delaying things. You'll also be frustrated at the bureaucracy of the civil service. You'll probably end up feeling stagnated and stuck in a rut at the G7 level and will stop caring about what you do very quickly. Some of your colleagues will be bright, many will not and you can't control who you'll be with. Hand in hand with leaving at 5pm is a lack of office social life - generally, you'll be in a group with a mix of ages and other lawyers in your team will be parents, often much older than you and you will be congenial with your colleagues but nothing more. It's not like the private sector - banking, law etc - where people go for drinks regularly.

I don't know what you're doing in banking, but very few people in banking want to do banking in the long run. But the exit opportunities are usually pretty good and you'd have a better career exit with the bank name on your CV in industry. I wouldn't bother with law in your position but if you do it, do it at a good firm.
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