Law graduate finding it difficult to get into the legal sector

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georginamay
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#1
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#1
So I graduated in June and I'm currently unemployed. I have no law firm experience but I have worked in a law centre for months during third year. I've applied for legal administration, legal secretary, paralegal assistant and paralegal jobs. All I get is rejection emails. Lots of firms also state in job applications that they want candidates who have at least 6 months of experience in a law firm.

How am I meant to get my foot in the door if no one wants to give me a chance? The job market is brutal and it's starting to affect my mental health.

What can I do? I'm so willing to start from the bottom.
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Yoshi123456
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#2
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#2
May I ask where you took your LLB?

I’m thinking of applying for Law and this is something that concerns me.

I hope things work out for you.
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LouiseRu
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#3
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#3
The fact is that there are many more Graduates than legal jobs that need filling.

This issue has been around along time.

Recently there have been cuts to legal aid which will reduce jobs which rely on this funding such as criminal work.

Commercial legal work is very competitive to get into and will probably recruit only from top tier Universities.

My friend had the same issue 25 years ago and it has not got better.

The truth is that it is not a fair fight and connections count more than anything.

My friend decided to try and work in HR as she could still work with the area of employment law.

She started with a temporary job with the NHS which was later made permanent.
She then got funding to do professional HR qualifications and has never looked back.

This approach was much more successful than trying to get a training contract which resulted in many unpaid hours of work and
frustration and stress.

There are about 4500 training contracts for Solicitors each year.

About 50% recruited are law graduates and then the remainder are non law graduates with the Graduate conversion course.

There are roughly 16,000 law graduates each year alone.

So you can see how the problem arises.

So my advice to you is to consider HR work.

Try and see if you can get a position doing administration work in a payroll department/HR department and start from there.

Also look online at the career pages for the Army, RAF and Navy.

They have service roles in HR work that not many people know about.

You can join and be fully trained in personnel work and go on do further qualifications.

You are not expected to have an extensive work history and no other employer offers this advantage.

However in return you would have to sign up to work for a specified period.

The training is extensive and expensive and this is why you must commit to a minimum period.

But not many employers offer this.

You can join as an Officer through Graduate schemes or apply for roles aimed at A level holders as there
would be more of these available.

You can get contact with a career advisor online through their websites or can visit a local forces career office.

You have probably not been aware of this as an option but please investigate further before dismissing as an option.

I wish you luck and please keep going.
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georginamay
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#4
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#4
(Original post by Yoshi123456)
May I ask where you took your LLB?

I’m thinking of applying for Law and this is something that concerns me.

I hope things work out for you.
City uni and thank you btw
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georginamay
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#5
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#5
Any area tbh, as long as I get experience. I've now managed to get myself to volunteer at a high street . I will be working there for a few months.

By the way I have achieved a 2:1. My CV was quite bad if I'm being honest but I've done a CV makeover a few months ago and I now regularly add things in or change it slightly every week.

Do you think volunteering at a high street firm will help me get my foot in the door and get me a paid paralegal role?
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georginamay
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#6
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#6
(Original post by LouiseRu)
The fact is that there are many more Graduates than legal jobs that need filling.

This issue has been around along time.

Recently there have been cuts to legal aid which will reduce jobs which rely on this funding such as criminal work.

Commercial legal work is very competitive to get into and will probably recruit only from top tier Universities.

My friend had the same issue 25 years ago and it has not got better.

The truth is that it is not a fair fight and connections count more than anything.

My friend decided to try and work in HR as she could still work with the area of employment law.

She started with a temporary job with the NHS which was later made permanent.
She then got funding to do professional HR qualifications and has never looked back.

This approach was much more successful than trying to get a training contract which resulted in many unpaid hours of work and
frustration and stress.

There are about 4500 training contracts for Solicitors each year.

About 50% recruited are law graduates and then the remainder are non law graduates with the Graduate conversion course.

There are roughly 16,000 law graduates each year alone.

So you can see how the problem arises.

So my advice to you is to consider HR work.

Try and see if you can get a position doing administration work in a payroll department/HR department and start from there.

Also look online at the career pages for the Army, RAF and Navy.

They have service roles in HR work that not many people know about.

You can join and be fully trained in personnel work and go on do further qualifications.

You are not expected to have an extensive work history and no other employer offers this advantage.

However in return you would have to sign up to work for a specified period.

The training is extensive and expensive and this is why you must commit to a minimum period.

But not many employers offer this.

You can join as an Officer through Graduate schemes or apply for roles aimed at A level holders as there
would be more of these available.

You can get contact with a career advisor online through their websites or can visit a local forces career office.

You have probably not been aware of this as an option but please investigate further before dismissing as an option.

I wish you luck and please keep going.
To be honest I have also been applying to admin and HR assistant jobs and have been getting rejected too. I'm finding it difficult to get myself in a professional office job. Employers and recruiters want years of experience and I dont have that. I have a few months and that's about it. I have looked at the Navy, RAF and Army roles but I don't want to be spend 12 years working for them.

Thank you so much for the suggestions though.
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georginamay
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#7
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#7
(Original post by J-SP)
I don’t really agree with the above poster....

1) there’s around 6,000 training contracts each year, plus a whole load of other jobs in the legal sector

2) there might be 16,000 law graduates, but not all of them are staying in the U.K. and many more don’t want a career in law

3) plenty of people get TCs with commercial firms who are not from top tier universities

4) connections aren’t everything. I have seen how recruitment works - the idea it is decided through connections is a really poor assumption. Connections can help inform people so they are ready for the recruitment process though

5) I wouldn’t recommend HR to most people considering a legal career - there are some significant differences between the two
As I have mentioned before, I have gotten myself to volunteer at a high street firm. Will this actually help me get a paid paralegal role? Applying for jobs without any law firm experience hasn't helped me at all so that's why I'm going to volunteer.
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LouiseRu
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#8
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#8
The minimum service that you do depends on the role.

It is possible to get roles where minimum service is 4 years after training.

They do not expect you to have extensive experience and will train you at great expense and also pay you.

What other employer offers this?


That is why you have a return of service because of the cost of this.

This is versus doing voluntary unpaid work where effectively you train at your own expense with no job guarantee.

You can speak to an advisor about your options by contacting them using the details on their career websites.

It is worth looking into at least.
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georginamay
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#9
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#9
(Original post by J-SP)
Potentially will help, really depends on the rest of your CV though, and how well you interview
Is there any way I can get my CV to stand out without much experience? I think I need some help tbh.
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Audrey18
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#10
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#10
Yoshi123456 georginamay


you should do a first degree in something else like finance, banking or accounting. and then you do the GDL. and then you go to Dubai, Hong Kong, Brunei, Singapore, Australia, USA to work. There's no decent legal jobs left in UK. Don't bother. Be ahead of the curve.

Look at this. Plan your future now.
https://www.indeed.hk/Legal-jobs
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Insecable
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#11
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#11
(Original post by J-SP)
Getting legal jobs in the US, Hong Kong, Australia and Singapore is not easy, and in many cases far more difficult/restricted than it is in the UK
I agree with you. Some of the misinformation on this thread is a little worrying.
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Insecable
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#12
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#12
(Original post by J-SP)
Frustrating more than anything! Legal careers are not “that” competitive in the UK. Markets like Australia, Singapore and the US make the job market here look like child’s play.
Exactly. Having lived in Australia and knowing some people doing law there, I can vouch for the fact that it is very competitive there, mainly because there aren't as many legal jobs compared to graduates, by a significant margin.
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Aloha1
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#13
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#13
Are you planning to join the public sector or consulting?
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georginamay
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#14
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#14
EDIT: I've read stories on Reddit and now I'm actually worried. The amount of people that have shared their stories on how they've quit their legal career and finally feel human again is mad.

I'm going to think about it...
Last edited by georginamay; 3 years ago
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georginamay
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#15
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#15
Can I PM you?
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TimmonaPortella
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#16
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#16
(Original post by georginamay)
EDIT: I've read stories on Reddit and now I'm actually worried. The amount of people that have shared their stories on how they've quit their legal career and finally feel human again is mad.

I'm going to think about it...
Law isn't all the same. You need to get a realistic picture of what life is like in the practice area you want, at the sort of firms you're looking at. Then you can decide whether it's for you or not.

Get some experience, and try to talk to some lawyers who are doing what you'd like to do. Don't base your career plans on a few forum posts. They'll come from individuals, who will be giving their views based on their own personal preferences, applied to their own personal circumstances/ jobs/ firms etc.
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TimmonaPortella
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#17
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#17
But I note that you feel free to comment on what every trainee's life is like, when you have experience inside one City firm. There's nothing to indicate that OP is looking at City firms, particularly given that her only experience after graduation will be on the high street, and it should be quite evident that not everything you've said, particularly as to atmosphere/animosity at work, will necessarily be replicated on a smaller scale in a less pressurised practice. I don't say that it isn't replicated, just that you can't know that.

It remains true that not everybody hates it like you do, and you would be more credible if you didn't appear to claim that your own views are universal.

NQ because of a background search thread I made. By your own allegations I would be a fourth seater by now maybe. I'm around a year or so past that
Why? The way you're speaking you should have left a long time ago. 'Torture', 'lies', 'I hate you, you trainee turd' -- it really doesn't sound from the way you write about it as though it's doing you any good to stay.

In any case, if you want to persuade people to stay away, you should moderate your language, and try to present a picture of what your life is/has been like with some apparent objectivity. Your sentences should not read as though you're spitting them out in rage.
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The RAR
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#18
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#18
This is making me pretty worried about wanting to do law at uni, I am still not sure what job I want to do but law is pretty much the only degree at uni I feel comfortable with. I just want a job that pays you at least 30k in 5 years
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Notoriety
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#19
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#19
(Original post by The RAR)
This is making me pretty worried about wanting to do law at uni, I am still not sure what job I want to do but law is pretty much the only degree at uni I feel comfortable with. I just want a job that pays you at least 30k in 5 years
If you want an easy professional job, take up teaching or become a nurse. Law takes a special kind of grit.

I wouldn't do it for an easy 40k, that's for sure. As flatlined says, there are other careers which offer you that.
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Ibrox
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#20
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#20
Stumbled upon this thread whilst looking for something and thought I'd sign up.

OP, I am in a similar situation to yourself having completed my LLB and then my post-graduate DPLP which is a requirement to become a solicitor in Scotland. The DPLP equivalent in England and Wales has now been 'abolished' I believe.

Anyway, I too am struggling to find a traineeship (perhaps you call it a training contract). Over summer I gained experience in a local law firm with the possibility of a traineeship from that but I have a feeling it was just to sweeten me up and surprisingly, the dates I was given for work experience were all the weeks when a member of staff was on holiday. Convenient.

I've recently changed my CV and Cover Letter and having applied for a few things recently, I am hoping that my change in tact will be fruitful. If you google 'Graduate Recruitment Bureau, you will find very useful resources relating on how to write your CV, formatting etc. I know a few friends who have used this resource and they are now having greater success than previously with more interviews.

I'd recommend gaining some work experience, it's good for the CV as it shows that you are willing and interested in the subject.

Does your Law Society have a CV checking function? The Law Society of Scotland does, which again is a useful resource.

I have also sent out speculative applications to firms, so far this has not brought me any joy but there is no harm in trying.
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