Training Contract Help Watch

evalilyXOX
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Hi!

Last month I was offered a 2019 training contract with a national firm. I was so delighted and accepted the offer.

I think now I am unsure whether this is the right option for me...

I have always loved medical litigation. I took it to honours in my LLB and have had a lot of work experience in the area. Initially I really wanted a traineeship in a firm that has a strong emphasis on this field of law.

I applied for this particular firm as it was a national firm and I felt it would provide me with excellent training. I knew that the traineeship focused on conveyancing, private client and dispute resolution, but because of the firm's reputation I thought it would still be worthwhile. Honestly, I didn't think I would even receive an invite to the assessment centre never mind a job offer.

When I was offered the job, I was so shocked that I jumped at the chance. Now, a month later, the initial delight is starting to wear and I am becoming more practical about things.

I don't know whether it's better to train with the larger reputable firm in areas that I don't enjoy but know I will get amazing training, or to go with the medium sized firm that doesn't have the reputation but practices in areas I love.

I have received an invite to interview for a medical law firm based on previous work experience but I don't want to waste anyone's time unnecessarily until I am more sure of myself.

Sorry this is so long! Any advice welcome!
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workinglawyer
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The general rule is that you should start big and go small. That’s a lot easier than starting small and trying to move to a bigger/more prestigious firm later. Unless the firm you’re applying to now is a specialised boutique firm with a strong reputation in your area of interest, I highly suggest not proceeding further.
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999tigger
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(Original post by evalilyXOX)
Hi!

Last month I was offered a 2019 training contract with a national firm. I was so delighted and accepted the offer.

I think now I am unsure whether this is the right option for me...

I have always loved medical litigation. I took it to honours in my LLB and have had a lot of work experience in the area. Initially I really wanted a traineeship in a firm that has a strong emphasis on this field of law.

I applied for this particular firm as it was a national firm and I felt it would provide me with excellent training. I knew that the traineeship focused on conveyancing, private client and dispute resolution, but because of the firm's reputation I thought it would still be worthwhile. Honestly, I didn't think I would even receive an invite to the assessment centre never mind a job offer.

When I was offered the job, I was so shocked that I jumped at the chance. Now, a month later, the initial delight is starting to wear and I am becoming more practical about things.

I don't know whether it's better to train with the larger reputable firm in areas that I don't enjoy but know I will get amazing training, or to go with the medium sized firm that doesn't have the reputation but practices in areas I love.

I have received an invite to interview for a medical law firm based on previous work experience but I don't want to waste anyone's time unnecessarily until I am more sure of myself.

Sorry this is so long! Any advice welcome!
Ask JSP.


Not asking but hard for em to say without knowing the firms.

Just do a pros and cons.
Does your national firm not have an insurance arm or do medical negligence somewhere? I would rather be a general litigator and move.

I would definitely go to the new firm and see whether you can convert it. If it all feels right to you, then after you have the offer tell the existing firm you no longer wish to continue and move. You dont have another offer yet so its a bit moot. With the thousands of students they deal with then they will be used to it, so dont stress.

Btw if it classifies itself as conveyancing and private client then my impression would be it cant be that big.

Ps contrary tp#2 above then i say you have nothing to lose. If a smaller but niche firm is the place you feel happier then i would go for it. A larger firm can have variety, good formal training and a name. You also have the fact wat you think you like now may not be the same once you experience practice. med neg could turn out to be completely different and dull compared to another department.
Last edited by 999tigger; 3 weeks ago
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evalilyXOX
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(Original post by 999tigger)
Ask JSP.


Not asking but hard for em to say without knowing the firms.

Just do a pros and cons.
Does your national firm not have an insurance arm or do medical negligence somewhere? I would rather be a general litigator and move.

I would definitely go to the new firm and see whether you can convert it. If it all feels right to you, then after you have the offer tell the existing firm you no longer wish to continue and move. You dont have another offer yet so its a bit moot. With the thousands of students they deal with then they will be used to it, so dont stress.

Btw if it classifies itself as conveyancing and private client then my impression would be it cant be that big.

Ps contrary tp#2 above then i say you have nothing to lose. If a smaller but niche firm is the place you feel happier then i would go for it. A larger firm can have variety, good formal training and a name. You also have the fact wat you think you like now may not be the same once you experience practice. med neg could turn out to be completely different and dull compared to another department.

So I have made a pros and cons list but I don't think I got anywhere with it.

No it is an all-service national firm and they offer everything from government consultancy, to business services to personal services. I just know that my traineeship will be based mostly around the personal and business services they offer and that my 4 seats will be commercial conveyancing, private client, employment and dispute resolution.

I did have an offer from a medical negligence firm that I received the day after my offer from the national firm but I turned it down. I also have an interview coming up for medical negligence work in-house for the NHS.

Thanks for responding ! I think it just really helps to get a different perspective
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evalilyXOX
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(Original post by workinglawyer)
The general rule is that you should start big and go small. That’s a lot easier than starting small and trying to move to a bigger/more prestigious firm later. Unless the firm you’re applying to now is a specialised boutique firm with a strong reputation in your area of interest, I highly suggest not proceeding further.
Yeah see thats one of the big reasons why I am finding it hard to potentially reject my offer from the big firm because they have such a large reputation and I know that working for them will really help my career.

The medical firms I am applying to are more medium-sized firms and are known for medical negligence/ personal injury work. However one is in-house for the NHS
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workinglawyer
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It is possible to request that your rotations be changed. This is something that you should discuss with your firm.

Don’t be silly and join a small firm just because they practise in the area you currently think you have an interest in. You can, but unless this small firm has a strong reputation in their area(s) of practice, you are only making it more difficult for yourself to move to a larger firm in the future. Moreover, if you subsequently regret your choice, you will have a huge headache trying to leave the area of practice that you’ve pigeonholed yourself into.

You sound like you’re still unsure about what matters to you, and the direction your career will take. Do yourself a favour and choose the option that will leave the most doors open.

I’ve seen more than enough solicitors stuck in jobs they hate and/or regretting the choices they made because they decided based on what they knew at 22, only to later realise that the world of practice is a different beast altogether. Don’t be like them.
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999tigger
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(Original post by evalilyXOX)
So I have made a pros and cons list but I don't think I got anywhere with it.

No it is an all-service national firm and they offer everything from government consultancy, to business services to personal services. I just know that my traineeship will be based mostly around the personal and business services they offer and that my 4 seats will be commercial conveyancing, private client, employment and dispute resolution.

I did have an offer from a medical negligence firm that I received the day after my offer from the national firm but I turned it down. I also have an interview coming up for medical negligence work in-house for the NHS.

Thanks for responding ! I think it just really helps to get a different perspective
It is hard to tell without knowing the names of the firms. Speak to JSP in DM. You seem a bit lost but without the name of the firms [ not asking] then its hard to get some perspective.

Have you checked your firm doesnt do this sort of work, but maybe in another office? If its so specialist, then maybe you can ask for one of your seats to be at another office. Personally unless you really knew 100% its what you wanted then id be happy with a general litigation seat and hide behind the training and name of the large firm. As I said at this stage you really wont know for sure what you like in practice.

Personally I always regarded med neg stuff as lower down the food chain, less money and its quite niche, which could also mean restrictive. There are medium size firms who can offer you full service , good training and enough med neg experience, if you know for sure its a passion. There is nothing stopping you continuing to apply and see where you get then if push comes to shove you can drop it on your big firm and they will release you. Not ideal but it happens. With a decent general TC in a large firm then you should easily be able to transfer into the NHS if thats what you really wanted. It will offer more options. If you are going to use a niche firm then I would still be looking for a strong rep in that field and also a good structured all round training.

Well done on getting a TC, but it does appear your search and knowledge of what you want from a TC seem sparse and less co ordinated than it might be.
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evalilyXOX
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(Original post by workinglawyer)
It is possible to request that your rotations be changed. This is something that you should discuss with your firm.

Don’t be silly and join a small firm just because they practise in the area you currently think you have an interest in. You can, but unless this small firm has a strong reputation in their area(s) of practice, you are only making it more difficult for yourself to move to a larger firm in the future. Moreover, if you subsequently regret your choice, you will have a huge headache trying to leave the area of practice that you’ve pigeonholed yourself into.

You sound like you’re still unsure about what matters to you, and the direction your career will take. Do yourself a favour and choose the option that will leave the most doors open.

I’ve seen more than enough solicitors stuck in jobs they hate and/or regretting the choices they made because they decided based on what they knew at 22, only to later realise that the world of practice is a different beast altogether. Don’t be like them.
I think the order of the rotations can change, but the rotation areas themselves are fixed. See the firm has like 45 different services so I thought the placements could be really varied, but I was only told the rotation areas after I had informally accepted my offer. I am on the Diploma now and I absolutely hated private client and conveyancing in particular (I just finished those modules in December). I am just worried that I am picking a firm because of their big name reputation and not because its something I will enjoy.

Thanks for your advice !
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evalilyXOX
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(Original post by 999tigger)
It is hard to tell without knowing the names of the firms. Speak to JSP in DM. You seem a bit lost but without the name of the firms [ not asking] then its hard to get some perspective.

Have you checked your firm doesnt do this sort of work, but maybe in another office? If its so specialist, then maybe you can ask for one of your seats to be at another office. Personally unless you really knew 100% its what you wanted then id be happy with a general litigation seat and hide behind the training and name of the large firm. As I said at this stage you really wont know for sure what you like in practice.

Personally I always regarded med neg stuff as lower down the food chain, less money and its quite niche, which could also mean restrictive. There are medium size firms who can offer you full service , good training and enough med neg experience, if you know for sure its a passion. There is nothing stopping you continuing to apply and see where you get then if push comes to shove you can drop it on your big firm and they will release you. Not ideal but it happens. With a decent general TC in a large firm then you should easily be able to transfer into the NHS if thats what you really wanted. It will offer more options. If you are going to use a niche firm then I would still be looking for a strong rep in that field and also a good structured all round training.

Well done on getting a TC, but it does appear your search and knowledge of what you want from a TC seem sparse and less co ordinated than it might be.
Yeah I don't feel comfortable giving names but its one of the top firms in the country (like a CMS but less commercial based and more well rounded).

They do actually have a medical negligence department and they are one of the top in the country so that was one of the reasons why I applied. However after I received my offer they told me that they can't offer a seat in that department and that they don't always have the availability for an NQ job there either.
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workinglawyer
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Have you asked whether rotations are fixed? How flexible are they with reallocating trainees to other practice areas? Even if you can’t be seated in the medical negligence department, do they have other practices which you might also be interested in? What is the likelihood of you wanting to explore a practice area outside of medical negligence?

I think we’ve already said all there is to say. The final decision is up to you, and the onus is on you to ensure you make a decision that you can live with (and that you’re least likely to regret in the foreseeable future).

EDIT: I am in substantial agreement with 999tigger. You've already been pointed in the right direction. Until you've taken concrete steps, it's pointless discussing this further.
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999tigger
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(Original post by evalilyXOX)
Yeah I don't feel comfortable giving names but its one of the top firms in the country (like a CMS but less commercial based and more well rounded).

They do actually have a medical negligence department and they are one of the top in the country so that was one of the reasons why I applied. However after I received my offer they told me that they can't offer a seat in that department and that they don't always have the availability for an NQ job there either.
Just speak with JSP in DM and give the names that way, then someone can make a direct assessment. At the moment you just have one choice, so its pretty easy and im not getting the impression your search for something else is extensive. We will just end up going round in circles otherwise. You have nothing to lose applying to your target firms but get on with it and see what happens. There is obviously something that makes you feel it isnt the ideal fit. If you have been through the whole recruitment process, which takes several months, then its unclear what happened to all your other offers or targets.
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jacketpotato
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Congratulations on the offer.

You can get perfectly good experience from good mid sized firms. There is possibly a slight prestige boost in training at larger firms but not necessarily.

If you really want to try out medical negligence litigation, it makes sense to try and go to a firm where you have a high chance of doing a seat in that area.

As you still describe this firm is mid-sized, and as they offer TCs which firms can only do if they are able to offer a range of contentious and non-contentious experience, so I doubt you would just be doing medical negligence for the whole TC. I'm sure you would still get decent training.

I wouldn't love too much sleep over this. Sometimes qualifying into a department which is fairly small at the particular firm in question can be a blast as you get a good variety of work. Similarly it is perfectly possible to move on qualification to a different firm in a related practice area.
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flatlined
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To be honest, if you do that TC, you'll probably never do much or any meg neg lit. You might do a seat in lit, it probably won't at all be related to med neg. You could possibly leverage your career to med neg lit at some other firm after qualification, but it almost certainly won't happen because you don't know where you'll end up qualifying, maybe there will be no lit NQ jobs at your firm, maybe it will be crowded out by other trainees, maybe you'll hate it, maybe you'll just hate the team, maybe you'll like other areas, maybe you'll decide to have kids soon after qualification and will need the stability x a million other factors.

But you have no other options on the table so there isn't a dilemma. Keep applying for jobs outside law (in law if you must). Then take what you have.

You can't lose sleep over it because you don't have an offer from a meg neg firm.
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999tigger
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It is funny when people try and advise and they are only happy when they get an answer they want to hear.
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evalilyXOX
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(Original post by 999tigger)
Just speak with JSP in DM and give the names that way, then someone can make a direct assessment. At the moment you just have one choice, so its pretty easy and im not getting the impression your search for something else is extensive. We will just end up going round in circles otherwise. You have nothing to lose applying to your target firms but get on with it and see what happens. There is obviously something that makes you feel it isnt the ideal fit. If you have been through the whole recruitment process, which takes several months, then its unclear what happened to all your other offers or targets.
Who is JSP? I have done my research elsewhere and I have now received 2 interview offers for places that mainly specialise in medical litigation. Yeah I think I am now just left confused, I feel like when there is too much choice it can do more harm than good haha
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evalilyXOX
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(Original post by flatlined)
To be honest, if you do that TC, you'll probably never do much or any meg neg lit. You might do a seat in lit, it probably won't at all be related to med neg. You could possibly leverage your career to med neg lit at some other firm after qualification, but it almost certainly won't happen because you don't know where you'll end up qualifying, maybe there will be no lit NQ jobs at your firm, maybe it will be crowded out by other trainees, maybe you'll hate it, maybe you'll just hate the team, maybe you'll like other areas, maybe you'll decide to have kids soon after qualification and will need the stability x a million other factors.

But you have no other options on the table so there isn't a dilemma. Keep applying for jobs outside law (in law if you must). Then take what you have.

You can't lose sleep over it because you don't have an offer from a meg neg firm.
So I have now received 2 interviews for firms that are looking to recruit personal injury/ medical negligence trainees. I feel like I have done quite a substantial amount of medical negligence study, work experience and paid work so I don't think I am at significant risk of hating the specialism area.

I agree that I might like other areas of the law but so far on the legal diploma I have only liked litigation and family law. I have just finished electives in private client and conveyancing which i hated. However, I would be willing to do them in a traineeship as it is a temporary inconvenience to get to where I want to be. I just want to make sure that it worthwhile first.
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evalilyXOX
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(Original post by 999tigger)
It is funny when people try and advise and they are only happy when they get an answer they want to hear.
??

Sorry if it is because I haven't replied to you sooner I have been working over the past 2 days

Any type of advice (good and bad) welcomed though
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