Two Future Magic Circle Trainees: Ask Us Anything!

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lawcalling
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#1
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#1
We are aware that lots of people want to use this lockdown period to get ahead/improve themselves so we’re here to help best we can. Feel free to ask us anything from how to improve your commercial awareness and nail those applications to how we chose our firms and why we want to go into commercial law.

Some background: coffeeneeded27 and I are students at different universities, in different years and will eventually be working for different MC firms. coffeeneeded27 is a non-law student and I am a law student, so feel free to direct your questions to either or both of us!
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law_student_int
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#2
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#2
Which university did you go to? Do you really need to be an Oxbridge student or are there any other Russell Group students as well?
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coffeeneeded27
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#3
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#3
(Original post by law_student_int)
Which university did you go to? Do you really need to be an Oxbridge student or are there any other Russell Group students as well?
I'm at Warwick and you 110% do not need to be at Oxbridge to get an MC TC! There are future trainees from unis all over the country, includng non-Russell Group in my intake for Clifford Chance. The firm uses CV blind interviewing at the assessment centre stage to remove any bias towards universities and it really works
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lawcalling
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#4
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#4
In line with what coffeeneeded27 has said, both of us are non-Oxbridge candidates and are students at RG unis, so Oxbridge isn’t a pre-requisite for a MC TC by any means! I would say at MC level around 30%-40% are Oxbridge; both in terms of what I’ve personally observed at three MC Assessment Centres, Vacation Schemes and TC Offers and official statistics (https://www.google.co.uk/amp/s/www.l...-oxbridge/amp/). Of course, a lot of recruitment depends upon what you do at university (academics, extra cirric and the application itself) so just make the most of wherever you end up!
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I AM GROOT 1
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#5
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#5
(Original post by coffeeneeded27)
I'm at Warwick and you 110% do not need to be at Oxbridge to get an MC TC! There are future trainees from unis all over the country, includng non-Russell Group in my intake for Clifford Chance. The firm uses CV blind interviewing at the assessment centre stage to remove any bias towards universities and it really works
Warwick :five:
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coffeeneeded27
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#6
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#6
(Original post by I AM GROOT 1)
Warwick :five:
:cool::five:
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Serene Dreams
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#7
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#7
Thank you so much for doing this.

For both of you: what year of your course are you both in? Up until now, have you had any spare time to dedicate to your extracurriculars? If so, what are they and how have you used them to support your CV?

Thanks!! x
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N. Auditoré
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#8
(Original post by coffeeneeded27)
I'm at Warwick and you 110% do not need to be at Oxbridge to get an MC TC! There are future trainees from unis all over the country, includng non-Russell Group in my intake for Clifford Chance. The firm uses CV blind interviewing at the assessment centre stage to remove any bias towards universities and it really works
Considering how you’re both in different years and you mentioned Clifford Chance I’m using my aspiring lawyer skills to guess ur in 2nd year and got a TC at Clifford Chance from the SPARK scheme last summer? (bit of a jump with no evidence but meh😂😭💀)
Anyways, if I’m correct do you have any advice for applying for SPARK, the kind of questions they ask on applications and in interviews, how to research and present the information? Ooh and what did u use for experience on CV etc.
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I AM GROOT 1
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#9
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#9
What are your top tips for law students in their first year?
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N. Auditoré
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#10
(Original post by I AM GROOT 1)
What are your top tips for law students in their first year?
Yes, this !!!!!! 👁👄👁👆🏽
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Serene Dreams
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#11
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#11
(Original post by nathan_nacu)
Yes, this !!!!!! 👁👄👁👆🏽
You are so eager, you make me laugh. It's a good thing. x
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lawcalling
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(Original post by Brutal Bee)
Thank you so much for doing this.

For both of you: what year of your course are you both in? Up until now, have you had any spare time to dedicate to your extracurriculars? If so, what are they and how have you used them to support your CV?

Thanks!! x
Happy to help! I got involved with youth volunteering in high school, which eventually led to me getting involved with the local and county Youth Council. After this, I became a Member of Youth Parliament, which provided some great public speaking opportunities in the House of Commons and European Parliament during college.

At university, I got involved with negotiation (winning the first year comp) and mooting as well as taking up a society position in second year. I also attended four first year schemes with various firms (none being MC firms) and had a weeks experience at a highstreet firm in my town. This took up a lot of my time at university but was well worth it.

Heads up that law firms don’t just care about glitz and glamour! My firm were really interested in the fact that I’d worked in a factory for 4 months in the summer to fund my studies and we discussed it at length in the competency interview. Sometimes experiences like this can reveal more about a person!
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coffeeneeded27
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#13
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#13
(Original post by Brutal Bee)
Thank you so much for doing this.

For both of you: what year of your course are you both in? Up until now, have you had any spare time to dedicate to your extracurriculars? If so, what are they and how have you used them to support your CV?

Thanks!! x
I'm in my penultimate year of politics, international relations and spanish for extra curriculars at uni I've done:
- Concert manager (like band manager) of the uni brass band
- Social Secretary of the Horse Riding Club and Team
- Sponsorship Officer for a Student Conference ran on campus
- I used to do uni-level rowing
- Non-law subcommittee for the Law Society
- Commercial Negotiations - won varsity in my first year and was a judge and on the committee in my 2nd year
- I also work 25-30 hours a week during term time as a waitress at a local restaurant

It's all about showing transferrable skills to be able to answer competency questions so when asked a time I worked in a team/led a team/solved a problem etc. the more extra-curriculars and work you've done, the more real life experiences you have to draw upon. It deffo does not have to be law related - do what you're passionate about! Brass banding is my LIFE at uni so I use examples from this a lot and because it's a genuine interest this always comes across well in interview and I get feedback saying this
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Serene Dreams
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#14
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#14
(Original post by lawcalling)
Happy to help! I got involved with youth volunteering in high school, which eventually led to me getting involved with the local and county Council. After this, I became a Member of Youth Parliament, which provided some great public speaking opportunities in the House of Commons and European Parliament during college.

At university, I got involved with negotiation (winning the first year comp) and mooting as well as taking up a society position in second year. I also attended four first year schemes with various firms (none being MC firms) and had a weeks experience at a highstreet firm in my town! This took up a lot of my time at university but was well worth it.

Heads up that law firms don’t just care about glitz and glamour! My firm were really interested in the fact that I’d worked in a factory for 4 months in the summer to fund my studies and we discussed it at length in the competency interview. Sometimes experiences like this can reveal more about a person!
Thank you! That's really quite impressive. Why commercial law? Did you always know you wanted to go into commercial law? How did your aspirations change throughout university, if they did? Before university, did you have any legal work experience?
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Serene Dreams
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#15
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#15
(Original post by coffeeneeded27)
I'm in my penultimate year of politics, international relations and spanish for extra curriculars at uni I've done:
- Concert manager (like band manager) of the uni brass band
- Social Secretary of the Horse Riding Club and Team
- Sponsorship Officer for a Student Conference ran on campus
- I used to do uni-level rowing
- Non-law subcommittee for the Law Society
- Commercial Negotiations - won varsity in my first year and was a judge and on the committee in my 2nd year
- I also work 25-30 hours a week during term time as a waitress at a local restaurant

It's all about showing transferrable skills to be able to answer competency questions so when asked a time I worked in a team/led a team/solved a problem etc. the more extra-curriculars and work you've done, the more real life experiences you have to draw upon. It deffo does not have to be law related - do what you're passionate about! Brass banding is my LIFE at uni so I use examples from this a lot and because it's a genuine interest this always comes across well in interview and I get feedback saying this
This is very reassuring, thanks! : )
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coffeeneeded27
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#16
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#16
(Original post by nathan_nacu)
Considering how you’re both in different years and you mentioned Clifford Chance I’m using my aspiring lawyer skills to guess ur in 2nd year and got a TC at Clifford Chance from the SPARK scheme last summer? (bit of a jump with no evidence but meh😂😭💀)
Anyways, if I’m correct do you have any advice for applying for SPARK, the kind of questions they ask on applications and in interviews, how to research and present the information? Ooh and what did u use for experience on CV etc.
your aspiring lawyer skills are correct heheh yes I did SPARK last summer and got my TC from that the cc applicaiton is the same for all their schemes and consists of asking about any work exp. you've done then it asks
You have told us about your academic achievements and work experience and now, in no more than 600 words, we are keen to hear more about you. This should include your extra-curricular activities, positions of responsibility and an achievement of importance which you are most proud of.

Rather than me copy and paste, I've attached a document I wrote on how to answer this question I hope it helps! The interviews are split into 2: competency and case study.

The competency one was pretty standard but remember that it's CV blind - all they know is your name! So anything you want them to know/think they should know you have to tell them! They ask things like why law/why CC etc. then also the usual STAR response questions such as a time you showed teamwork/leadership/resilience etc.

For the case study, that changes every year but my main advice is to not spend too long worrying over something you don't understand as time is very tight. I've attached another VERY long (pre warning ahah) document I wrote and made on how to tackle and prepare for the case study.

To research the firm i really recommend applying for an open day at CC as they put a lot of importance on this and it is SO helpful - it taught me loads! Also use Roll on Friday Inside Info, Legal Cheek firm profiles, lex 500, chambers student, attend the law fair and evening presentations and reach out to people you know
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coffeeneeded27
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#17
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#17
(Original post by I AM GROOT 1)
What are your top tips for law students in their first year?
(Original post by nathan_nacu)
Yes, this !!!!!! 👁👄👁👆🏽
Do first year schemes!!! I did 6 first year schemes and was offered direct TC interviews at 3 firms as a result of them (2 magic circle and one US firm). They're a great way through the door early on! I've never had to do a vac scheme or tc application thanks to first year schemes and having a job offer early on is a huge relief meaning you can relax and enjoy uni the rest of the time!

First year DOES count! Law firms will ask for your grades in every module so they need to be 2.1s or above. The odd 2.2 is ok if unavoidable but try to aim as high as possible.

Get involved with societies and sports that you're interested in and run for positions such as first year reps etc. to gain experience early on.

Sign up to your uni law society and get involved in their events - mooting, negotiations etc.

Keep an eye out for law firms on campus doing evening presentations and law fairs - they start very early on so be prepared and take a suit to uni with you I went to a law firm presentation on the 3rd night of freshers - you have to be dedicated and prepared early on - do your research! Know which firms recruit on a rolling basis and which don't and prioritise applications accordingly. I used an excel spreadsheet to keep track.

If you don't already have one, create a linkedin it's a great way to keep in touch with people you meet at events/reach out to ask for help

If you're eligible, apply for schemes with companies such as Aspiring Solicitors and SEO London - their help was invaluable!
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I AM GROOT 1
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#18
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#18
(Original post by coffeeneeded27)
Do first year schemes!!! I did 6 first year schemes and was offered direct TC interviews at 3 firms as a result of them (2 magic circle and one US firm). They're a great way through the door early on! I've never had to do a vac scheme or tc application thanks to first year schemes and having a job offer early on is a huge relief meaning you can relax and enjoy uni the rest of the time!

First year DOES count! Law firms will ask for your grades in every module so they need to be 2.1s or above. The odd 2.2 is ok if unavoidable but try to aim as high as possible.

Get involved with societies and sports that you're interested in and run for positions such as first year reps etc. to gain experience early on.

Sign up to your uni law society and get involved in their events - mooting, negotiations etc.

Keep an eye out for law firms on campus doing evening presentations and law fairs - they start very early on so be prepared and take a suit to uni with you I went to a law firm presentation on the 3rd night of freshers - you have to be dedicated and prepared early on - do your research! Know which firms recruit on a rolling basis and which don't and prioritise applications accordingly. I used an excel spreadsheet to keep track.

If you don't already have one, create a linkedin it's a great way to keep in touch with people you meet at events/reach out to ask for help

If you're eligible, apply for schemes with companies such as Aspiring Solicitors and SEO London - their help was invaluable!
I wish I had known this before :facepalm:
Thank you
.....
Another cheeky question, what about first year going into second year
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coffeeneeded27
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#19
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#19
(Original post by I AM GROOT 1)
I wish I had known this before :facepalm:
Thank you
.....
Another cheeky question, what about first year going into second year
if you're on a 4-year course by any chance then you're still eligible for lots of 1st-year schemes in your 2nd year

Honestly, very much similar advice for vac scheme apps if you're on a 3-year course! Attend the evening presentations when they start (look on Warwick My Advantage which lists when and where they all are) and start thinking about the type of firm you want to work for and look to attend their presentations and apply to their open days. When applying to vac schemes it's about quality not quantity of applications - I'd advise around 6-8 well-tailored applications. Each one should take 20 hours including research, drafting and redrafting over and over lol

If you're not already involved in societies/sports then join some and take every opportunity thrown at you! Maybe do some volunteering with Warwick Volunteers?

Treat building up your commercial awareness as an extra uni module - I dedicated time each week where I sat in the library and worked on it as if it was an extra module. You can get a free subscription to the Financial Times online through Warwick, also use finimize, the books All You Need to Know about the City by Chris Stoakes and the Commerical Law Handbook by Jake Schrooger

Also, it's never too late to get involved with the law society so next year sign up to do the negotiations and mooting - you can sign up alone and get assigned a partner - i did this for negotiations and went on to win varsity with someone who had previously been a stranger!

Again through MyAdvantage you can find loads of really useful workshops for law apps such as building commercial awareness, mock assessment centres, etc.
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lawcalling
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#20
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#20
(Original post by I AM GROOT 1)
What are your top tips for law students in their first year?
(Original post by nathan_nacu)
Yes, this !!!!!! 👁👄👁👆🏽

I would agree with CN on this one! My four first year schemes (even though not with MC firms) enabled me to get vacation scheme interviews at all four firms (a good foot in the door) and was also a point if discussion in my three MC interviews. Top tip is to APPLY EARLY! Around 50% of apps come in in the last few days before the deadline - don't fine tune it for weeks, just leave your final version over night and read it afresh in the morning with a friend/parent.

First year 100% does count, if anything, it's more important than your overall degree classification (sorry to say it!). CN is right in that you can get away with one 2.2 module in first year, I did and still got my MC vac and others, however I think I would have received several more invites with the 2.2 module being a 2.1. Also, where my vac scheme apps were previously rejected by MC firms when I had a 2.1, the exact same firms invited me for interview when I reapplied with a first (so it definitely shows the power of grades).

Go for mooting, negotiation, debating etc and take on positions of responsibility early. If you get a position of responsibility don't just get it and do the role - do it to the best of your ability; try and introduce initiatives and if you can't then increase membership/satisfaction etc with what you have. Keep track of this as firms love you to quantify results in competency interviews.

Agree with CN on the Linkedin side of things.

I was also part of Aspiring Solicitors and Rare. Both were invaluable at helping me get my TC, the former was particularly good with Open Days and the latter really helped me with mock interviews (face-to-face). I would also take a look at The Corporate Law Academy, I never took any of their courses but they look fantastic from what I've seen on LinkedIn tasters! I would also suggest dipping into Know the City and Commercial Awareness by Christopher Stokes.
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