Any advice for a law graduate?

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happydarling
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I completed my LLB study and achieved a 2:1 two years ago, but I have been unemployed since then. I would appreciate some suggestions as to how I may plan my career/life in the next few years.

In the past 2 years, I was able to put my 100% focus and effort in attending law fairs, researching law firms and crafting dozens of legal job applications for training contracts, vac schemes and paralegal/legal secretary roles at city firms and high street firms. Unfortunately, all I could secure was one unpaid internship (which was generally for university students but not graduates) at a high street firm last year.

I thought I had good potential for securing a training contract, as I was highly active in participating in many sorts of activities at university that demonstrated various competencies desired by city firms. I was also a member of a national team and obtained significant achievements. However, it appears to me that these are insufficient to pass the screening.

For the sake of my physical/mental/financial wellbeing, I realised that I cannot continue to devote 100% of myself to making endless applications. I didn't want to work a non-legal job, as it would be much less relevant to my career goal and might drain so much of my time and energy that I couldn't improve my applications. I'm considering working a event management/non-legal office admin job while I continue to make legal job applications, but I worry that law firms will doubt my passion for law and knowledge of the current legal world if I work a non-legal job for too long.

Are there any law graduates who are experiencing / experienced this stage of your career? How do / did you cope with this situation? I would appreciate any contribution.
Last edited by happydarling; 1 month ago
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Gmaster1980
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(Original post by happydarling)
I completed my LLB study and achieved a 2:1 two years ago, but I have been unemployed since then. I would appreciate some suggestions as to how I may plan my career/life in the next few years.

While I have been short of money because of my unemployment, I haven't had the immediate pressure to work a job I don't like, as my family is offering me food and shelter. In the past 2 years, I was able to put my 100% focus and effort in attending law fairs, researching law firms and crafting dozens of legal job applications for training contracts, vac schemes and paralegal/legal secretary roles at city firms and high street firms. Unfortunately, all I could secure was one unpaid internship (which was generally for university students but not graduates) at a high street firm last year.

I thought I had good potential for securing a training contract, as I was highly active in participating in many sorts of activities at university that demonstrated various competencies desired by city firms. I was also a member of a national team and obtained significant achievements. However, it appears to me that these are insufficient to pass the screening.

For the sake of my physical/mental/financial wellbeing, I realised that I cannot continue to devote 100% of myself to making endless applications. I didn't want to work a non-legal job, as it would be much less relevant to my career goal and might drain so much of my time and energy that I couldn't improve my applications. I'm considering working a event management/non-legal office admin job while I continue to make legal job applications, but I worry that law firms will doubt my passion for law and knowledge of the current legal world if I work a non-legal job for too long.

Are there any law graduates who are experiencing / experienced this stage of your career? How do / did you cope with this situation? I would appreciate any contribution.
I mean you might just write your applications badly? If someone tick all the boxes, that tends to be what lets them down in the end and is usually the key determinant for grad rec.
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happydarling
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(Original post by Gmaster1980)
I mean you might just write your applications badly? If someone tick all the boxes, that tends to be what lets them down in the end and is usually the key determinant for grad rec.
Thank you and I'm also aware of that possibility. That was why I paid career advisers to check my answers, CV and cover letters. Apart from some small areas that needed corrections, they all said my application materials were exceptional.

Some city firms that hired paralegals and high street firms only accepted CV, so I was wondering if the reason for rejections was something to do with my credentials and substantive experience. I have way more pro bono and legal work experience compared to an average fresh graduate. While I did not obtain a first or attend an elite university, I've been told that even getting a Distinction LLM at LSE wouldn't help my job applications.

I understand that it could take years to secure a TC, but I was disappointed when I realised during networking events that first class graduates from top unis who barely had any work experience or extracurricular achievements passed city firms' screenings and secured TCs at high street firms on their first attempts. I might have been given improper advice and should have focused more on my grades.

At this point, I'd do everything I could to improve my chance of securing a TC. It looks terrible to have a 2y+ career gap on my CV, but I also worry that working a job totally irrelevant to law might make it harder for me to justify my passion for a career in law.
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sublime-baths
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(Original post by happydarling)
Thank you and I'm also aware of that possibility. That was why I paid career advisers to check my answers, CV and cover letters. Apart from some small areas that needed corrections, they all said my application materials were exceptional.

Some city firms that hired paralegals and high street firms only accepted CV, so I was wondering if the reason for rejections was something to do with my credentials and substantive experience. I have way more pro bono and legal work experience compared to an average fresh graduate. While I did not obtain a first or attend an elite university, I've been told that even getting a Distinction LLM at LSE wouldn't help my job applications.

I understand that it could take years to secure a TC, but I was disappointed when I realised during networking events that first class graduates from top unis who barely had any work experience or extracurricular achievements passed city firms' screenings and secured TCs at high street firms on their first attempts. I might have been given inappropriate advice and should have focus more on my grades.

At this point, I'd do everything I could to improve my chance of securing a TC. It looks terrible to have a 2y+ career gap on my CV, but I also worry that working a job totally irrelevant to law might make it harder for me to justify my passion for a career in law.
Okay, what type of law are you looking to go into? I suspect you might be spreading yourself too thinly sacrificing quality for quantity.
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happydarling
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I'm looking to go into commercial and corporate law. I achieved high 2:1 grades in both of these modules in my final year. However, I only achieved a low 2:1 overall and have 2 first year modules capped at 40. I was told that grades don't matter much as long as I got a 2:1 overall, but I suspect my grades might be making my applications less attractive to firms.

In the past year, I've made vac scheme/TC applications to 5 city firms and 2 high street firms in addition to 4 paralegal applications, all of which were rejected at the screening stage. I attended webinars where lawyers from these city firms talked about their firms and the latest challenges they faced. I also conducted online research on all the firms that I applied to. I did, or attempted to, demonstrate my understanding of the firms, my achievements and how my values aligned with theirs in my applications whenever possible.

I purchased successful TC application answers and compared those with mine. Apart from the fact that I didn't mention any city firms' prominent deals, which weren't included in every successful answer that I purchased anyway, my answers weren't much worse than those.
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happydarling
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(Original post by sublime-baths)
Okay, what type of law are you looking to go into? I suspect you might be spreading yourself too thinly sacrificing quality for quantity.
I forgot to quote your response. Please see my reply above.
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pandalovesyouu
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What uni did you go to? I’m planning to do law at Manchester Uni but my biggest fear is not being able to lane a job after my degree
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happydarling
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(Original post by pandalovesyouu)
What uni did you go to? I’m planning to do law at Manchester Uni but my biggest fear is not being able to lane a job after my degree
I achieved good AL grades and attended a lower ranking non RG uni. My AL grades were good enough for me to attend a better uni, but I chose to study there because of other reasons. I was told that it didn't matter where one studied law, unless it was Oxbridge or LSE. I'm not sure to what extent this is accurate. Perhaps someone with practical experience in the legal sector could advise you on this.
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Millerrules
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I don't know anything about it, but I think the best thing for you to do is to get a job as a government lawyer or any law firm to get experience as well as a client base. It’ll help you get into this business, and if you decide to start your own firm, it’ll be a lot easier for you, or you can stay in the company you work for and try to make yourself famous there, and then get into a better-known firm. I'm from Jersey and if I were you, I would strive to get to work for New Brunswick Criminal Attorneys as they are considered the best in our state, and getting experience working for them is very valuable.
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sublime-baths
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(Original post by happydarling)
I'm looking to go into commercial and corporate law. I achieved high 2:1 grades in both of these modules in my final year. However, I only achieved a low 2:1 overall and have 2 first year modules capped at 40. I was told that grades don't matter much as long as I got a 2:1 overall, but I suspect my grades might be making my applications less attractive to firms.

In the past year, I've made vac scheme/TC applications to 5 city firms and 2 high street firms in addition to 4 paralegal applications, all of which were rejected at the screening stage. I attended webinars where lawyers from these city firms talked about their firms and the latest challenges they faced. I also conducted online research on all the firms that I applied to. I did, or attempted to, demonstrate my understanding of the firms, my achievements and how my values aligned with theirs in my applications whenever possible.

I purchased successful TC application answers and compared those with mine. Apart from the fact that I didn't mention any city firms' prominent deals, which weren't included in every successful answer that I purchased anyway, my answers weren't much worse than those.
Grades definitely do matter. Getting a 2:1 is the bare minimum. So I think you’re fighting an uphill battle there. Those two 40s will need to be explained too - you might be asked about them in an interview and you should think about your response now.

The first point to iron out is what stage you’re failing at. It seems like you’re stuck at the application stage which means the people who have reviewed your applications and told you they’re excellent are wrong.

Generally, stick to a SAR approach for when you’re giving examples of your competencies. Explain the Situation. Explain your Actions. Explain the Result. Feel free to DM me an example and I’ll take a look. I’d always advise discussing a recent case/deal and explain why it’s interesting to you (i.e. google the deal and you’ll usually find something unique to say from articles/etc).
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