The Student Room Group

High 2:2 - less than 0.2% from 2:1

Hi all,

I am a mature student who decided to change my career in law.
I have been getting in mid 60s and a few in 70% in my courses. However, I almost failed a final-year course that dragged my overall grade to 2:2 (less than 0.2% from a 2:1).
What are the chances of securing a TC or even getting an LLM to mitigate my 2:2?
Reply 1
Hi Steve,

The answer with lots of this is very much "it depends". First one to check, is it 100% confirmed you have a 2.2? Some universities have grading systems where if you just miss the 60% boundary but have enough modules over 60% you get upgraded to a 2.1?

What area of law are you looking to work into? The 2.2 isn't helpful but can be worked around to some degree, *if* the rest of your application is very strong. This will take persistence, dedication and some luck along the way too. Gaining plenty of exposure to legal services through vac schemes and other work experience is going to be really important.

It's probably going to be a bit of a slog and you need to commit to spending a couple of years applying, strengthening your CV and gaining practical legal work experience and roles along the way. Gaining a TC is tough even for the strong candidates on paper. For a bit of context back when I was applying many years ago I had top notch A levels, a RG 2.1, around 5 different pieces of vac schemes and other legal work, and I interviewed reasonably well (though far from exceptionally) - it took around 30 applications and around 10-15 interviews to gain my TC. (although I was *very* lucky to get this in my first season of applications.)

Have you been making vac scheme/work exp applications to various law firms already? These are a good guide to TC success - the competitive ones with formal application processes are just as competitive as TC application so if you are suceeding or making final rounds for the Vac schemes, that is a good sign.

As a mature student did you have a previous career that lets you draw across transferable skills and experience? If you do this is your *big* advantage as a candidate and you need to make the most of it - show what you have that others don't.

I would not bother with a LLM at all. With very few exceptions these are only useful or relevant for an academic career or for general academic interest. From a career perspective they don't add any strength to your application and your time and money is far better spent gaining practical work experience, paralegalling etc...

Hopefully that helps a a starter for 10.
Reply 2
Hi, thank you so much for your detailed feedback!

Unfortunately, my grade has been confirmed by the school and tried an academic appeal that didn't work out. The best I could get is to have my year tutor to give me a reference explaining my situation and how close I was to getting a 2:1.

I am an international, in my previous career I did mostly ESG / Corporate social responsibility on supply chain management for US / UK retail and fashion brands. I had couple month of internship as a legal assistant for a criminal lawyer in Canada.

I was thinking of getting into shipping and maritime law ( my commercial, company and arbitration law is the mid-60 range). But getting a 2:2 probably ends such a path. Therefore I am thinking of diving back into ESG field and getting an ESG-related LLM in order to practice in this specialize area.
Reply 3
Original post by Steve_Jays
Hi all,

I am a mature student who decided to change my career in law.
I have been getting in mid 60s and a few in 70% in my courses. However, I almost failed a final-year course that dragged my overall grade to 2:2 (less than 0.2% from a 2:1).
What are the chances of securing a TC or even getting an LLM to mitigate my 2:2?


I think that what will matter most is to show that you have a genuine interest in that firm. You should also be aware of the firms that have grade requirements or not. Even those that have a 2:1 as a grade requirement accept mitigating circumstances and they might look at your journey holistically taking everything you have done into account rather than just your grades. For your application to stand out, you will really need to emphasise why you want to join the firm, why you have chosen a career in commercial law and why you? I found this video (free) on some questions you might find on an application form about firm specific motivation questions. Hope it helps:
Reply 4

The previous career experience is definitely useful and you'll want to draw out the interactions you've had with commercial supply chain partners and ESG/other regulatory requirements in your previous role. Make sure this comes across strongly on any applications you make.

You shouldn't get too focused or targeted on specific areas of law like shipping etc... because law firms don't recruit to that level of specialism at TC level. Based on the areas you've mentioned you need to look at the general world of commercial law firms and get applying.

Unless you want to do a LLM purely for personal or academic interest I wouldn't recommend doing an ESG LLM - It is very unlikely to make any difference to your career prospects in law, or ability to gain a TC. You'd be far better served working in a legal role (even a very basic one) to gain practical experience - this also has the advantage of earning, rather than costing money!.

On ESG more widely - Whilst it's obviously your background and an important issue facing many corporates, it's not really it's own area of law, more of a theme that touches on parts of lots of different areas of law. What I mean is that on a training contract you will not do an ESG Seat, nor will much, or even any of your work have any ESG relevance. Typically in a law firm anyone marketed as an ESG lawyer will be a lawyer with a core specialism such as corporate, property, or projects etc.. who also covers some ESG tangents as a *small* part of their role. Environmental law is its own separate area in turn but it also quite niche (with very limited seats available on a TC, if any, and teams will focus on land/chemical contamination, planning, pollution & disposal permits etc... rather than wider ESG advice.

Being a lawyer working in commercial practice is not being an ESG professional, and those lawyers who do work on aspects of ESG matters in law firms will almost always have worked for many years in their core specialism before taking on an additional ESG mandate.
(edited 4 months ago)
Reply 5
Hi, thank you so much for sharing your insight.

If a specialized ESG LLM not being the best option, would a commercial law-focused LLM be helpful instead? What about getting the NY bar or SQE would increase the chance of getting a TC?
Reply 6

I wouldn't consider any LLM if you wanted to improve your chances of obtaining a TC - I touched on this above, they don't add any strength to your application and they won't help you get a TC. What you need is practical legal work experience, either paralegalling, vac schemes or anything else in the legal sector that shows a commitment to a legal career.

Ditto re the NY Bar - it's a specialist qualification to practice in NY or otherwise advise on NY governed documents and issues. With some very, very specific exceptions (a tiny number of senior and experienced English lawyers with a truly cross border UK/US practice may find it useful) it's not relevant to UK legal practice and no advantage on a TC application.

I qualified under the LPC route so I'm a little less familiar with the specifics of SQE timing, but there were competing schools of thought as to whether the LPC was worth doing prior to landing a TC, or waiting until you'd got one. Given the additional flexibility of the SQE I'd be leaning more towards waiting until you have a TC to do it, but others might have a more recent and up to date view on this.

You do need to break out of the mindset that collecting an assortment of extra qualifications, LLMs, foreign bar exams etc... is the key to improving your CV and obtaining that TC. It isn't, and they won't help.

I can't stress enough the important of practical legal work experience (this is particularly important to offset your 2.2 and show law firms that your degree grade doesn't matter because you've demonstrated you can do the job in practice). Get applying for all the vac schemes & parallegalling opportunities that you can. That's what you need to do.
(edited 3 months ago)
Reply 7
Thank. It seems legal related workshop is the only path. It is kinda funny that I already took a job (corporate, but not legal related) to accumulate work experience after a hiatus during my study. I have heard people said taking summer annual leave for vacation scheme :smile:.

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