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Training contract applications - Why do I keep getting rejected?

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  • Try applying for vacation schemes - summer, winter and easter schemes are available and you may have more luck given your current experience.

    Alternatively, try getting a non-legal internship with a big commercial brand name, e.g. PwC, RBS etc. That should help you get onto a vac scheme with a law firm, and will still help with TC applications even if you don't get any vac schemes.

    In general if I were you, I'd be prepared not to have a TC lined up before the end of uni, i.e. don't expect you'll go straight onto the LPC. I'd look at easier industries to get into as a graduate, where you can gain professional experience and keep applying for TCs. Don't be sucked into the LPC by law school providers - they just want your money and will tell you anything (i.e. misrepresent your chances of getting a TC)

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  • Very good question. I have spoken to so many graduate recruitment officers that say a 2:1 is our bench mark and that we look for more than just grades, for instance being part of a society such as a law society will make you stand out, but you do have to ask yourself if you run a society, do mooting, get good grades is it all taken into consideration or is it really just academic grades and the rest is secondary...

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  • Don't give up!

    Getting a 2:2 in first year is not that bad at all - especially as you can demonstrate that you have upped your game/ addressed this in second year. I think that must reflect very well.

    It's a tough market out there and it might be that you just aren't having any luck (as frustrating as that is!). Sounds like you're doing a good job on the applications - it's a numbers game in part... keep doing them.

    I would recommend setting yourself apart (and also "getting a foot in the door") via work experience - in my experience, it doesn't need to be formal vac schemes either. You can always walk into a smaller practice, introduce yourself and see where that gets you!

    Best of luck!

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  • It’s just really competitive. You’re looking at 5% or less chance of getting on vac schemes/training contracts from my experiences and this isn’t even at the large firms. And everyone that applies will have good A-levels, 2:1 degree, work experiences as a minimum.
    To stand a realistic chance of getting a training contract you really need to get on the vacation schemes at the firms you want a t/c- so make sure you send your applications off early. Applying for just the training contract on 31st July is the hard way of doing it. Also, select firms very carefully. Try ones which you have links to, ie. They sponsor your law school, run events, went to an open day, someone you know works there, you have connections to one of their clients, they work in areas of law you like, ect ect. Try to point something out to them which very few other applicants would think of. Your application may be of a good standard, but if it’s the same as everyone else then it’s nothing special.
    With regards to academics, I don’t think that plays a major part as long as you meet the minimum 2:1. They are just a tick in the box. They wont get you an interview/tc alone. But obviously without them you won’t get anywhere. I got rejected from Shoosmiths and have a 1st class law degree from redbrick uni, 6 legal work experiences 2 non-law work experiences, uni sporting achievements, 2 vac schemes (with one big international firm) and I didn’t get past online application stage. But I have a lot of other interviews lined up. So even a 1st will not get you a guaranteed interview ect. Firms will always most definitely look at non-academics to distinguish people meeting the minimum grade criteria.

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  • Work experience, work experience, work experience. Both vacation schemes and other, commercial experience which you use to demonstrate the transferrable skills you have learned. I also did as much temp work as a legal secretary as I could during the university holidays which interviewers also seemed to like. Anything that shows you have commercial experience and knowledge of a professional working environment helps a lot, I think. Good luck.

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  • can anyone out there who suffers from dyspraxia and meets all the minimum2.1 plus first in there LPC ever get considered lwt alone training contracts - are there firms out there prepared to give such students a chance

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  • Hi Guys,

    I saw all of the comments on my passing by and thought i would recount my story. I graduated in 2007 with a high 2:2 (a number of resits included) then got a pass on my LPC. Not an encouraging CV for many law firms.

    I spent the next 3 years working hard gaining hands on experience as a paralegal with different firms: one financial institution, one P.I ambulance chasing firm and one regional commercial.

    I used linkedin to make contacts with Partners of firms and asked for CV advice. That advice got me an interview and i have confidence in my ability (regardless of what a 3 hour paper says) and i passed the interview.

    I have just started my TC and im chuffed because ive stuck at it!

    So the message is: dont panic, work your strengths, develop yourself and persevere!

    Good Luck!

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  • Hi Sam - Great post. I wonder, how did you go about connecting with these partners on LinkedIn? It's something I've considered in the past, but haven't quite had the balls to do, assuming that the majority would just ignore me. I finished the LPC two years ago and so am beginning to feel the pressure re securing a t/c, especially as I don't currently work in the legal sector (but am volunteering weekends and evenings in a law centre and still attending lawworks training and conference). Any advice would be much appreciated!

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  • Hello Sam- I am sorry to hi-jack this blog, but I would like to say that I found your comments very encouraging. I am going into my second year (LLB).

    I had to quit my job a a year and a half ago due to breaking my back, rather than sitting around doing nothing I applied to the closest Uni to me (for travel reasons) and got in. My worry is that I am studying at UEL which is not very high in the "league".
    I really want to pursue a career in the legal sector but am worried that my CV will get binned as soon as my place of study is seen.
    Would you advise putting previous jobs on my CV? or save the space and put down roles that are relevant to law.
    I am 31 years old, joined the army at 16 but feel that maybe I should leave this off.

    Sorry for rabbiting on, and thank you all for all the informative posts. I never knew that this line of work was so so competitive...... good job I love competing.

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  • @Sam, That was so encouraging. I'm planning on doing the LPC this year and I was wondering whether I should even bother doing the LPC because it is so competitive to gain a TC. But thank you so much for that, I feel like this is a God given message.

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