Business & Finance Careers & Employment

Finding a Training Contract in the UK

Two times a year, legal firms in the UK start the legal recruitment process that allows aspiring solicitors to attain the mandatory two year training contract one must have to progress and become a solicitor. For many aspirants, these are tense, nerve-wracking months - every year the vacancies are fewer and the pool of applicants gets bigger and bigger.

Being selected for legal recruitment will need quite a bit of work from you. Prior to even applying for any legal jobs, make sure you have the good grades as well as sufficient documented extra-curricular work. With such a high level of competition for the few available vacancies, these are necessary prerequisites without which you will make your application be rejected and you will not have a chance to proceed. Many firms are looking for more than a one-dimensional person to work for them. Having diverse interests outside while still being able to maintain good grades is what is considered as a good indicator to legal recruitment firms since it proofs that you will be able to handle the workload while still maintaining a fulfilling life.

Secondly for each firm that you plan to apply to, make sure you have done your research about it carefully and have a fair understanding of the firms’ culture, history and norms. Many corporate firms have a large number of lawyers from the higher echelons of society and as such their work cultures follow. Will you be able to fit in such a firm or is it better for you to apply for legal recruitment elsewhere? You should understand the culture and as such this is what will determine whether you can apply there.

Expect to wait at least two years before finding a legal recruitment placement, so start sending out your applications early. It is increasingly rare to land a training contract on the first try. Make sure you apply to a number of firms. It is normal to have some firms rejected the application since it is the first time you apply, but legal recruitment being as it is, you must not give up hope – keep reapplying! Your tenacity will eventually pay off. Remember to have a number of your “b” and “c” choice firms on your list.

There are many online boards and legal recruitment firms one can apply to, for training contracts and good old fashioned leg work will also come in handy. After writing your applications, try to follow up with a phone call and/or visit to the firm. Try to meet the partner you applied to. If you are lucky and are granted an interview, make a good impression – dress well and be ready to subtly market yourself in the conversation. The first impression may be the only chances you have therefore make sure it works in your favor!

With the downturn in the world economy, the UK has of course been affected, but do not let this discourage you. There are still many legal recruitment opportunities available. The key is to remember what you are after and not give up no matter how discouraging the legal jobs field may seem.


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