I know as much as anyone how applying for a training contract can feel like stepping into a minefield. When TLT teamed up with Urban Lawyers to run an event helping students navigate applications, I jumped on the chance to sit on the panel and answer questions from those aspiring for a career in law.
Alongside me sat my fellow trainee Krish Khanna, Rabina Ahmed, Solicitor in our Financial Services team and advocate for BAME initiatives here at TLT, and Peter Richards-Gaskin, Partner and London training principal. I wanted to share some thoughts from all of us following the advice we shared on the night.
Have a clear goal in mind and plan a route to get there.
Start your application as soon as possible and get them in well in advance of the deadline: some firms recruit on a rolling basis.
Try and prioritise vacation scheme applications: as most firms tend to recruit their trainees off of those. If they don't, then it's still great experience and gives them a chance to see more of you over a week, than just interviews and assessment days.
Fire out applications to hundreds of firms. Adopt a targeted approach, select firms according to location, the sector specialisms you have interest in and a culture you think you would thrive in.
Copy and paste. Tailor your applications to each firm and write it according to their values and how they present themselves as a brand.
Be comfortable with your personality, there is no need to change yourself for an interview and assessment day and the chances are that if you do so, you will seem awkward and will stick out (and not in a good way).
We want to see you, not an image of what you think a trainee solicitor looks like.
Have a specific passion for the interviewing firm – your enthusiasm to be part of the firm should be evident. You can demonstrate this by going out of you way to meet people in various departments, coming to the interview with a strong understanding of the work carried out by the firm, knowledge of the firms key clients and the ability to recall major transactions/cases that the firm has been involved in.
Perhaps contact a trainee at the firm on LinkedIn; they can give incredibly helpful advice, being a people person is a part of the job and most lawyers will be only too happy to help.
Look at the firms sector specialisms and have something to say about each of them.
Lastly, be a nice person; yes it’s a competitive environment but being rude to others will not get you anywhere.
I’m final seat trainee solicitor, currently based in the Commercial Disputes team in Bristol.
I graduated with a degree in Law and Politics from the University of Manchester but secured a training contract with TLT in second year of uni, following my vacation scheme. TLT then sponsored my LPC/MSc.
I’ve had a well-rounded training contract which included seats in the Real Estate team, the Corporate team, the Commercial, Tech and IP team and the Commercial Disputes team.