If you are an aspiring solicitor, you may well have spent many hours labouring away on lengthy training contract applications, but have found that you just aren’t getting anywhere. Despite the UK seeing a recent boost in the number of training contracts compared to previous years, these figures are still very far from the yearly number of people graduating with a law degree.
With both my personal and professional hats on, I’ve come up with a list of things that you might not have considered, that could increase your chances of success.
1. Securing a permanent role as a paralegal
One excellent way to increase your chances of a training contract is to work as a paralegal. Applying to paralegal positions confirms your interest in law firms and proves to them that you are dead set on a legal career. There is a definite trend in firms preferring trainees who have gained valuable experience as a paralegal beforehand (refer to my colleague David Bloom’s blog of 1 December 16). One reason for this is because after gaining practical experience, you’ll be far more productive from the very first day of your training contract. All law firms are focusing on efficiency and productivity these days. Many paralegals decide to pursue a training contract at the firm they are currently working at. Although the recruitment process for training contracts is typically the same for internal and external candidates, the knowledge of the firm and the skills that you learnt during your employment as a paralegal, should give you the edge over candidates without these skills or knowledge. If, as the majority of paralegals do, you apply for a training contract at a different firm you will still have an advantage over others that don’t have this crucial experience.
As a paralegal you should try to get fully involved in the firm’s pro bono activities so you meet a broad range of individuals, both clients and other lawyers, and as a result you will have more to talk about in your training contract applications and interviews.
Moreover, paralegal experience may even enable you to gain solicitor status via the Solicitors Regulation Authority equivalent means initiative, provided you complete the LPC (but with no need to secure a training contract!). Again see more details of this route to qualification in my colleague Claire Watt’s blog on 8th September ‘16. Read more...