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Securing a Legal Training Contract

Like all other industries, the legal profession has been hit dramatically by the recession and, unfortunately, it is those who have recently entered the field who are paying the price. There are more and more graduates looking to apply for training contracts with top law firms, meaning that getting your foot in the door can be hard work.

However, once you’ve got a training contract, you’re on your way. With that in mind here are our top tips for making your application really appeal...

1) Work experience

As well as a sound academic record, it is vital that you have work experience before applying for a training contract with a prestigious law firm. It not only demonstrates your passion for the subject, but it makes you less of an investment risk – particularly if the firm are going to pay your training fees. Law firms will want to see evidence that you’ve gained exposure to the legal profession and that you’re still dedicated to doing well.

2) Do your research

Before applying anywhere for a contract, you should carefully consider which area of law you are interested in studying, and why. If you are lucky enough to be offered an interview, this will be one question your interviewer will definitely ask.

You should also investigate the company you are sending your application to. Although you will not be expected to know their entire history, it is advantageous to have a knowledge of their legal specialities.

3) Apply to appropriate firms

Do you want to study commercial law? Or is family law more your thing? While there is no right or wrong answer, it is important  to ensure that the companies you send your application to are firms that specialise in an area of law that you have a genuine interest in. Law is hard work, and you’ll be working with that company for a long period of time, so it is vital that you are passionate about what you do.

4) Think small-scale

Now we’re not saying that you should avoid the larger law firms altogether, but it is important to remember that more renowned companies will get thousands of applicants each year. While it is always good to aim high, it might also be worth considering a smaller, more local firm?

There are a number of benefits to doing this. You can reduce living costs by living with relatives or local friends and, more importantly, a firm with a smaller number of staff will probably give you a high level of responsibility within the company while you train. This is always great to have on your CV.

5) Professionalism

Law is a highly professional environment, so it is important that you can demonstrate that you have this particular quality in abundance from the moment you hand in your CV. All documentation that you provide should be grammatically accurate with flawless spelling, and you should make sure you have a number of strong references to call upon when required.

If you’re lucky enough to get an interview, make sure that you dress appropriately and that you turn up on time!


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Lucinda Borrell


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