I should start by saying that I haven’t always been successful in my legal endeavours. It’s taken many badly written applications for vacation schemes, mini-pupillages and open days as well as jobs. There is no doubt law is competitive, some firms have in excess of 1000 applicants for less than 50 places! It takes many mistakes and failures to be successful, and the trainees and partners and associates I’ve met have said that it took them more than a few goes until they received their training contract.
Work experience & volunteering
The key to success is experience of any sort, whether that be in a shop environment, or in a restaurant or even through a mini-pupillage and vacation scheme. Having experience of this sort strengthens applications as it demonstrates transferable skills, such as teamwork, leadership, innovation and communication. These are all valued within the legal sector and all very important skills to have in law.
One of the most important things when breaking into the law is networking. This is because you can connect, communicate and form relationships with firms and chambers before you apply and even after which not only looks great to prospective employers as is demonstrates that you can not only act properly around solicitors, partners and barristers but also build relationships which is valuable in firms as it is necessary to develop relationships with clients.
I cannot stress this enough how vital it is to research firms and chambers before applying, it shows to the firm that you not only know the firm but understand the work they do, who they do it for and why. In training contract applications and pupillage applications, there will be questions inviting knowledge of your research and in order to be successful, you need to be able to demonstrate this. You can illustrate your research by integrating it into your reasoning as to why you are suitable for the firm and link it to the qualities they look for in future employees and applicants.
Finally, stay motivated and don’t give up, everyone has been rejected but you must pick yourself up and reflect and move on, it’s the only way you will be successful in law!