Tips to get a training contract
I absolutely love working with trainees and playing a key part in their professional development; it’s extremely rewarding. However, finding a training contract is tough and unfortunately I can only help a very small number on their journey to qualification.
So here’s my top tips on securing a training contract:
- Be focussed and do your research. Decide where you want to work and the type of law firm you want to work for. You don’t need to know which area of law you want to specialise in, but you need to narrow it down to identify whether you want to work in a high street, regional or international firm. Many law firms look the same from the outside but it’s important to get to know them as much as possible so you can decide if they’re the right fit for you and be able to explain why you’ve applied to each of them.
- Quality over quantity. My advice would be to apply to 6-12 firms at any one time. Any more than this and you’re going to compromise the quality of your applications. Make sure you fully familiarise yourself with each firm’s application process and complete each application individually. Avoid copying and pasting from one form to another. Leave yourself enough time to allow you to think about the questions, re-write and proof read them.
- Network, network, network. Whilst this isn’t something that everyone finds easy, it’s really important to get yourself out there (in a socially-distanced way of course!). To be a credible applicant, you should be familiar with current issues facing the legal industry. For example, legal tech is a big discussion point in the industry at the moment. Try to connect with people who work for the law firms you want to apply to and see if they will give you some insight into working there (but don’t be a pest!). Make sure you’re actively using LinkedIn to expand your network.
- Sell yourself. Don’t be shy, if you don’t sell yourself, no-one else will. Spend some time self-reflecting before you apply and really try to identify the things you’re good at, and not so good at. When you complete your applications, make sure you’re telling the firm why they should recruit YOU. They’re not mind readers so if you don’t tell them why you’re brilliant, they won’t know!
- Know when to try a different approach. Whilst I’m a firm believer in not giving up, we all need a reality check from time to time. I see some CVs from individuals who have been trying for years and are just not getting what they want. Whilst I admire persistence, if you’re not getting anywhere you need to go back to the drawing board and re-evaluate your approach. Maybe you need to apply to a different type of firm, or look at alternative routes to qualification. Or maybe you don’t have enough relevant experience or you’re not selling yourself properly. If you don’t know what it is, you can’t fix it, so don’t shy away from it.
"The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results” - Einstein