in Training Contracts, Pupillage and Work Experience

Advice to a Paralegal looking for a Training Contract

Question:

Hi there – I would be very grateful if you could please give me so advice. I feel as if my law career is going nowhere. I have nearly 3 years continuous paralegal experience which i have gained in different departments. I spent 2 and a half years with one firm and i have recently started in a new firm. I have applied for numerous training contracts and don’t seem to be getting anywhere. I am at the point of giving up. I was wondering whether it was my CV that was letting me down. Is it possible you could have a look at this for me please and comment on it. I have attached it for your consideration. Any advice would be gratefully received.. I have also thought about re-doing my A levels  as the results I  gained were not fantastic and again I feel these have let me down. I did discuss this with my old boss and he said that as I had done them 10 years ago and also because I have quite a lot of experience now then my A levels are not really a factor, but I cant help wondering  if redoing them would stand me in good stead. Where do I go from here??? How can I make myself more marketable and stand out from the crowd???
 
Answer:

This lawyer has a reasonable CV, laid out OK with plenty of experience in law firms as a paralegal in a very marketable department (wills & probate). This is a very common issue at present, with there being so many LPC and LLB graduates out there looking for training contracts and paralegals spending a couple of years or more working within a law firm doing efffectively the same job as a trainee, albeit in one department, whilst looking for a training contract.
 
Do not give up. Your CV is not the problem I suspect, as it is informative, well set out, and although could do with a bit of tweaking to add in further information about your roles to date, it may be something else that is holding you back. Your interview technique can’t be that bad either, as you have already attended legal job interviews and been recruited!
 
To get the experience you have had in the last few years is an achievement in itself, congratulations. There are a lot of graduates out there who are unable to even get this.
 
Have you contacted the Law Society yet to get the paperwork through to reduce the length of any training contract you may need to do? The form used to be called the TC8… You may be able to get 6 months reduction, and if you can agree this in advance, it is a really good marketing point when sending through your CV – ie you will only need an 18 month training contract.
 
Have you considered speaking to the Institute of Legal Executives? It may be an option to consider their route if you continue to be unsuccessful in obtaining a training contract. There are exemptions from various stages of the training, and you may be more successful persuading an employer to consider you a legal executive than a trainee solicitor. Once you have attained Fellowship status, the switch to solicitor status is very easy if you have the LPC already…
 
Have you made yourself mobile when looking for a training contract? Not many around South Wales, although if you move further afield, eg into London and the home counties, you may stand more success.
 
How committed have you been to finding a training contract? It can take a long time and lots of interviews to secure one…. Have a read of our free guide (downaloadable from www.ten-percent.co.uk/careersshop). This really does work if you remain committed to it, although it is naturally much harder to get the time to carry through the various techniques if you are already in work.
 
Try to market yourself as a wills & probate fee earner, as you have this to offer to a firm, which the vast majority of graduates do not.
 
Do not redo your A Levels – although they may affect your career resitting them will make little difference when you have the experience you do already… The same applies to your degree classification, although some of the larger firms will not consider you particularly favourably with this (2.2). Legal recruitment consultants only tend to be able to assist experienced fee earners, but it may be that we are able to help you as a candidate with your experience to date.

Author: Jonathan Fagan MIRP MAC Cert RP LLM Solicitor (non-practising) – Managing Director of Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment (www.ten-percent.co.uk) – save time, skip the legal job boards and register with us! Jonathan Fagan is a specialist legal recruitment consultant, author of the Complete Guide to Writing a Legal CV and the Guide to Interviews for Lawyers. He has recruited for law firms across the UK and overseas in all shapes and sizes. If you have any questions that we have not covered above, please email us at cv@tenpercent.co.uk

Jonathan Fagan

Jonathan Fagan LLM FIRP is Managing Director of Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment. He has been recruiting solicitors and legal support staff for law firms and in house legal departments for over 17 years and handles roles from junior fee earners through to partners and law firm sales/purchases. A non-practising solicitor on the Roll since 2000, he is also the author of a number of legal career books, which are available at www.legalcareercoaching.co.uk. You can contact Jonathan at cv@ten-percent.co.uk