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Our top tips for Legal Training Contract applicants

View profile for Olivia Parkinson
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Our top tips for Legal Training Contract applicants

In this article, Trainee Solicitor Olivia Parkinson outlines her top tips to training contract applicants and discusses her experience as a trainee so far.

Routes to qualification

A career in law is not an easy one to achieve and navigating your way through the process to become a solicitor often adds to the challenge.

With the introduction of the Solicitors Qualifying Exam (SQE) as a new route to qualifying, the process has arguably never been as confusing as it is right now.

However, to continue to follow the standard route is still an option as the LPC (Legal Practice Course) will continue to stay available to anyone who is currently already studying.

If you have already started a qualifying law degree, GDL or training contract there are transition arrangements in place until 31 December 2032 to qualify as a solicitor under the current routes, as long as courses still remain available.

How to apply for a training contract

There is no doubt that training contract applications are an incredibly time consuming and mentally draining process, especially when you are being met with rejections or even no response at all.

That’s why I’ve provided some tips below to help make the process a bit smoother.

Best practices for the application process

Firstly, write down a list of all the local law firms (for you this might be firms in Christchurch and Bournemouth), then go through each of them and see which of them stand out to you and where you think you would be a good fit (and vice versa).

If there is a certain niche area of law you are particularly interested in, do some research as to which law firms practice in this area, and ensure they are at the top of your list for applications.

Quick tips

Stay positive, think of the end goal and don’t give up!

Set yourself a reminder of the deadlines for each firm you have an interest in and make sure you have enough time to dedicate to your application.

You only get one shot to stand out with each firm, make it count.

Training Contract Applications: How to stand out

One of the ways to stand out to a firm is to do your research on them.

Not only will this show that you are interested in the work they do, but it will also confirm that it is somewhere you personally want to work.

You should tailor your cover letter to the firm you are applying for, based on the research you have done.

Tell them why you think they are a good firm to work for, but also why you would be a good addition to the team.

Commercial awareness

Having an understanding of who the firm’s competitors are and the legal sphere locally as a whole will be an impressive talking point for the firm and can make potential trainees stand out.

Be prepared to talk to them about recent case law that has sparked your interest or how events that are ongoing in the news relates back to how the law is operating.

This will demonstrate that you are commercially minded, interested and engaged in the line of work and are able to see the firm in the bigger picture.

Tips for your Cover Letter

The cover letter is often the thing that prospective employers will read first so you want to make sure that it is eye catching and an interesting read.

Add some bits about why you think the firm is a good fit for you and why you think you are a good fit for the firm, and do not be modest!

Tips for your CV

Your CV is where you can really highlight your skills and is your time to shine!

If a firm gives a minimum grade they require and you don’t quite meet that, do not let it put you off.

Apply anyway, it may be that you are able to demonstrate other skills that override the academic achievements… Not everyone is good at exams!

What type of trainee are legal firms looking for?

Ultimately, firms are also looking for driven and determined trainees for them to put time, effort and ultimately money into training.

Make sure these aspects of you come across in your cover letter and CV.

What’s my experience as a Trainee Solicitor?

I am currently in my second training seat at Frettens, residing in the Dispute Resolution department in our Christchurch office, having done my first seat in the Company and Commercial Team.

I have loved every second of my training contract so far. I have instantly felt a valued member of every team that I have started a seat with.

My training has been very hands on, I have been given all of the guidance I need to feel confident in dealing with matters independently.

Interested in becoming a Trainee at Frettens?

Olivia Parkinson says: “Frettens look for bright individuals who are able to communicate effectively with their clients.

It is not all about what grade you were able to achieve at university, it is refreshing to work for a law firm that cares more about who you are as a person.”

Training contracts in Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole

We are currently looking for ambitious and bright trainees to start their training contracts with us in September 2023 and September 2024.

We are looking for trainees who have excellent communication skills and are able to work successfully with clients and colleagues, from either our Christchurch or Ringwood office.

For more information and application details, click here.

Applications need to be submitted by 30th June 2022.

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