Tag - Training Contract

Thinking about a career in law? 5 Top Application Boosters

Read a good newspaper

Law is an integral part of modern life and plays a huge part in current events. Simultaneously, the law has to react to major developments in the world in order to function successfully. A good lawyer must keep themselves informed about a Read a quality newspapervariety of topics, from politics to finance. Law firms, therefore, are looking for applicants who have a broad understanding of major news stories. Reading quality newspapers such as The Times, The Financial Times and The Telegraph will help you discuss current affairs in an intelligent and detailed manner.

Don’t neglect your hobbies

“All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” Law firms are looking for people they want to work with, rather than legal robots. Taking up a sport, learning a craft or volunteering for a local cause are all great ways to boost your application and help you stand out as an individual. Moreover, you can develop your talents, creativity, or team work skills, all while having fun!

Attend an insight day or open evening

With a huge variety of law graduate jobs, both in terms of specific practice fields and types of law firms and barrister chambers, it’s important to show that you know where and why you want to work at a specific firm. Many employers offer opportunities to find out more about what they do, such as open evenings. By attending these, you can gain a sense of what it would be like to work at a firm and build relationships with the lawyers currently working there. This means that upon application, you can show that you understand the working environment and can explain exactly why it is suited to you.

Brush up on your interview techniques

An interview is an important part of any application process and you should use it to really make a positive impression. Make sure you are prepared to answer any questions about your written application. A good thing to do is to read through it beforehand, imagine you are the interviewer, and think about what you would ask. Take a moment to think through any questions, and don’t be afraid to say you don’t know the answer – recruiters will know immediately if you are bluffing, so it’s better to just be honest. If you’re not feeling confident about an interview, make use of your university or college’s career service, as they can offer mock interviews and tailored advice.

Look out for tick-160426_640errors

Grammatical errors and spelling mistakes can be fatal to your applications. Graduate recruiters receive thousands of applications, and distinguishing between them can be really difficult. Misspelling a word provides them with an easy way to reject you; if you don’t check your application, which is really important for you, are you going to properly check a legal document which doesn’t personally affect you? Read over each application a number of times and don’t just rely on a spellchecker.

Advertisements

Applications are a second job

I work full time and what should be a 9-5 job ends up being much longer hours, but this is the life of a paralegal working at a silver circle firm. So making time for training contract applications and actually having a life outside of work can actually feel like they are jobs in themselves!  How do you fit it all in?

For me, it’s about balance. You really do need to look at everything you have to do in front of you, and plan your time effectively, and not be lazy. But I’m sure this is no big revelation to any of you! If you want something badly, you HAVE to put in the effort. It’s just the same as work, if you want a promotion you put in the effort. If you want a training contract, you put in the effort. And it will pay off.

Congratualtions to all of you that have Vac schemes coming up, prepare well for them. Knowledge can impress potential recruiters. And remember the majority of training contract deadlines are coming up in July, so get moving and think to yourself you’re almost there!

Good luck!

I found a job on Twitter…

Yes, you read that right.

For all of you law graduates that are out there and struggling to find even a paralegal position, I want you to read this post and think ‘This could happen to me!’ In a time when legal jobs are at their most competitive, you have to explore every opportunity in front of you. I chose Twitter to do this.

I found one mysterious tweet saying ‘A little birdie told me Eversheds has paralegal positions going…’ and an email address was given along with this tweet. I seized the opportunity and applied speculatively at first, inquiring if any positions were available and attaching my CV along with the email. I was told that it was the Litigation department that was recruiting paralegals and I thought ‘Perfect!’ – it’s where my background lies and the area in which my strengths are based.

I had a telephone call a couple of weeks later inviting me to interview, which I attended in November. The interview was fairly tough, over 15 competency based questions and many overlapped so I tried to expand every answer and give examples from every job I’ve had in law…along with trying to build rapport with my interviewer! A week later I was offered the position and I accepted, with no regrets yet. One thing about Eversheds was that I was completely surprised by the way everyone I met at the firm was so friendly and professional. Even now, two weeks into the job, I feel exactly the same way.

So I’ve now moved half way across the country, from Kent to Yorkshire to pursue a six month contract as a Litigation Paralegal with Eversheds, and I am loving it. I may joke about my social life being over since being given a Blackberry for my work emails, but in reality this is the job I have been working to for so many years and hopefully it paves the way to a training contract. I look forward to the late hours and putting in the effort because only I know how hard I have worked to get here….as I’m sure every one of you has too! And you know what, a job will not come and sit on your doorstep, you need to be dedicated and go out on the hunt, and not half-heartedly!

 

Social media, anecdotes and questions…

I don’t know about you but sometimes I really struggle to think of questions to ask at firms that I’m interviewing with. There’s such a vast knowledge base to research before you actually go in for the interview itself, that occasionally I draw a blank because I feel like I already know the firm and associates without having even entered the premises. (Please note: there’s a fine line between researching and stalking!)

So where do you do your research? Google is the obvious choice of search engine. The power of Google is almighty! But you will also need to think outside of the box, research online news sites, follow the partners on LinkedIn, connect on Twitter, read the firm’s blog (if they have one), newspaper articles, do the full works and it will help you be more prepared! It’s also become more and more important to have a social media presence online, so start making accounts but always remember to keep them professional! The law firm I worked at in New York would Google search any candidates that applied, digging for dirt and inappropriate pictures, so I know first-hand that it happens.

Last month I actually had the partner of a law firm I applied to send me a friendship request on Facebook only an hour after I had sent them my application. It’s a difficult situation to determine: on one hand the partner is doing his research on you and you wouldn’t want him to make a pre-determination about you based on Facebook pictures or comments you’ve made in the past. BUT, you also don’t want to hinder yourself from getting an interview! The way I dealt with it was to explain to an associate (who had emailed me to say they were considering my application, and had mentioned the partner’s Facebook request) that I was grateful for the request but that I use Twitter and LinkedIn in a professional capacity, and not Facebook. It was a risk that I took by doing this but I had to stick to my guns, although I am sure that some of you may read this and disagree. But I still don’t regret my decision and I think that’s the important thing.

So I also wanted to extend the offer to all of you who read mine, Greg’s, Liam’s and Mark’s blogs, that should you have any questions at all feel free to ask me. You can comment on any of my posts or tweet me here. I would love to have more interaction with all of you or even if there are any topics you’d like me to discuss then please do get in touch and let me know!

The waiting game with interviews…

The legal world is a waiting game.

You wait to hear back from applications you’ve made, you wait to hear back from interviews you’ve been to and you wait to start your training contract (in the majority of cases, unless there is an immediate start for a lucky few!)

When I was in my final three months of my internship in New York I started making applications as I wanted to secure a job for when I returned home. I updated the CV, refreshed my covering letters and tailored them to whomever I was applying to.

One thing about me: I really believe that technology and technological mediums are the way forward. I applied to a worldwide innovative technology company for a paralegal position and obtained a Skype interview with them. It made me feel like I was making a move forward in some ways: 1) that a major corporation potentially wanted to employ me and 2) that they were happy to interview me via Skype and not in person. I waited three weeks for a response and was told that I would not be advancing to the next round because another candidate had more experience and was available at lesser notice [*sad face*]… However, the company told me to get in touch when I returned to the UK and that there may be another role at the company available to me, however it would be non-legal….I weighed up my options and decided to go for the interview, I figured at least I could meet those who Skype interviewed me in person, as it never hurts to network! With the role being non-legal though I had some doubts as I had undertaken the internship so my chances in the legal world would be greater rather than branching away from law. Needless to say I chose not to take this position (but to my advantage as I had greater things, more suited to my experience, to come my way!)

Ultimately, what I want you to take away from this post is to:

  • Be patient;
  • Be flexible;
  • Be confident;
  • Network your butt off!
  • Take rejection as a stepping stone to learn and grow from your mistakes;
  • Analyse the interviews you’ve had, always think how you could have answered the questions better;
  • Don’t script your answers, be real in the interview and don’t pretend to be someone you’re not;
  • Remember that sometimes it’s not you, it’s the company;
  • Never underestimate your competition;
  • And always remember that if you are called to interview that the company like you on paper, you need to prove to them you’re the right fit in person.

Currently, I’m waiting again. I interviewed with a small firm in Central London three weeks ago and was told not to be concerned if I didn’t hear back from the firm for 1-2 weeks for a second interview. But coming up to three weeks now I’m getting concerned! Questions such as, ‘Should I contact them? Maybe I interviewed terribly? Was I not enthusiastic enough? Were the other candidates better than me?’ all cross my mind, but you have to put them to rest. You need to have the confidence in yourself to believe in yourself. If you can’t believe then how can a potential employer believe in you?? I’ve never wanted to work for a company more than this firm, I think they are fantastic but what’s done is done. Hopefully I purveyed my enthusiasm for the position and all I can do now is cross my fingers. I have my fingers crossed for all of you as well!

 

Pannone Trainee Diary & Profile

Pannone have kindly allowed us to republish one of their graduate diaries. You can see the other trainee diaries here. There are 6 diaries in total; two testimonials from Pannone trainees who progressed from the position of paralegal to trainee and four Pannone trainees who have written a summary of their typical working day.

A day in the life of a Pannone Trainee

Richard Hill: Second Year Trainee, Pannone
Seats to Date: Dispute Resolution, Construction and Corporate
University: King’s College London
Degree and Class:  BA Hons 1(1)

8.45 am – I arrive at work, check my emails and see if anything urgent has come in that I should deal with immediately. I check my “to do” list and add any extra tasks that appear in my emails.  I grade my “to do” list in order of importance (on a scale of one to four with one being the most importance) so that I know which tasks to do first.

9.00 am – This morning I am drafting a third party legal charge for one of our clients who wishes to obtain a charge in order to secure the goods that they sell to a third party prior to them receiving payment for these goods.  I have had plenty of experience drafting such security and I am confident that I will get this done in around one hour.

richard-hill

10.00 am – Reminders that I have set up in my outlook calendar remind me that I need to perform winding up searches and check the filing histories of several companies.  It is important to check a company’s filing history and to do winding up searches on the day that a transaction is set to complete in order to ensure that there have been no last minute changes to the company that is being acquired.  There are no new filings for the companies and the winding up searches are clear, I therefore update the Partner leading the transaction of this, so that he knows that the transaction can proceed.

10.20 am – One of the partners in the Corporate Finance team asks me if I am able to assist on a transaction that is due to complete next week.  The completion of transactions is an important and interesting part of life in the Corporate team.  I need to prepare and agree with the other side a file containing all of the disclosures that are to be made by our client who is the seller in the transaction.  I log in to a data room that we have set up and start to work through the documents that the client has sent across and upload these to the data room so that the other side’s solicitors can see these documents.  It is important for me to make a note of any substantial issues raised by these documents and in particular to note any that relate to questions asked by the other side in the due diligence questionnaire.

12.45 pm – I move onto the next task on my ‘to do’ list which is to provide a company search on a company that will be giving security to one of our clients in the future.  These company searches are important in order to flag potential issues such as if the company has already given security to others or whether it does not have the powers needed to borrow or to give security.

1.00 pm – I go for an impromptu lunch with the partner with whom I share an office for a catch up and to replenish for the afternoon!

2.00 pm – I recommence the company search started before lunch.

2.45 pm – The company search is complete and I return this to the fee earner responsible for the file.  He asks me if I have capacity to help him on a file that I have previously assisted with.  As I have nothing urgent to do on my ‘to do list’ I say that I can help.  He asks me to telephone the client and obtain some share certificates that the client has hold of.  Upon receipt of these I am to arrange for new share certificates to be issued by the Company’s registrar.  I make the call and I then set a reminder in my Outlook calendar for three days time to ensure that I have received these certificates.

3.15 pm – I now have some internal training on how to use one of the IT systems that we use at Pannone.  This is an update session outlining new facilities to automatically check case and legislation references within documents in order to ensure that they are up to date.  The training sessions that we have are extremely useful and enable us to keep up to date with key issues in the law, develop a range of skills such as networking and improve our IT skills in order to ensure that we can do our work as efficiently as possible.

4.20 pm – I return from the training session to find a note from one of the partners requesting that I do some research into community interest companies, what they can and can not do and whether it is possible for them to convert into a public limited company.  Performing research into new areas of law that I have not studied before is one of the most interesting and challenging tasks as a Pannone trainee.  It enables you to expand your knowledge base and is fundamental to providing efficient and accurate information to clients.

5.45 pm – Pannone organise internal football matches every Tuesday.  Socialising with others at the firm is an important and enjoyable part of life as a Pannone trainee.  As I enjoy playing football I try and go to most of these Tuesday sessions, so I finish my work, meet up with some fellow players and head off to play (or try to play) some football.

If you are interested in applying for a training contract at Pannone please complete the online form. If you have any queries please email us at [email protected].