2:2 From a Law Degree; Can I Get a Training Contract?
What are my chances of getting a training contract with a 2:2 or a third class degree?
That’s a question which is asked quite a bit. But there is a lot to consider. Not all 2:2 degrees are created equal. Also applications don’t just come down to academics. It’s all about your application as a whole.
Here we’ll look at these questions in detail and see which sort of firms accept a 2:2 degree from applicants.
When a 2:2 isn’t the end of the world
If you’ve got a 2:2 from Oxbridge then you’re still in with a good chance. The same is true if you attended another prestigious university. Although you will need further work experience and a strong application to be successful. That part of your application will need to be even stronger than if you got a 2:1 or first class degree.
A CV stuffed with amazing work experience combined with a strong application & interview could still be successful too. The hardest part will be finding a firm who will actually look at your application with the 2:2 (we give you some ideas below). Once you’re past the application stage you should be on more of an equal level with the other applicants. Now it will be about your performance on the aptitude tests, your ability to work with others and the way you handle the interview.
But you need to pick the right firms when applying. You’re not going to have much luck if you apply to large city commercial firms.
Before the financial crisis it was certainly common to get a training contract with a 2:2. I personally knew someone who got one with a 2:2 on their LLB from a university outside the top 30, and a commendation on their LPC. Their work experience was average too. So how did they get it? The partner of the film interviewed 5 people and liked him the most. It was as simple as that. Now the firm has hundreds of applicants for one position even though they’re quite small. They can afford to pick only the best candidates for interviews.
So you can see the reasons that most firms don’t accept 2:2s. They want to at least filter the potential applicants down a bit. And there’s no shortage of people applying. It must be very frustrating being excluded over 1 mark when achieving an average score of 59. Is someone who got 60 really that much better? Of course not. But I think I should leave that rant for another blog post!
Good connections will always help when getting a training contract. Even if you got a 2:2 and your experience is average.
The best method
Unfortunately training contract applications can be some what of a numbers game. You need to keep applying until you’re successful. When looking for firms who accept 2:2 grades you don’t have as much choice. You should also try speculative enquiries to smaller firms in your local area.
Focusing on working your way up and getting a training contract via the paralegal route could be the best choice you have. Especially if you don’t seem to have a good chance of obtaining a training contract on paper. It may take a little longer but if worst comes to worst you will still have a ton of legal experience which can serve you well in the future. You could also look into taking the legal executive route to becoming a solicitor.
Perhaps it would be a good idea to visit all of the firms in your local area in person and ask if it would be possible to talk to the partner. Make it clear you’re willing to work your way up. If you get the chance to speak to the partner it’s then your job to convince him or her you’re a great candidate. This way you can bypass any 2:2 cut off points they may have in place. So if you think you’re cut out to be a solicitor but don’t have the academics this is a good strategy.
Look for firms that don’t mention an upper second class degree when applying. However you should ask recruitment if the firms will consider applications from 2:2 candidates. You don’t want to waste your time.
Obtaining a training contract with a 2:2 is all about maximising the non academic portion of you CV. You can still make a great solicitor – you just need to convince others of this fact!