Legal Recruitment from Ten-Percent Legal

Monday, August 13, 2007

Advice for a paralegal looking for a training contract

13.08.07 Advice for a Paralegal looking for a Training Contract

Hi there - I would be very grateful if you could please give me so advice. I feel as 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 TC s 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 re doing 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???

Response
 
Firstly, to explain to anyone else who will not have access to the CV, 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 quite a 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. I seem to recall that 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 - http://www.ten-percent.co.uk/Advice_for_Law_Students_and_Graduates_looking_for_a_Training_Contract.pdf - this really does work if you remain committed to it, although much harder to get the time 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.
 
Dont redo your A Levels - although they have an effect throughout your career, they 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).
 
If we can help further, feel free to email me on jbfagan@ten-percent.co.uk
 
You can also visit our website at www.ten-percent.co.uk with over 100 pages of careers advice and articles for law graduates and paralegals on a whole range of topics. 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.
 
Good luck with your search. 
 
Jonathan Fagan

1 comment:

paralegal schools said...

"Where do I go from here??? How can I make myself more marketable and stand
out from the crowd???"
I myself was in a situation such as the one above. I said to myself, the street life isn't taught in schools, but then again in reality people need credentials to go through life. So I just went over to my nearest college and passed the classes like a piece of cake and now, this is the good life.