Legal Recruitment from Ten-Percent Legal

Friday, February 04, 2011

Is there a General Lack of Commitment to a finding a Training Contract or Legal Job from Law Students and Graduates?

Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment are currently offering a free legal careers day for people looking to get a training contract, pupillage, work experience or just to get into the legal profession. We are developing an online training programme for students looking to get on in their legal career and need 10-12 people prepared to be filmed but in return receive a full day of training free of charge.

Imagine our surprise when we sifted through the countless applications we received from a post out to our law student and graduate email list and found the following email from a law graduate:
"Ridiculous concept. Attempting to profit from naive/eager students. This borders on unscrupulous. You need to be reported old chap. Remove my details from your pathetic mailing list immediately."

We obviously emailed back to point out there was no catch at all to the day - we simply need to do some filming and wanted to offer free training in return. We had the following response:

"Free job search and interview training - what numpty thinks that Universities and Law Schools do not already offer this service?? Those that you are targeting/robbing are those from less privileged backgrounds who have not attended the better Universities and therefore are struggling to obtain a training contract. Preying on young people's pipe dreams....Shame on you, old chap."

It got better. We shortlisted our 12 people, all of whom had needed to send us a CV together with a covering email explaining why they felt they were suitable to attend. Anticipating emails straight back again confirming their attendance (after all they had gone to the trouble of writing a mini-essay to explain why they wanted to attend), we were amazed to receive no response at all from 3 of the successful applicants, one declining because his local accommodation had fallen through and another sending the following email:

"Hi, I just wanted to check - you do cover our train fares?"

Obviously, spluttering with indignation at the barefaced cheek of such a request, we managed to write a fairly polite response to this email.

This could turn into a rant, and apologies if it does, but I get so frustrated with law students and graduates whinging about how there are no opportunities out there, there are no legal jobs, they have large debts, cant get work, moan, moan, moan. Life is hard, getting into law is particularly hard and always has been. Go back 30+ years and trainee solicitors did not get paid... Every solicitor, apart from those who walked straight into central London firms and regional commercial practices, has been in exactly the same position and succeeded simply by perserverance. Seize every opportunity and don't wimp out at the slightest obstacle. So many do....

Interestingly, some of the people who responded instantly to our offer and to accept a place were those who have 3-4 pieces of legal work experience on their CV, good academics, clear evidence of a good work/life balance and lots of extra information that is going to be of interest in the legal recruitment process.

Many years ago we set up a Job Creation Scheme for students. We had loads of applications and a legal job came in. It was in Kent and we sent three people along. One was offered the job, which, it later transpired, was a training contract. One of the applicants was successful and started work. On the third day we had a telephone call from the firm to say that the person had not showed up for work that morning and had not bothered getting in touch.

We immediately stopped the Job Creation Scheme. The firm in question have never used us again for conventional legal recruitment (ie recruiting solicitors etc) and we still fume whenever we think about this. There are so many people out there looking, but often I think a good proportion of these cannot be bothered when push comes to shove. Good news for anyone prepared to grind away until they get a result perhaps....

Jonathan Fagan is Managing Director of Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment, a company that tries desperately hard to try to help entrants to the legal profession alongside standard legal recruitment services for solicitors and legal support staff (including legal cashiers).

Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment - Online Legal Recruitment for Solicitors, Legal Executives, Fee Earners, Support Staff, Managers and Paralegals. Visit our Website to search or download our Vacancy Database or view our Candidate Database online.

Our Legal Careers Shop has eBooks on CV Writing for Lawyers, Legal Job Interview Guide, Interview Answers for Lawyers, NQ Career Guide, Guide to Finding Work Experience or a Training Contract and the Entrants Guide to the Legal Profession. To visit our Sale/Clearance section please click here.

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