Legal Recruitment from Ten-Percent Legal

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Application Forms for Legal Jobs - waste of time?

As well as recruiting solicitors, we also coach solicitors on the careers side. I have recently been working with a number of entrants to the legal profession on their training contract applications to the larger city law firms. It is quite fascinating to see the application forms and the sheer length and complexity of them.
As a recruiter, I am starting to question why the process cannot be shortened somewhat for everyone concerned. I know it will put a few administration assistants out of a job, and ruin a few dinner party conversations amongst senior partners at some of the larger London law firms as to who has the longest form, but what about adopting the following strategy for recruitment at training contract and vacation placement level? Surely this will save time and costs?
1. Get each applicant to go online and fill out a form consisting of:
a. Their name, address, postcode, telephone number and email address.
b. Their A Level grades or equivalent.
c. Their degree class or anticipated class.
d. Nothing else.
2. At the closing date, use automated software to cull anyone who has not got a minimum of a 2.1 and AAA or ABB at A level. We think this happens anyway at most firms.
3. Send (by email) each remaining applicant a list of questions you want them to answer.
4. Give each applicant a ring and interview them for 5 minutes on the basis of these answers.
5. Select from the list of applicants remaining and call these candidates in for interview.
I would hazard a guess that no-one reads the longwinded answers on these forms that students can spend literally days filling out. Why bother? Furthermore, why do the firms need to know most of the information they ask for when the vast majority of applicants will get rejected on academic performance?
It seems a total waste of time and quite demoralising for the armies of applicants currently out there looking to break into the city and spend 2 years working flat out!
Legal recruitment can be speeded up so easily now with the advent of the internet. Its been around a while now, but I think it gets underused in situations like this....
Jonathan Fagan is Managing Director of Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment. You can comment on this article at

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1 comment:

Kevin Franklin said...

I think that application forms for legal jobs is not a waste of time. I think that it would be one way to find a job on a legal way. I know that many people tries a different way and I think that we should respect their decision.