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Should Law Graduates Pay for Careers Advice?


Recently www.legalcheek.com (a legal blog) ran a series of articles discussing whether graduates should consider paying for training contract advice after the Junior Lawyers Division (JLD) strongly advised against it. Although we no longer provide careers advice ourselves, we were approached for comment as we still sell training contract advice packs via one of our websites. This was the comment we added:
Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment provided legal career coaching services from 2001 to 2014 and worked with a very wide range of clients from paralegals and entrants into the legal profession through to senior barristers, solicitors, partners and people looking at judicial appointments. We dealt with bullying, career progression, getting out of law, finding training contracts, entering the legal profession, getting out of the city, getting into the city and lots more besides. I offered the service personally because I enjoyed helping people and recruitment can be a bit office based and quite dry. When I started out in recruitment I missed the advice element of being a solicitor (I have been non-practising for about 15 years now). We now refer people on to an external consultant (a former barrister/solicitor who very selectively takes clients on) and we take no financial benefit of any kind from the referral.
When we did offer it, our paid legal career coaching prices started at about £450 plus VAT and went upwards depending on the client and complexity although all of them included a 2 hour consultation. We have also provided career coaching to unemployed graduates free of charge via our charitable trust from time to time. Testimonials on all our services can be found here: https://www.ten-percent.co.uk/feedback/
Our company still sells CV Writing Packs, Interview Training Guides and Interview Video Packs, together with a Training Contract Pack, via our website www.legalcareercoaching.co.uk. If you want to see any of these please let me know and I’ll send you over complimentary copies. There are a couple of free guides on the site as well.
I think anyone who claimed to guarantee a training contract when paying for advice would have to be insane. How on earth can anyone decide the inner workings of a senior partner’s mind when deciding who to recruit? Certainly something we have never offered and after 17 years in the recruitment business I can say that it is virtually impossible to predict! There is so much anyone can do though to improve their chances of success.
So far as paying for training contract advice is concerned it is only like paying for extra tuition to get a good grade at A Level or GCSE etc.. I note from your website that there have been some pretty toxic comments about people who want money for advice on getting a training contract, and I have to ask the question – why not pay? If you want a training contract and someone has good quality advice to give – why not invest some money in your future and get some decent advice to improve your chances? Is it fair? Quite possibly not. But is it fair that some people go to Eton and Harrow and have better life chances than others?
We still offer 100s of pages of free advice on our website and also answer legal careers questions at no cost via our monthly newsletter - www.legal-recruitment.co.uk – but I certainly wouldn’t ever have been able to spend 2 hours coaching someone or writing their CV or reviewing a covering letter without being paid. However when we used to offer legal career coaching a lot of people would have very specific circumstances they were looking for assistance with. For example someone with a 3rd class degree wanting to know how to break into law, someone coming from another jurisdiction, or retraining as a solicitor after a career in something completely different. Not things you can often surf the web to get advice on. The Junior Lawyers Division doesn’t have time to sit down with anyone for hours on end drafting CVs, providing specialist advice etc.. so not really going to be able to assist unless they have now started offering this service and have a source of funding in place for it.
I used to find that the careers service at most universities was woefully lacking and some terrible advice was being given, although difficult to comment now as we don’t provide career coaching and haven’t for some time. Some years ago I lectured on legal careers as a guest speaker at a university in Yorkshire and the information on how to write an application form or prepare a CV was virtually non-existent from the university and where it was given the advice was often clearly incorrect.
So to get an advantage to start a legal career I can see why someone would be prepared to pay and if someone who has been through the experience or has specialist knowledge is able to offer the advice at a cost – why not pay for it? After all the career most law graduates are going to have is all about making money and having a comfortable existence (unless you are a crime solicitor or plan to work for a charity). Not many people enter the legal profession out of philanthropic intent.
The original article can be found here: https://www.legalcheek.com/2017/11/dont-pay-for-training-contract-advice-junior-lawyers-division-urges/



Jonathan Fagan is Managing Director of Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment and a non-practising Solicitor. Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment provides online Legal Recruitment for Solicitors, Legal Executives, Fee Earners, Support Staff, Managers and Paralegals.

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