Are you a student (law or non-law!) interested in qualifying as a solicitor? To do this, you’ll need to apply for a training contract (‘TC’ in law lingo) – a two-year period of training at a law firm. It can be stressful to figure out where to start, so here’s a quick guide to help you throughout the process.
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First year student? Whether or not you are studying law, the main advice I have for first years is: don’t panic about getting a TC at this stage! Your job is to do well on your modules and to get to know law firms by attending Open Days and networking events. Make sure to also attend Legal Week and the Law Fair, held by Careers & Employability.
Use these events to familiarise yourself with the work done at law firms, and get an idea of the kind of law you might be interested in. Also start to think about the kind of law firm you might want to work in – international, high-street or national?
From January, begin applying to insight schemes at law firms. Spending 2-3 days at a firm can give you an idea of what they are looking for in potential candidates, as well as the kind of work environment you might feel comfortable in.
Penultimate year law or final year non-law student? This is the time to apply to winter, spring or summer vacation schemes – these are 2-4 week internships that allow you to learn more about specific law firms, their main practice areas and sectors. Apply early – most law firms recruit on a rolling basis, so the earlier you apply, the better chance you have at securing a place.
At the end of your vacation scheme, you’ll normally have a TC interview. This will likely be based on your commercial knowledge or on your time throughout the vacation scheme. If you don’t get a vacation scheme placement, don’t worry – you can apply for TC’s directly. Applications for these are similar to those for vacation scheme placements.
Book appointments with Kiren Gui or Helen Lovegrove, your Law Careers Consultants on King’s CareerConnect to review your applications and to prepare for upcoming interviews. Simulation interviews are especially useful if you’re feeling nervous or if you don’t know what to expect from a ‘case study’ or ‘scenario-based’ interview.
Throughout this year, make sure to attend events as part of the Professional Futures Series, during which the Law Careers team will walk you through the legal employment process.
Final year student? Attend Legal Week and the Law Fair to meet the law firms you may be interested in and to gain ‘commercial awareness’. Apply for TC’s but make sure to get your application reviewed and by scheduling interview simulations with the Law Careers Team (see above).
Applying for a TC can be stressful and frustrating, but remember, you have plenty of tools and resources at hand if you ever need help!