Employability newsletter London
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March 2014 edition
Welcome to the March edition The eagle-eyed amongst you will have ‘spotted the difference’ about this month’s newsletter. Yes, it is now the London Employability newsletter, and I would like to welcome our new readers at Moorgate, and say hello again to those at Bloomsbury! Just a reminder that the aim of the newsletter is to highlight employability topics that are of interest to readers at particular times of the year. March is a big month for BPTC students, and those GDL students who are intending to take the BPTC, as the Pupillage Gateway goes live on 4 March for applicants to browse pupillage adverts and begin to prepare their application, prior to submitting this between 1 and 30 April. The Careers Service offers lots of support to students applying for pupillage, so do come to see us. For those of you on the LPC and GDL who applied for vacation schemes and got interviews, well done! Do book a mock interview with the Careers Service to help you prepare. If you haven’t yet applied for a vacation scheme, remember that these are an excellent way of getting work experience, and of course, may lead to an interview for a training contract. It’s not too late to apply, as some firms, such as BP Collins, Marriott Harrison and Taylor Walton, have summer scheme deadlines at the end of March. Check out www.lawcareers.net for vacation scheme (and training contract) deadlines. Finally, in this month’s edition we have an interview with Dave Cusick, London Pro Bono Co-ordinator. Candy Kobrak Editor
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Dates for your diary: Inns of Court Dates 31 May 2014 – Closing date for Inns of Court membership applications (if starting the BPTC in 2014) • You do not need to be a member of an Inn before you apply to it for a scholarship. • If you are already a member of an Inn, you cannot apply for a scholarship at another Inn. You should apply only to your own Inn.
BPTC applications Applications for a place on the BPTC must be made through the Bar Standards Board’s central applications system: BPTC Online (https://www. barprofessionaltraining.org.uk/s4/ oa/candidates/start.asp). You are strongly advised to submit your application as early as possible. The online application process timetable is: 5 March 2014 - Offers start to be released from first round applications (9.00am) 2 April 2014 - Acceptance deadline for first round offers (2.00pm) 15 April 2014 - New clearing round applications and unsuccessful first round applications are released to Providers (2.00pm) (Offers are released continuously in the clearing round. There is no set date by which all offers will have been made in this round) 31 May 2014 - Closing date for application to an Inn of Court - you must be a member of an Inn to commence a BPTC (Students are strongly warned that if there is likely to be a problem with your application to an Inn, please ensure that you apply as early as possible as this may mean that you cannot start a course if your membership is not confirmed in time for enrolment) 29 August 2014 - Clearing round closes (2.00pm)
Who is the new London Pro Bono Co-ordinator? Name: Dave Cusick What do you here at the University? I am the Pro Bono Co-ordinator (I am covering for the existing co-ordinator whilst she is on maternity leave). I coordinate the teams in Bloomsbury and Moorgate that help arrange existing opportunities for students and new opportunities, too. In addition to the coordinating role, I supervise students doing a wide range of Pro Bono work Pro Bono is vital in that it provides members of our society with access to legal advice in the face of continuing cuts in existing services. Students taking part in the projects we run not only get hands-on experience, but also have a better understanding of what law can do to help people. Our aim is to provide the public with a service and to give the students a great experience to add to their CV. These experiences help improve the skills that they are starting to develop, through practice. It also shows prospective employers that they can take skills learnt in the classroom and use them in real life. In addition to the good they do, students who do Pro Bono are clearly thinking ahead to their future and this has to give them an advantage. How did you get into law? By accident! I studied International Relations at Sussex as a mature student. Having left University, I found I was unemployed and started looking at what interested me. Serendipitously I met a friend who had his own solicitors’ firm, he offered me some work as an outdoor clerk, and as they say the rest is history. Whilst working for him, I studied the part-time CPE (now the GDL) at Brighton University and then went on to do my LPC at the University of Westminster. I have no real love of the law for its own sake, I am far more interested in what the law as a tool can do for people. One of the most interesting areas of law I specialised in was Mental Health. As an example of how law can inform change, until the introduction of the Human Rights Act, the burden of proof was reversed, with the client having to prove they were sane. How did you develop your career? As mentioned, I initially worked for a high street firm and, as I became more interested in specific areas, I worked for various other bodies and finally for Mind in their legal department. I then became a tutor here at the University of Law, teaching on the BPTC. During that time I worked part-time as a Supervising Solicitor in the Pro Bono department. Having taken redundancy 3 years ago, I am now on a six month secondment in this role. I had forgotten how much fun it is to work with students and see them develop skills and understanding. Their commitment to doing Pro Bono work always astounds me. I am aware of their need to improve their CV but their enthusiasm for Pro Bono is remarkable. What do you consider are your achievements? For me, my biggest achievement has been helping students who, because of class, race, sex or age are not seen as the accepted stereotypical barrister or solicitor, achieve their goal of becoming a member of the legal profession.
12 September 2014 - The system closes (2.00pm) ...and don’t forget that you will also need to sit the BCAT (Bar Course Aptitude Test) before starting the BPTC (www.barstandardsboard.org. uk/qualifying-as-a-barrister/barprofessional-training-course/ aptitude-test/)
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Careers Service resources to help you prepare for Pupillage Gateway applications StEP 7 – Completing application forms (Future Lawyers Network) Recorded materials – podcasts from a number of talks, including speakers from Guildford Chambers (ELITE > Employability Service Information > Organisations > Recent Presentations) Additional Resources – Some further materials for those applying to the Bar (ELITE > Employability Service Information > Additional Resources).
Pupillage Gateway The Pupillage Gateway opens on 1 April 2014. You can use the Gateway to apply for up to 12 pupillages. The closing date for applications is 30 April 2014. However, from 4 March 2014, you can access the Pupillage Gateway to browse pupillage vacancies, and begin to prepare your answers on a sample application form. The Pupillage Gateway can be found at www.pupillagegateway.com. The Gateway includes: • The application form for pupillages • Instructions on how to use the Gateway • FAQs regarding the Gateway (including contact details of the Bar Council for help) • A sample application form which can be printed out and used as a guide • The timetable for the Gateway itself The Careers Service at Bloomsbury is putting together a virtual workshop, updated for 2014, about the Pupillage Gateway, so watch out for an email giving further information about this shortly. For now, though: 1. Read ALL the instructions for the Gateway carefully. 2. Take your time completing each application: the Gateway is open between 1-30 April 2014, but you should still take your time over researching sets and thinking about how you answer each section. 3. Be succinct, yet informative, when writing your answers. You do not have to use up the whole word count! 4. Do NOT leave the application form to the last minute. 5. Remember, help is available from the Careers Service.
National Pupillage Fair, Saturday 8 March 2014 The National Pupillage Fair is open from 10.30am to 3.00pm on Saturday 8 March 2014 at Lincoln’s Inn, and is the best opportunity for students looking for pupillage to meet representatives from chambers, course providers and other organisations essential to a successful career at the Bar. You can: • Talk to chambers’ pupils, tenants and members of pupillage committees and get all your answers to life at the Bar. Representatives and barristers from around 40 London and regional chambers, including major criminal sets like 2 Bedford Row, as well as big commercial sets like Blackstone Chambers and Devereux, will be attending. These sets of chambers are there because they are offering pupillage – leaving a good impression with them could help your pupillage chances. • Talk to representatives from law schools and other course providers about all things course-related. Get to the CV clinic and boost your chances by having a careers professional from Garden Court, 4 New Square and others cast an expert eye over your work. • Compare different sets and course providers to make the best career match. • Attend talks given by leading barristers about careers at the Bar – a chance to gain insights from amongst the best in the profession. 25 qualified barristers will be offering their top career tips and insights into their area of practice at the talks programme. How did they choose their set of chambers? How long did it take them to get pupillage? Are they mostly court-based or chambers-based? Would they recommend the profession? • Find out how you can best fund your early career at the Bar. How can the Inns of Court help with sponsoring your training? When should you start instructing an accountant? • Pick up your must-read copy of the Pupillages Handbook and TARGETjobs Law. www.targetjobspupillagefair.co.uk page 3 of 7
The following StEPs are particularly useful for you to have a look at in March. For further information, go to www.law. ac.uk/futurelawyers or the My Employability tab on Elite.
StEP 4: Researching legal recruiters
I taught Maths for four years before I decided I wanted to be a barrister. At the time, I had very little legal experience, so I knew I had much to do to make my CV pupillage-worthy.
This StEP aims to highlight the different areas you will need to research, and the information you will require, as you move through the recruitment process. It includes suggestions of where to find out information about the set or firm you are applying to.
StEP 6: Writing legal CVs and covering letters The curriculum vitae (CV) is the traditional method of application, and is widely used throughout the legal profession. You will still need a CV, even if you are applying to organisations that use application forms, for two main reasons. Firstly, the information on your CV forms the basis of many of the answers you will need to give on application forms and is therefore a helpful resource; and secondly, having an up to date CV to hand is useful for applying for work experience, or to pass on to a useful contact. Once you have your CV in good shape, you can turn your attention to the covering letter. This is not an optional extra with a CV, but an essential part of the application.
StEP 7: Completing application forms The application form is becoming increasingly common as the method of applying for training contracts and pupillages. If you are intending to pursue a career in the legal profession, particularly if you intend to apply to the larger recruiters, you will need to know how to complete a good application form. This StEP looks at the typical sections you are likely to find on an application form for graduate entry into the legal profession as a trainee solicitor or pupil barrister. While the principles behind all application forms remain the same, there are certain differences you will notice depending on the branch of the profession you are seeking to enter.
Lily Friend: GDL FT2012-13 and BPTC FT 2013-14 (Studied PPE at Oxford) Offered pupillage at 42 Bedford Row whilst on the GDL
I sent applications for mini-pupillage to a whole range of sets because I didn’t yet know which area of law I was interested in. Even at this stage I received loads of rejections but, eventually, a few offers arrived in my inbox and I scheduled these for my half-terms and reading weeks. I started volunteering at Southwark Law Centre on Mondays - my day off from University - and I entered the University mooting competition. Eventually I realised I was interested in public law and, following a suggestion from the Careers Service, I set up the Public Law Society at University. This turned out to be a great way of networking, as it allowed me to make contacts at the Public Law Project and the ALBA Public Law Forum. Although these extra activities made for a busy year, I knew it would be worth it when it came to pupillage applications. Selection panels read hundreds of forms every year, so being able to stand out by illustrating a point with an anecdote or having an unusual example is really important. I took interview preparation very seriously. I kept abreast of current affairs and noted down the ‘for’ and ‘against’ arguments for each policy. I researched the chambers and read case summaries on their websites. I arranged a practice interview with the Careers Service which was incredibly useful, as it allowed me to make my mistakes before they mattered. I was also taught to phrase my experiences in a more positive and persuasive manner. The final step in my preparation was based on a TED talk a friend had recommended I watch called Power Poses, by Amy Cuddy. On the day of the interview I was therefore to be found in the waiting room adopting these power poses – I may have looked a little strange, but it was worth it in the end!.
Virtual workshops – what, how and why? During the summer of 2012, the Careers Service across all eight centres of The University of Law took part in a pilot scheme delivering virtual workshops to prospective students. The workshops covered topics such as CVs and cover letters, Researching law firms and Chambers and Application form writing. Rather than delivering workshops face-to-face to students in a room, these new virtual workshops were delivered on-line, using Adobe software, by Careers Consultants to students who were based at home (and, in one case, abroad, in Melbourne, Australia!). Two years on and the Careers Service is now delivering these workshops on a regular basis, including on new topics such as the recent Social media presentation. The aim of these virtual workshops is to widen access to those students who are at work, at home, who live abroad or who may be on holiday throughout different times of the year. The workshops are deliberately timed to coincide with the lunchtime period (12-1pm) or when the majority of part-time students finish work (6-7pm). So how do they work? Well, the workshops run for one hour as opposed to the ‘traditional’ two hour face-to-face workshops. We are able to deliver these workshops to up to 100 students at one time, as opposed to 50 students in a ‘physical’ room. The virtual workshops are delivered by two Careers
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StEP 8: Preparing for legal interviews If you have been called for an interview – congratulations! It is a real achievement; the recruiter thinks you are a realistic candidate for the position you have applied for. This StEP aims to get you ready for the big day, something you need to take seriously, as ‘failing to prepare is preparing to fail’!
StEP 9: Preparing for assessments Legal recruiters are increasingly using practical assessments and tests as part of their selection procedure. Their popularity is due to a number of factors: • They help to remove personal bias and subjectivity from the selection process, and so are seen as more objective. • Certain assessments seek to gauge underlying ability, rather than current levels of attainment. This is useful when organisations are recruiting two or three years in advance of when they would expect a candidate to begin work. • Assessments can help to build a fuller picture of the candidates, allowing recruiters to differentiate between applicants: this is particularly the case with ‘assessment centres’, where you will undertake a range of assessments over half a day, or even a whole day. • There is research to show that performance in appropriate assessments can be a far better indicator of performance in the workplace when compared with performance at interview.
Consultants, as opposed to one: one Consultant will do most of the talking, discussing content on PowerPoint slides on screen, while a second Careers Consultant deals with relevant questions which students can email in via a ‘chat box’. From time-to-time, this second Consultant will speak to the whole audience, to provide answers to common questions which have been emailed in. Another benefit of the virtual workshops is that we can record them and upload them on to ELITE for students to listen to 24/7. This year we have also piloted a virtual employer talk when, in the Autumn term, Emma Young from Ashurst came in to talk about the firm and what it expects from vacation scheme and training contract applicants. This talk generated 86 attendees and was incredibly popular with both the students and Emma. We plan to organise other similar virtual employer events in future. So, please look out for future virtual workshops on the Employability Events section of the My Employability tab…and for a flavour of what has gone on before, go to previous recordings at: My Employability>Employability Service Information>Additional Resources>Online ‘Virtual’ Workshops.
The Law and Justice Fair, Thursday 20 March 6pm, Bloomsbury Centre The Law and Justice Careers Fair is aimed at students interested in working mainly for individuals and / or in public law. The firms and organisations attending work for both publicly and privately funded individuals. Attend the Fair to find out more about paralegal, training contract and pupillage vacancies. Amongst those booked to attend are: The Government Legal Service
Hodge, Jones & Allen
The Co-operative Legal Service
G T Stewart
Kaim Todner Sign up on Elite from the beginning of March.
What this means for you is that, in addition to telling a recruiter about your abilities at interview, you will also have to show them.
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March careers workshops and employer talks Bloomsbury: Please go to Elite>My Employability>Bloomsbury Employability Service>Employability events for further details and instructions on how to sign up. Moorgate: Please go to Elite>My Employability>Moorgate Employability Service>Careers events for further details and instructions on how to sign up. Please note that, whilst you are welcome to sign up for events at a different London centre to your own, places will be limited and will be allocated on a first-come-first-served basis.
Tuesday 18 March Thursday 20 March Tuesday 25 March Thursday 27 March
Name of Event
Commercial awareness (MOORGATE)
Law & Justice Fair (BLOOMSBURY) 6pm
Panel: What's a training contract really like? (MOORGATE) Franco-British Lawyers Society (BLOOMSBURY)
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Bloomsbury Careers Centre opening times:
Moorgate Careers Centre opening times:
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
9am – 7pm 9am – 7pm 9am – 7pm 9am – 7pm 9am – 5pm 10am – 5pm 10am – 5pm (teaching weekends only)
9am – 5pm 9am – 5pm 9am – 5pm 9am – 5pm 9am – 5pm
To make an appointment, call in at the Employability Suite on the third floor, or call us on 01483 216209
To make an appointment, call in at the office on the ground floor of Ridgmount Building, or call us on 01483 216681
Bloomsbury Quick Queries:
Moorgate Quick Queries:
Normally Monday to Friday at either:
12pm–1pm and 3pm–4pm
Monday and Friday:
12pm–1pm and 2pm–3pm
(these times are subject to change, so please check on Elite or with the Careers Service if Quick Queries are running, and for the times that day)
Tuesday and Wednesday:
Quick Queries are short 20 minute drop-in sessions for you to speak with a Careers Adviser face-to-face or by telephone. Sign up for these 5 minutes before the start of the session (unless you are a part-time student – in this case you can just sign up on the day) either in person at the desk, or by phone. These are provided on a first-come first-served basis.
12pm–1pm and 3pm–4pm and Thursday 12pm–1pm / 12pm–1pm and 3pm–4pm (alternate weeks) (these times are subject to change, so please check on Elite or with the Employability Suite if Quick Queries are running, and for the times that day) Quick Queries are short 20 minute drop-in sessions for you to speak with a Careers Adviser face-toface or by telephone. Sign up for these 5 minutes before the start of the session either in person at the Employability Suite on the third floor, or by phone. These are provided on a first-come first-served basis.
Bloomsbury Pro Bono Department opening times:
Moorgate Pro Bono Department opening times:
Monday 9.30am – 5.30pm Tuesday 9.30am – 5.30pm Wednesday 9.30am – 3pm Thursday 9.30am – 5.30pm Friday 9.30am – 5.30pm
Monday – Friday 9.00am – 5.00pm Come to see us in the Employability Suite on the third floor, call us on 01483 216209, or email us on firstname.lastname@example.org
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The University of Law Limited 14 Store Street, London, WC1E 7DE. 0800 289997
Come to see us in S126 on the 1st floor of the Store Street Building, call us on 0148 3216528, or email us on email@example.com