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2008

»SOLICITORS »BARRISTERS » LEGAL EXECUTIVES »PUBLIC SECTOR » POSTGRADUATE STUDY

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DO JUSTICE TO YOUR CAREER

» ALTERNATIVE CAREERS


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© 2007 PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP. All rights reserved. “PricewaterhouseCoopers” refers to PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP or, as the context requires, the PricewaterhouseCoopers global network or other member firms of the network, each of which is a separate and independent legal entity.

OPT ONS Nationwide Opportunities Spring and Autumn 2008 Assurance Tax Advisory Actuarial Strategy

There really is only one option. If you want more variety in terms of the work you do, the projects you work on and the clients you work with, the sheer scope of our activities makes us the obvious choice. Right from the start you’ll have alternatives. Our structured development plan gives you the chance to specialise within a specific business area. Or you can decide to experience a number of different areas, picking up valuable technical, business and personal skills as you go. Just bring us a 2:1 in any subject, at least a 280 UCAS tariff or equivalent, and plenty of enthusiasm and ideas, and see where they can take you. We’re the one firm for all choosy graduates.

www.pwc.com/uk/careers/ Text: PwC to 85792

We value diversity in our people.


Contents IN THIS 2008 ISSUE

ON THE COVER

P48

P11

P12 Lead story

Features

Who’s Recruiting

11 Passport to qualification Thinking about becoming a lawyer? We bring you an overview of everything you need to know to enter the profession

6 Killer applications Legal recruiters give some top tips on how you can make your application stand out from the crowd

Books

8 In the hot seat All the advice you need to make sure that your interview goes smoothly

4 RealJobs For all the latest vacancies and information on employers currently hiring graduates in the area of law, turn to this invaluable guide. You can also find details of law vacancies on our website

43 Legally binding Need some help with revision? We review some of the latest study aids and legal texts. We also bring you a round-up of law fairs being held around the country this academic year

Real World Online New look website! In autumn 2007, Real World relaunched its website. For the first time you can search through hundreds of independently written case studies, either by university, degree or job type. In addition, you can also rate and comment on articles on the website. What’s more by registering you can get access to your personalised university page. If that wasn’t enough, recruiters are now also able to upload videos so you can get the inside track on the recruitment process. Take a look at www.realworldmagazine.com to start your job search.

12 Legal eagles See yourself as a solicitor? We speak to 13 graduates who have undertaken training contracts  28 Called to the Bar The barristers’ profession is still partly shrouded in mystery; we look at what’s involved and debunk some of the myths 

55 Recruiter Files A round-up of law firms with training contracts on offer and law schools offering courses that will help you progress in your legal career Jobs in your inbox For hundreds more graduate jobs have a look at our website: www.realworldmagazine.com. Register and receive the latest jobs by email

34 On Her Majesty’s service Could the public sector offer you everything you want in a legal career?  38 What’s the alternative? We suggest different career paths for those who are interested in law but who don’t want to train specifically as lawyers  44 Path to conversion You don’t need to have studied law at university; here’s how a non-law graduate can convert their degree 48 Back to school You’ll need a spell at law school before doing a training contract or pupillage; we look at what you can expect there 

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RE + C EM RU P ITI LO NG Y E NORS W

+ mORE JOBS + ADVICE +

list of advertisers Allen & Overy 56 & 62 Autumn Graduate Fair 36 Bpp Law 47 City University Law School 55 Cms Cameron McKenna 24 College Of Law 50 Dla Piper 16 Eversheds 18 & 57 Government Legal Service 36 Institute Of Legal Executives 40 Lawrence Graham 26 Linklaters 20 Macfarlanes 14 Manchester Law Fair 46 Manchester Metropolitan University 46

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aPPLY ONLINe

www.realworldmagazine.com

Law issue

Martineau Johnson 20 Middlesex University 52 Mills & Reeve 26 Nottingham Trent University 52 Osborne Clarke 24 PricewaterhouseCoopers 02 SEO London 30 Simmons & Simmons 22 & 58 Staffordshire University 54 Taylor Wessing 59 University Of Liverpool Graduate Fair 36 University Of Northumbria 50 University Of Strathclyde 46 Yorkshire Graduate Fair 40


Law

EDITOR’S LETTER

issue

Editorial Editor Catherine Watson Designer Yang Ou Creative Consultant Jennifer van Schoor Sub Editor Clare Cronin

Sales Head of Sales Paul Wade Sales Harmesh Sansoa, Terry McNally

Manager/Distribution Manager Mitul Patel

Client Services Manager Marie Tasle Managing Director Darius Norell Real World 22-26 Albert Embankment, London SE1 7TJ Telephone: 020 7735 4900 Editorial – 020 7735 2111 Fax: 020 7840 0443 info@realworldmagazine.com www.realworldmagazine.com for job vacancies, careers advice and case studies. Copyright © 2007 Cherry Publishing. No part of this publication may be reproduced or stored in a retrieval system without the written permission of the publisher. We cannot accept responsibility for unsolicited manuscripts and photographs or for material lost or damaged in the post. The views in this publication or on our website are not necessarily those held by the publisher.

Letter of the law

“M

ake crime pay. Become a lawyer.” So goes the old Will Rogers joke. While we are not suggesting that lawyers are criminals – far from it – it is true that solicitors’ firms are among the highest payers in the graduate market. This makes law a particularly attractive option for law and non-law graduates alike. In fact, research by the Association of Graduate Recruiters shows that the median starting salary for graduates in legal work was a whopping £35,700 in 2007 – a sum bettered only by those in investment banking. But we know that money isn’t the only motivating factor for choosing law as a career. By becoming a solicitor, barrister or legal executive, you get the chance to make a real impact on people’s lives. Law touches everything we do, and is by no means limited to the field of crime. Lawyers advise on everything from tax to transport. By choosing law as a career, graduates will find a whole raft of opportunities in front of them. Whatever your motivation for becoming a lawyer – be it a desire to help vulnerable people, to work on high-profile transactions, or just the hope of making lots of money – we’ve got everything you need to secure a position in your chosen area of law. Training to become a solicitor is by far the most popular legal career path for graduates, so we dedicate the highest number of pages to that area. Hot on its heels is the desire to become a barrister – no mean feat in these days of dwindling pupillages and increased numbers of law graduates. We chat to several graduates who have successfully secured a career at the Bar. Before you can embark on a legal career, either as a solicitor or as a barrister, you will need to undertake the academic stage of training. We talk to a selection of graduates who have completed the legal practice course or the bar vocational course. They provide an honest insight on what to expect from law school. If you are studying law at the moment, but think that a career as a lawyer might not be for you, turn to our alternative careers section. We speak to a host of graduates whose jobs require some legal knowledge, but not necessarily legal training. Good luck with your studies and job hunt. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact me on the email address below.

Catherine, Editor editor@realworldmagazine.com

Contributors MITUL PATEL Mitul is our very own marketing/ distribution manager. Having graduated in 2004, Mitul decided to take time out to travel and spent five months in Barcelona doing a marketing internship before he joined Real World. Since he joined, he’s found no two weeks have been the same. In one week, he organised Real World’s presence at 10 careers fairs. He’s always on the move.

MARIE TASLE As the Real World client services manager, Marie is the one who holds the operation together, whether it be arranging events, juggling diaries or making sure that the ever busy Real World team know where they should be and when. With degrees in law and marketing, she made sure that this year’s Graduate of the Year award ceremony went off without a hitch.

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killer applications “

t

here are so many mistakes students make with application forms – where does one start?” exclaims one graduate recruiter. She is not alone in her annoyance at intelligent students’

seeming ineptitude when it comes to applying for training contracts and pupillages. These days, most recruiters ask candidates to apply for vacancies online – although a handful of law firms and barristers’ chambers still simply request a CV and covering letter. But the advance of technology does not seem to prevent students from committing some howlers when applying. If anything, the overall quality of application forms could actually be slipping. So how do you avoid the common pitfalls and make sure your application stands out from the crowd to get you through to that all-important interview stage? We asked several graduate recruiters – here are their top tips:

1

Don’t cut and paste “The classic mistake is cutting and pasting and forgetting

to change the law firm name,” says Deborah Dalgleish, head of UK trainee solicitor recruitment at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer. “So you apply to Freshfields saying how interested you are in Slaughter and May – a big no-no.” Some information by definition will be repeated from application to application, but make sure that you tailor your answers for each firm or set of

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chambers. For future barristers taking the Olpas route (see our feature “Called to the bar” for more details), you only have 150 words to tailor your application, so use that space wisely.

2

Keep it simple LG’s Vikki Horton agrees that mentioning another firm’s

name is the worst offence candidates can commit. But she says the key to a successful application is keeping the form “brief and concise”. She adds: “Draw from lots of different experiences when answering the questions.”

3

Do your homework “Research the firm,” advises Jennie Bishop, graduate recruitment and trainee manager at Berwin Leighton Paisner. “If a candidate has gone out of their way to find out about the firm, why they feel they are suited to it, and seem interested in the work, it leaves a very positive impression.”

4

Honesty is the best policy “Always be yourself and talk frankly about your experiences,” suggests Clare Harris, head of graduate

recruitment at Lovells. “Use a range of life experiences,” she advises. “Some university initiatives that give the reader of the form some sense of what interests you, and what level of contribution you may have made to these activities.” She also


feature | APPLICATION forms

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Application form contract or pup s are an integral part of landin g il take enough time lage, yet all too often candida a training te What can you d or care to produce an error-fr s don’t o ee for the right rea to make sure your application st submission. sons? Real World ands out – finds out

recommends that applicants don’t underestimate the value of work experience at any level: “All work that brings you into contact with people, taking responsibility for things, meeting deadlines and prioritising, is all valuable and transferable.”

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Photograph: Yang Ou

“There are incredibly few forms that contain no spelling, typographical or grammatical errors – so that in itself is

enough to make a form stand out,” says Deborah.

Don’t regurgitate a firm’s brochure “Another waste of time is repeating information from the firm’s brochure or its website,” says Freshfields’ Deborah. “There is zero point in telling a recruiter how many partners they have, which clients they act for, or that they came top of the European mergers and acquisitions league table – we know that already.” She advises candidates to use this information to explain what it is about the firm that attracts you.

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Be error-free

Back up your arguments One of the most important things candidates must do is substantiate their statements and give examples of what

they mean when answering the questions. Lovells’ Clare explains: “For example, if a question is asking about when individuals have shown leadership or motivation, merely saying that they took part in a project is not enough. They need to give specific examples of what they did that demonstrated the quality being assessed.”

Pay attention to detail Clare agrees it is the seemingly small things that candidates miss, such as ensuring words are spelt correctly. “This is important for law, where so much of what we do is about efficient and accurate communication, both written and oral,” she warns. “The application is the first time we see whether someone is aware of how they come across in their written communication. You would not be very happy if you had a lawyer representing you who took a sloppy approach.” One other piece of advice: make sure you keep a copy of your application form. When you reach the interview stage you will be asked to provide more detail to the answers you have given. And, it almost goes without saying, be completely honest with your application – remember that even the smallest of untruths will be uncovered at interview stage. For tips on how to handle interviews, take a look at our feature over the page. n

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So you’ve got th do you need to rough to the interview stage – b d u 10 tips to make su o to be successful? Real World t what re your interview su goes smoothly ggests

in the hot seat

L

ove ‘em or loathe ‘em, interviews are an integral part of securing a training contract or pupillage. Depending on the recruiter, you might be interviewed by a human resources person, a senior practitioner, or both. You will be expected to demonstrate your reasons for your chosen career path, as well as to display some knowledge of the law – although this will probably be limited for those who are final-year graduates in non-law subjects. What you get asked will obviously differ between one recruiter and another. But there are some basic rules that apply to all interviews. To make sure that you achieve a winning interview, take a look at our 10 “do’s and don’ts”:


feature | Interviews

Photograph: Yang Ou

Do’s Practice makes perfect

where these skills have been used. Giving a variety of

“Practise your interview technique,” suggests Claire Evans, graduate recruitment officer at DLA Piper. She adds:

examples is the key, as well as giving depth and detail to answers.” However, she warns that students should avoid

“Remember you’re in a formal setting, so try to curb the use of slang or colloquial language.”

“waffling” when responding.

Make firms feel wanted Taylor Wessing’s graduate recruitment and development officer, Nichola Crilly, advises students that there’s a raft of things to research once you have an interview lined up: “Spend as much time as possible finding out about the person who is interviewing you; the type of work the firm does; the departments; what makes the firm unique; who the firm’s competitors are; the firm’s strategy going forward; recent deals, and the structure of the training contract.” She adds: “Every firm wants to feel that they are the student’s number-one choice.” Give evidence of your skills “Find out what skills and attributes the firm is looking for,” suggests Denton Wilde Sapte’s recruitment manager, Jo Wilson. “Think of specific situations that you have been in

Be commercially aware “I would recommend that candidates familiarise themselves with the business press as soon as they have submitted their applications,” says Allen & Overy’s graduate recruitment manager, Zoë Gordon. “That way, they won’t have so much of a last-minute panic about preparing to talk about commercial issues in future interviews. It’s good to research stories relating to the potential employer, and to think about the issues facing the relevant industry sector, too.” She warns students not to leave it too late: “It’s no good glancing at the Financial Times on the morning of the interview,” she says. First impressions count Jane Drew, trainee resources manager at Nabarro, has three key pieces of advice for students with interviews lined up: “Dress smartly, give a firm handshake, and make eye contact.” While it can feel like a costly exercise, investing in a good-quality suit

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feature | Interviews

“

interviews are not the time to be modest. identify all your strengths and achievements Before the interview, and prepare the best examples possible to demonstrate these skills

will be a wise move. Although some firms and barristers’ chambers will have a dress-down policy, the majority will expect to dress conservatively. That means a black suit for men and women – and no humorous cufflinks or ties, boys.

Don’ts

weaknesses?” and “Describe a situation where you worked in a team”. However, don’t learn your answers off by heart, and be prepared to tailor your responses depending on what the interviewer actually asks.

Don’t be modest “Interviews are not the time for candidates to be modest about their achievements,” advises Allen & Overy’s Zoë. “While arrogance is not recommended either, students should identify all their strengths and achievements before their interview, and prepare the best examples possible to demonstrate these skills.”

Don’t be inconsistent Nichola of Taylor Wessing urges applicants to be consistent in their reasoning for applying to firms, “One of the major errors that students can make is to passionately describe how they are interested only in training in a mid-sized firm for many well-explained reasons,” she says. “And then when they are asked about where else they have applied, they list a whole range of “magic circle”-sized [large] firms.”

Don’t go in unprepared “There’s really no excuse for people coming in without doing any

At the end of the interview, be sure to thank your interviewers by name. It also makes a good impression if later that day you

preparation or research on the firm,” says DLA Piper’s Claire. “A prepared and knowledgeable student will easily impress me, whereas the opposite will have the opposite effect.”

can obtain their email address and send them a “thank you” for taking the time to interview you. Not only will it create a longer-lasting impression of you, it also shows that you are serious in your application to the firm or chambers. Depending on the firm, feedback might also be available for unsuccessful candidates. However, you shouldn’t reach for the phone the minute the rejection letter lands on your doormat. Take some time to reflect on where you fell down during the interview or assessment day. If you still don’t know what went wrong, then contact the graduate recruiter. But remember, these are very busy people, and they may simply not have the time to give any further feedback than that given in the rejection letter. Finally, don’t forget that interviewing is an art form, and improves with time. If you have an interview lined up and you are daunted by the prospect, visit your careers service. It will probably be able to conduct a mock interview, to give you a feel of what it will be like to be put on the spot. Above all, be yourself – and don’t forget to smile! n

Don’t forget to expect obvious questions Nabarro’s Jane agrees that lack of preparation is one of the biggest mistakes applicants can make. “Quite often students fall down because they haven’t thought enough about some of the obvious questions they will be asked,” she says. Some of the questions she advises applicants to expect include: “What do you know about us?”, “What skills do you have that you think will make you a good solicitor?” and “Why commercial law?” Don’t forget to listen to what’s being asked “The biggest mistake applicants make is not actually listening to the question, and giving answers that they have pre-planned,” reveals Denton Wilde Sapte’s Jo. By all means make some notes on the questions that are likely to be asked, such as “Why do you want to work here?”, “What are your strengths and

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lead story

passport to qualification The law is one of the most popular career paths for graduates. Real World takes a look at the profession and finds out what you need to do to become a qualified lawyer

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hy do you want to become a lawyer? It’s a simple question, but perhaps not that easy to answer. Maybe you’ve been inspired by the books of John Grisham, or it could be the work of human rights lawyers such as Cherie Booth who’ve prompted your interest. Or perhaps it’s just the thought of swishing around in a barrister’s gown. Whatever it is, you are not alone. According to Ucas, in 2007 law was the most popular degree to study at university, with a whopping 84,860 applications. Then there are all the students who undertake the law conversion course known as the graduate diploma in law (GDL) or common professional examination (for more information on converting, see our feature on page 44). In England and Wales the legal profession is, generally speaking, split into two, with solicitors and barristers carrying out different functions. Although nowadays the line between the two professions is becoming blurred, it is still useful to think of the legal profession in this way.

Photograph: Yang Ou

Solicitors Historically, solicitors have been responsible for handling any legal matter except conducting proceedings in court – although solicitors do largely handle cases tried in magistrates’ courts. Barristers carry out the bulk of advocacy in the rest of the courts. There are also a growing number of “solicitor advocates” who can act in any level of court. The most common route to become a solicitor starts with taking an undergraduate law degree, or a degree in any subject followed by the GDL. But you can also qualify as a solicitor via the Institute of Legal Executive (ILEX) route. For more information on ILEX, turn to our case study in the alternative careers section.

Future solicitors then take a one-year course, known as the legal practice course (LPC), while student barristers follow the bar vocational course (BVC) – see below. The LPC is the vocational part of becoming a solicitor. The course comprises skills, compulsory subjects, optional subjects (also known as electives) and pervasive topics. Depending on the course provider, the LPC can be studied full-time or part-time – on weekday evenings and at weekends. The cost of the LPC can vary significantly, and fees can range from £5,000 to £9,000. Those students who already have a training contract lined up when they start the LPC may have their fees paid by the training contract provider.

Training contract The training contract for solicitors comprises two years where trainee solicitors put into practice the knowledge and skills they have garnered to date. During the training contract you are required by the Law Society to cover at least three areas of work. You will be supervised by a qualified solicitor during this time. At most large law firms, your training contract will be split into “seats” – you might spend six months in four departments, or four months in six departments. To find out more about different seats, take a look at our case studies. During the training contract you are also required to complete the professional skills course. This aims to make sure trainee solicitors have reached an appropriate level of knowledge and skills during the LPC and training contract. Establishing what type of firm you want to work for can be a difficult decision to make. Solicitors firms vary from single-partner “high street” firms, to multinational law firms with hundreds of partners. To learn more about the types of firms there are, turn to our solicitorfocused section.

Barristers Unlike solicitors, the vast majority of barristers are self-employed, working in “sets of chambers”. They share the cost of premises and support staff with other members of chambers. However, there are exceptions to selfemployment. Around 3,000 barristers are employed in companies or solicitors’ firms as “in-house” counsel. The Government Legal Service and the Crown Prosecution Service also offer opportunities. Future barristers need to undertake the BVC. To do so, they need to have at least a 2.2 degree in either law, or in another subject coupled with the GDL. The BVC course attempts to bridge the gap between academia and the practical work of a barrister. It includes core modules such as advocacy, drafting, opinion and professional ethics. The cost of the course ranges from around £8,000 to £11,500, depending on the course provider.

Pupillage Once students have completed the BVC they are then “called to the Bar” and are give the title “barrister-at-law”, although this will change from 2008. To practise independently, they need to undertake 12 months of pupillage. During their first “six”, pupils shadow senior practitioners. It is only in their second “six” that they can start doing court work of their own. Getting pupillage is incredibly difficult – the number of BVC students far exceeds the 600 or so vacancies. According to a Bar Council survey in 2006, more than half of BVC students applying for pupillages did not even get interviews. What’s more, of those students who did get an interview, half had not been offered pupillage. For more information about the life of a pupil barrister, turn to our feature on page 28. n

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legal s e l g a e

path for r e e r a c r la u p o w firms citor is a p Becoming a soli ith so many different types of la for you? t graduates, but w you choose which one is righ on offer ts o out there how d t some of the training contrac We take a look a

D

eciding whether you want to become a solicitor rather than a barrister can be difficult, especially now the distinction between the two professions has become so blurred. However, many more opportunities are available to solicitors. Each year, according to the Law Society, almost 6,000 trainees enter training contracts with the aim of qualifying as a solicitor, whereas for would-be barristers there are only 600 or so pupillages. Decisions, decisions When applying for training contracts, one of the biggest choices you’ll face is deciding what type of law firm will suit you – and note, they are “firms”, not companies. They start with the small “high street” firms, whose work centres on conveyancing, family law and criminal

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matters. At the other end of the spectrum are huge, multinational firms that deal with a broad range of corporate and commercial work. (In addition, a few training contracts are available for “in-house” lawyers with companies; for details of opportunities, see www.lawsociety.org.uk.) To get an idea of which firms have good reputations. take a look at a law firm directory, such as www.legal500.com. Broadly speaking, law firms can be categorised as follows: High street/legal aid Found up and down the country, these small firms deal with private client matters, and sometimes act for local businesses. Given the size of the practices, not all can offer training contracts. Salaries here are


solicitor | overview

lower than elsewhere, but they must pay trainees the Law Society minimum – £17,110 in central London and £15,332 outside London. Regional firms Larger than their high street counterparts, these have full-service commercial practices, but operate from a single or several sites in a region. Typically, their clients are also based in that region. Take a look at our case studies with Dickinson Dees and Mills & Reeve trainees. National firms Often regional firms merge to create a single network of firms throughout the country – such as Eversheds and DLA Piper. Their clients are largely UK public and private companies, and work will be done on a national basis, drawing on resources across the offices.

Photograph: Yang Ou

City firms These London-based firms undertake high-quality work for major companies, including FTSE 100 clients. Rather than run offices abroad, they typically have “best

friends” agreements with law firms across the globe. Trainees are paid well, but may have to work long hours. International firms These firms handle work across multiple jurisdictions, and will have offices spanning the world. The appeal for trainees is that overseas secondments are sometimes available. White & Case, for example, guarantees an overseas posting during training contracts. The “magic circle” These are the crème de la crème: Allen & Overy, Clifford Chance, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Linklaters, and Slaughter and May. (There is an ongoing debate as to whether Herbert Smith should be added.) Training contracts for these firms are highly sought-after. As part of the Law Society requirements, trainees must gain exposure to three different types of law during their training contract, so they will spend time in various departments. (Jones Day is an exception, as it offers trainees a non-rotational

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exposure... to what you want to real work We believe the best way to develop your raw talent is to expose you to the rigours and pressures of actually practising law.

to real clients You’ll attend client meetings, make and take calls and play an important part in developing the firm’s client relationships.

to a unique culture Supportive, informal and self-confident, Macfarlanes is an environment that recognises and celebrates individuality.

to quality training Real work, client contact and first-class education – come qualification, you will know what it’s like to be a lawyer.

For more information please contact: Vicki Dimmick Macfarlanes 10 Norwich Street, London, EC4A 1BD Tel: 020 7831 9222 Fax: 020 7831 9607 email: gradrec@macfarlanes.com www.macfarlanes.com


solicitor | case study

“

I’ve had a wide variety of work, including drafting of board meetings, due diligence and pro bono work

training contract.) To find out more about the type of work trainees do in different seats, take a look at our case studies on the following pages. vacation schemes The best way to find out which type of firm will suit you is to undertake placements at a variety of firms. Competition is high, so get your application in early. Typically, deadlines for summer schemes are at the end of January. However, law firms advise against booking back-to-back vacation schemes – instead, boost your CV by doing a variety of activities. Apply yourself Most law firms offer their training contracts two years before they are due to start. So law undergraduates should apply at the end of their penultimate year, while non-law students should apply in their final year before they start the GDL. Most of the major firms will require you to fill in online application forms. For advice on completing application forms, see “Killer applications”, page 6. n

corporate

following which several of its assistants and partners moved to Orrick]. The process involved sending a CV and covering letter.

Age: 23 Degree: Law, 2.1, London School of Economics LPC: BPP, London Firm: Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe

What type of work are you doing in your current seat? I have been fortunate in that I’ve had a wide variety. We work in a small chain, so mostly I’m with an associate, senior associate and partner. Day-to-day, I’m involved in various things including the drafting of board meetings and due diligence. In addition to corporate work, I’ve also had the chance to take the role of company secretary. I have also done some pro bono work.

Photograph of Anna Thomander by Yang Ou

Anna Thomander

Why did you decide upon a career in law? I came to England from Sweden because I thought it would be a good platform for my career. I wanted something with an international reach and an academic angle. My mum used to be a lawyer, so I spoke to a couple of her acquaintances, and I was intrigued by law as a career. What did the application process involve? I originally applied to Coudert Brothers [in 2005 Coudert announced its break-up,

What do you enjoy most about your job? The people I work with. At first I was a bit nervous about corporate, as I didn’t think I would be well-suited to it, but everyone is approachable and friendly. People always apply to

American firms because they like the sound of long hours and higher wages. But one of the key advantages of Orrick is the number of trainees – it means we get a good variety of work, and there’s not much time spent photocopying, as some trainees fear. What do you like least? Probably the unpredictability of hours. I know a lot of people make no plans, because at 4pm something could land on your desk. Being a planning freak, I find that hard to cope with. What advice do you have for readers? Take the opportunity to do vacation schemes, and go to open days to get a feel for what you’re letting yourself in for. Also, be as honest as possible with the application process. My approach was that I didn’t want to work for an employer that wasn’t on the same wavelength as me.

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BE LOCAL – GO GLOBAL

At DLA Piper, becoming the leading global business law firm depends on our most important asset – our people. That’s why we take so much care in recruiting and retaining the best. We offer exceptional worldwide career opportunities in a collaborative environment that is challenging, rewarding and truly different from that of our competitors. In the legal services sector, DLA Piper really is a different kind of business. And you can expect a different kind of life here too. For more information visit: www.dlapiper.com


solicitor | case studies

“

if you enjoy problem-solving, law is a good career, because every client and deal have unique challenges

good career to choose, because every client and deal have unique challenges that need to be resolved.

banking Alexis Leonidou Age: 25 Degree: Law, 2.1, Leeds University LPC: Nottingham Law School Firm: Travers Smith Why did you decide upon a career in law? I have wanted to study law for as a long as I can remember. I think it goes back to my childhood – watching LA Law on television. However, I didn’t know if I wanted to be a solicitor or a barrister. During the course of my degree I got work experience at a corporate law firm in Leeds, which confirmed my interest in a career in corporate law.

What do you like least? The hours can be demanding. We’re not working till midnight every night, but at a City firm it’s certainly not a nine-to-five job. But you become used to that, and you feel achievement when you get to the end of a deal. What advice do you have for readers? The most important thing is to consider what type of law you are interested in – corporate, family, property, general high street and so on. A whole range of law firms practise different kinds of law. Then I recommend people get work experience at a law firm, either on a vacation scheme at a large firm or through a work experience placement at a local solicitors. That will help you decide if the firm is right for you. It will also help you to decide what areas of law you are interested in. Plus it looks great on your CV.

What did the application process involve? At the time we had to send in a CV with a covering letter. At some other firms you have to do a specific application form. I was then called to a first interview with one partner. If you get through that, then there’s a second interview with two partners. What type of work are you doing in your current seat? Banking is a transactional seat, and we do a lot of work on corporate deals, putting the appropriate debt finance in place for our clients. At present we are acting for a company rather than a bank. We are negotiating with the bank’s lawyers to agree the various loans they will need to acquire another company. If you are interested in City work, Travers Smith is great. It’s not a huge firm where you get lost in the crowd. We work in small teams and get great training, and you really feel your contribution as a trainee is valued. What do you enjoy most about your job? I like the fact that every day is different. Also, you get involved in really interesting work. At firms such as Travers Smith, you learn not only about law but also about how the City works. If you enjoy problem-solving, law is a

Why did you decide upon a career in law? I wanted the opportunity to work with intelligent and motivated people, to be well remunerated, and to embark on a career that gives you options in the future. More specifically, I chose White & Case to gain exposure to top-tier work in an international context, and the opportunity to work and travel abroad. What did the application process involve? I filled in an online application form. This was followed by a request for further information. Then I attended two interviews on the same day – one with partners, and the other with HR and an associate. What type of work are you doing in your current seat? The department specialises in acquisition finance. I am involved in drafting the documentation for the multibillion-pound loans that are used to fund the current frenzy of mergers and acquisitions. What do you enjoy most about your job? I enjoy being part of a team, not only in terms of our office or even of White & Case, globally but also working within a network – including local counsel, bankers, lawyers, accountants and consultants – all working towards one goal. I also like the fact that with White & Case you are guaranteed a seat abroad. I am spending six months in Tokyo as part of my training contract. What do you like least? The unpredictability of the hours.

banking acquisition finance Simon King Age: 26 Degree: Human Sciences, 2.1, Oxford University GDL: Nottingham Law School LPC: Nottingham Law School Firm: White & Case

What advice do you have for readers? The application process involves a strong element of chance, because so many people of similar ability are applying for training contracts. My advice would be to apply to lots of firms and maximise your chances. Also, try to learn more about the different opportunities available. It is worth investing time to research the differences between the firms, and to talk to people already in the profession who can give you the inside track.

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In law there are no short cuts

But there are fast tracks Eversheds is a major international law firm in the middle of an exhilarating phase of growth that will see us become a leading light on the global legal stage. So, join us as a trainee and you are guaranteed a stimulating experience: opportunities and challenges will come thick and fast and our exceptionally talented team will involve you in diverse, high profile legal work. We will give you the best possible start. And with good reason: by challenging and supporting our trainees in equal measures, we ensure that they stay on the fast track. Find out more by visiting our website.

www.eversheds.com Š EVERSHEDS LLP 2007. Eversheds LLP is a limited liability partnership.


solicitor | case studies

responsibility. It was a great experience, and it improved my ability to communicate with people at different levels, as well as my advocacy skills. What do you like least? Eversheds recognises the need for work/life balance, so I can’t complain about the hours. Everyone in the City works hard when they’re busy. When you do end up staying late at Eversheds, it is noticed and appreciated. When it’s not so busy there is no pressure to stay around for the sake of it, as there is at some law firms, .

corporate tax Deepesh Upadhyay

Age: 24 Degree: Law, 2.1, King’s College, London LPC: BPP, London Firm: Eversheds (London office)

What advice do you have for readers? The best advice I can give is to attend careers events and law fairs. Speak to representatives from law firms, and apply for vacation schemes to get an insight. Law firm brochures often give out the same message – the best way to make an informed decision is to experience it for yourself.

vacation placement. At the end of the placement, I was offered a training contract that included the firm paying the LPC fees. What type of work are you doing in your current seat? I am in a litigation seat and I share a room with my supervisor, who gives me about half of my work. I also assist other members of the department. I could be asked to research new legal developments, or attend witness interviews before litigation. I am also going to attend a judicial review at the Royal Courts of Justice. There is no typical day as a trainee; part of being a trainee is helping out wherever you can, which makes the job interesting and varied.

Why did you decide upon a career in law? I have always been interested in the impact that law has on the corporate world and its role in business. I enjoyed reading law at university, and my interest was reinforced through participating in various vacation schemes. One of my vacation placements was at Eversheds’ London office – this was the one I enjoyed the most because of the work I was given and the environment I was in. I had the opportunity to work in different departments, so I found it interesting and learnt a lot there. What did the application process involve? When I finished my vacation placement at Eversheds, I was informed there was an opportunity to apply for a training contract. I followed the application process (filling out the application form). My application was accepted, and I subsequently had an interview with graduate recruitment and a partner. Because I had done the vacation placement, the firm already had a good insight into my capabilities. They then sent me a letter confirming I had got the training contract.

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i could be researching new legal developments or attending witness interviews

Commercial disputes and construction Emily Atkinson

Age: 25 Degree: Law, 2.1, Cardiff University LPC: University of the West of England Firm: Burges Salmon

What type of work are you doing in your current seat? My current seat in tax is wide-ranging – it includes research, problem-solving, drafting documents, responding to questions regarding tax on points of law, and interacting with other departments in the firm. I will be qualifying into the corporate tax department. The role is technical, varied and interesting.

Why did you decide upon a career in law? It wasn’t something that I’d wanted to do from a young age, but during my A-levels I was trying to choose a degree that would lead to a professional qualification. I sought careers advice, talked about the things I enjoyed, and ended up going down the law path. I did some work experience, and set about the degree with an open mind. I found I really enjoyed it, so I decided to follow the career all the way.

What do you enjoy most about your job? During my training contract, I’ve been given meaty jobs to do, along with plenty of supervision and guidance. One of my highlights was a three month pro-bono secondment to the Mary Ward legal centre in Holborn, central London. I was given a lot of

What did the application process involve? I came to Burges Salmon for an open day. It was a chance to look around and meet trainees. We also had to undertake a couple of exercises, including an ice-breaker and then a negotiation. I was then invited back to do a two-week

What do you enjoy most about your job? I picked a legal career because it’s intellectually stimulating. I rarely come into work knowing exactly what the day will involve. I enjoy meeting people, which is why I like litigation – you get to meet witnesses, and have conferences with barristers. Plus the pay for solicitors is good. I wouldn’t want to work in London. I don’t think you get involved in the work as much there – in London firms you are a small cog in a big wheel. What do you like least? Lawyers produce so much paper, and as a trainee the dullest aspects are proofreading and bundling documents. But here, we have a team of paralegals who assist, so trainees don’t get stuck doing it all the time. We’re lucky to have that system. My impression is that at London firms’ trainees do far more photocopying and bundling. What advice do you have for readers? Get out and meet different firms. It’s a two-way process, to find out where you’ll be happy and for them to get to like you. Apply for open days and assessment centres, and try to do some vacation schemes. In interviews, be yourself and be enthusiastic. Having interests outside academia, such as being involved with a university law society, helps give your CV the edge.

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‘So

Anjalee Patel joined Linklaters in 2006. You can read about her experiences on our website.

what’s it really like?

How is it, such a simple question can so often be avoided by employers? It’s the one thing you probably want to ask and definitely need to know. On our website we’ve included various features that are designed to give an honest flavour of Linklaters. There’s really no substitute for the kind of exposure you get on a vacation scheme or by meeting people at campus events, but we’ve done our best to provide insights and information that come a close second. We hope you’ll visit soon.

What do you need to know? www.linklaters.com/careers/ukgrads Linklaters LLP

YOUR FUTURE IS ORANGE... AND BLUE. Call Jennifer Seymour on 0870 763 1419 to learn more about the No. 1 law firm to work for.

www.graduates4law.co.uk E: graduates4law@martjohn.com


solicitor | case studies

law. I liked the idea of doing something intellectually challenging, and I knew it was the right kind of job for me. What did the application process involve? Back then, there was an application form to fill out online. If you were successful, you were invited for interview. There was one interview with an associate where you talked about your interests, experience and background, and then a more specific commercial interview with a partner. You were given a corporate situation, and you had to discuss the commercial issues that might arise from it. [The application process now includes a critical reasoning test.]

REAL ESTATE

Jonathan Powling

Age: 24 Degree: Law, 2.1, Sheffield University LPC: Nottingham Law School Firm: Linklaters Why did you decide upon a career in law? I did a law degree at university, and from that I knew I wanted to pursue a career in

What type of work are you doing in your current seat? We work mostly on cross-border, multi-jurisdictional transactions such as large-scale sale-and-leasebacks involving hundreds of properties. As a trainee, you immediately get to meet and work with the network of lawyers across the globe. Working at a large City law firm, you really feel you are at the cutting edge.

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What do you enjoy most about your job? The variety of the work, and also the people I work with. At Linklaters, with 130 trainees starting in most years, there is a collegiate feel that I like. It means there is always someone to go for lunch or have a drink with. Now with the tailored LPC course [for more details see “Back to School”, page 48], trainees will have a chance to meet before they walk through the door, too. What do you like least? The most challenging part is that as a trainee, every day you do something for the first time. Also a lot of documents require a high technical knowledge of the law, so keeping up to date with legal changes is another challenge. What advice do you have for readers? Apply for vacation schemes. Although the scheme I did was not at Linklaters, it was a great chance to see what goes on at a law firm. Also, fill in application forms carefully. Try not to cut and paste answers, and tailor your responses to specific firms.

you get to meet and work with lawyers across the globe. at a large city firm, you really feel you are at the cutting edge experience placements at several law firms. The Slaughter and May scheme gave me an insight into life as a City lawyer. I enjoyed the work and got on with the people, so I applied for a training contract.

commercial real estate Megan Stanley

Age: 25 Degree and classification: English Literature, First, Exeter University GDL: College of Law, Guildford LPC: BPP, London Firm: Slaughter and May Why did you decide upon a career in law? I considered a career in law while still at school, but chose to do a degree in English because I enjoyed the subject. I knew I could do the postgraduate diploma in law afterwards. While at university I did work

What did the application process involve? I just sent my CV and a covering letter – there was no lengthy application form. I was interviewed by two partners. They were interested in finding out about me and why I wanted to work at Slaughter and May rather than asking technical legal questions. What type of work are you doing in your current seat? I have been involved with transactions such as the acquisition or disposal of real estate. Often a deal will involve the transfer of several properties. After an acquisition, we work with clients on the ongoing relationship with the various tenants and the management of the property. I have also worked on the property aspects of large commercial transactions, which often require the input of lawyers across several groups within the firm. What do you enjoy most about your job? The job is challenging and interesting because the work is so varied. A day’s work could

involve researching points of law, drafting legal documents or communicating with a client in order to understand and respond to their requirements. I have been involved in a variety of transactions because the firm has a multi-specialist approach – lawyers are not required to limit their areas of expertise. There is also scope for travel. Trainees are regularly seconded overseas. What do you like least? Initially it was difficult making the transition from student to professional life, and realising that clients and colleagues depend on the accuracy and quality of your work. However, although I am ultimately responsible for my work, I am well supported, and colleagues are happy to answer questions. What advice do you have for readers? There is strong competition for training contracts, and achieving good grades is important. But law firms are looking for rounded individuals, so get involved in as many activities as possible. Participating in vacation schemes is a good way of working out what area of law you are interested in, and whether a particular firm is right for you. But don’t dedicate your whole summer to this – explore your other interests, too.

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solicitor | case studies

PROPERTY – HOUSING INVESTMENT Emily Green

Age: 23 Degree: History, First, Durham University GDL: College of Law, York LPC: College of Law, York Firm: Dickinson Dees Why did you decide upon a career in law? I wanted something that was challenging, practical, with a lot of contact with people, and that involved problem-solving – there’s been a lot of that. I wanted it to be difficult and to be learning all the time.

FINANCIAL LITIGATION

What did the application process involve? It was quite straightforward. The firm uses an online application form, then gives you online tests. I then had half a day of interviewing and some more verbal and numerical tests. Of all the applications I did, I found this firm’s was the simplest. There weren’t too many questions, and I didn’t feel I was repeating myself.

Mateja Maher Age: 25 Degree: French and German, 2.1, Oxford University GDL: Nottingham Law School LPC: Nottingham Law School Firm: Simmons & Simmons Why did you decide upon a career in law? While at university, I considered going into academia, but the expense of further study prevented me from pursuing this. I did not want to waste my degree and go into a job where my language skills would not be necessary. With that in mind, I did internships at an international law firm and an investment bank. I found the law firm environment appealing: interesting people, interesting work, and plenty of scope for working with foreign clients. As a result, I knew a career in law would appeal to me. What did the application process involve? It was relatively painless: I submitted a CV, application form and covering letter over the internet. I was then invited to an assessment day. This comprised a document exercise, an hour-long interview with a partner, and a further written exercise in the afternoon. In between all this, we had an informal lunch with some trainees, who also showed us round the firm. Within a couple of days of my interview, I had an offer letter. What type of work are you doing in your current seat? I’m involved in an exciting case that’s about to go to trial. The timetable has been tight, and the team have had to work hard. I’m currently interviewing witnesses and drafting witness statements. I’ve also had a lot of contact with our barristers. I’ve been in court on a few occasions, mainly thanks to an injunction application we made on behalf of our client. Gratifyingly, we won. What do you enjoy most about your job? Working with stimulating, intelligent people. I also like the fact that litigation is very

“

Visit the firm, so you get a feel for it and decide if you like the people – you may be spending the next 30 years with them

much the frontline of law. All the knowledge that you learn at law school and from doing research can be applied, and can have tangible, rewarding results. What do you like least? Sometimes the hours can be stressful, but it depends on what you’re doing. Working hard can take its toll, but that’s what it’s like in the real world. What advice do you have for readers? Trainees are always the best people to talk to when it comes to advice on a career in law. Particularly in City firms, they can give you a “warts-and-all” description of how life is at a big firm. I would also recommend visiting any firm that you intend to apply to. It always helps to get a feel for a place, and to decide whether you like the people. After all, you may be spending the next 30 years with them.

What type of work are you doing in your current seat? I mainly act for property investment companies that buy big portfolios of properties and then sell them on or lease them out. My work includes responding to enquiries about lease terms. I do a lot of drafting of “licences to assign” and lease agreements. They are standard documents, but all differ slightly. I enjoy seeing transactions from beginning to end – I get the chance to really move files along myself rather than relying on others. What do you enjoy most about your job? I have a lot of client contact in my current seat. Because I have a lot of responsibility for files, I get to know clients quite well. I realised early on I didn’t want to work in London, and I was attracted to Newcastle because it has a variety of work and a lot of international and London-based clients. We have a good work/life balance here. What do you like least? Too much work. Only kidding. I do have lots to do, and it’s a tricky seat to come into because of the volume of work – it’s difficult, but that’s what I wanted. What advice do you have for readers? Decide geographically where you want to be, and do as much research as you can to find a firm that suits you. Also, be completely honest on your application form rather than building yourself up to be something you’re not. That way, you’ll have a good interview. Firms are interested in who you are and what you do – that’s what makes you a good person to work for them.

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Vanessa & Shamila: Both Trainee Reps, Vanessa and Shamila represent the views and concerns of their fellow trainees and work closely with Graduate Recruitment to design new initiatives. “I’m quite new to this, so Shamila is helping me understand my role and is showing me all the ropes.”

Our training & your hard work. A brighter future. www.law-now.com/gradrec T R A I N E E S O L I C I T O R O P P O R T U N I T I E S W I T H A N I N T E R N AT I O N A L L AW F I R M

Great things come from great relationships OC Realworld 190x140

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You'll be equal to the task, thanks to our comprehensive training programme, which is geared to your personal development. What would you rather be doing? Getting on first name terms with the photocopier at another law firm or getting on with the real work at Osborne Clarke?

The Osborne Clarke Graduate Training Programme.

Real people. Real experience. graduate.recruitment@osborneclarke.com

Apply yourself. Online.

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solicitor | case studies

“

AVIATION FInanCE

i like having my own caseload, lots of client interaction and the fact that you can help people

Myrto Gouti

Age: 28 Degree: Law, 2.1, City University LPC: College of Law, London Firm: Norton Rose Why did you decide upon a career in law? When you’re still at university there are opportunities to do lots of summer placements. I did one placement at a bank and another at a law firm. I decided that the law suited me – it was an informed decision. I think it’s good to do placements as it means you can find out if you’re doing the right thing. What did the application process involve? There is an online application form. Then when you get through to the next round, there is a day with a group assessment, and an interview with two people from the firm. What type of work are you doing in your current seat? I speak to clients and collect documents. I also check documents and prepare drafts of documents to send to clients. Plus I sometimes do pieces of research. I find aviation finance interesting – every time I get on a plane I know what model it is and how much it cost. All our clients are big names that we all know – it’s fun to find out how many planes they are buying or selling. What do you enjoy most about your job? I really like the balance between interacting with people on the telephone and via email, and the quieter side of drafting and so on. What do you like least? Sometimes you have a lot of responsibility, which can be a bit daunting. But it’s also exciting. What advice do you have for readers? I would recommend pursuing placements, as it’s a very good way to get into the law and decide if it’s for you.

mental health

Trisha McSkeane Age: 35 Degree: Law, 2.1, Open University LPC: College of Law, Guildford Firm: Hodge, Jones & Allen

does a lot of judicial review. I don’t have these types of cases, but I learn about them.

Why did you decide upon a career in law? I started off as a qualified nurse, and did that for 14 years. Towards the end of my time in nursing I fancied doing something different. I studied A-level law, and really loved that, so I thought I’d like to pursue it as a career. What did the application process involve? I was working here already as a paralegal. When I applied it was only an in-house opportunity. I was taking the place of a trainee who was on maternity leave. I completed a straightforward online application form, and then had an interview with the partners. What type of work are you doing in your current seat? I have my own caseload, which predominantly will go to tribunal. My clients are those sectioned under the Mental Health Act. I go and see them to find out if they want to appeal, and if so have representation at tribunal. My supervisor

What do you enjoy most about your job? I like having my own caseload, and having lots of client interaction. In the mental health seat, I like the fact you can help people. At Hodge, Jones & Allen there are lots of interesting areas of law. The training contract isn’t one where you spend your days at a photocopier – we have a good support team to do that. You get to do hands-on work. What do you like least? Sometimes clients have unreasonable expectations of what a solicitor can actually do for them. Plus there is the pressure to time-record constantly. You have to justify every minute of your day. What advice do you have for readers? My experience is one of a mature student. I would say: play to your strengths, from your past experience. Target firms with practice areas that would benefit from your experience. Also, get some legal work experience. This type of firm especially values work experience.

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all our clients are big names that we all know – it’s fun to find out how many planes they are buying or selling

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HAVE YOU EVER BUILT A SCHOOL? GONE BACK TO PLAY GROUP? CLIMBED A MOUNTAIN? YOU HAVE? GREAT. YOU COULD BE JUST THE TYPE OF PERSON WE’RE LOOKING FOR. In the not too distant past, students went from school to college to law school to law firm. Now, you’re more likely to spend a year out doing something that little bit different than you are to jump straight onto the great corporate conveyor belt. These days, qualifications plus life experience plus personality is the magic key. Which is why at LG we fully embrace that. We’re after well-rounded people, not square pegs. Versatility, not predictability. So bring us your experience, your colour, your humour and your vitality. We’ll help you shine. To find out more about a career in law with us, simply visit www.lg-legal.com/graduates

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solicitor | case studies

every day is a challenge. we are given a good level of responsibility – it’s an enjoyable, if steep, learning curve

PRIvate tax Vijay Singh Age: 22 Degree: Law, 2.1, Nottingham Trent University LPC: Nottingham Law school Firm: Mills & Reeve Why did you decide upon a career in law? I studied A-level law and the interest grew from that. Also my mum wanted me to pursue a career in law because my uncle was a barrister in India, which is where my family stems from. I enjoyed my law degree, so I thought I’d go the whole hog and qualify. What did the application process involve? I got the training contract via the vacation scheme. I applied via a paper-based application form, which is now online. During the three-week vacation scheme I worked in different departments every day, so I got a grand overview of the way firm works. Lots of of social events were organised there, too. What type of work are you doing in your current seat? I am in a private tax seat, working on wills, intestate and probate issues. I am drafting quite a lot, and I am also doing some trust and charity work. It’s a diverse range of topics I am delving into. What do you enjoy most about your job? The staff. I really like the people I work with, both the trainees and the fee-earners. The trainees have been recruited well and we have moulded together as a group. It spurs you to enjoy your time here – that’s important because we spend a lot of time at work. What do you like least? Coming straight out of university, having had no gap year, it was strange having responsibility. It was hard to make the transition from nothing to everything. The ramifications and consequences of your actions are immense. What advice do you have for readers? Be prepared to work hard, and give it your all. It is tough. There can be long hours, and it is emotionally and physically demanding. But at the end you’ll have a strong career, which will pay dividends.

financial services and investment funds Michael Marshall Degree: Politics, Philosophy and Economics, First, Oxford University GDL: Oxford Brookes LPC: Oxford Institute of Legal Practice Firm: Macfarlanes Why did you decide upon a career in law? I wanted academic challenge, but set in a business context. The prospect of being well-paid didn’t hurt, either. What did the application process involve? There was an application form, and then I was invited for an assessment day. It involved written exercises, a group exercise, an interview with two partners and lunch. How useful did you find the LPC? Although I don’t use all the information on a daily basis, it provided a good grounding. What type of work are you doing in your current seat? I’m involved with establishing and structuring private equity funds and other investment vehicles. I prepare and draft documents, speak to clients, go to meetings, and do legal research. What do you enjoy most about your job? Dealing with clients and providing them with solutions. Every day is a challenge. We are given a good level of responsibility – it’s an enjoyable, if steep, learning curve. What do you like least? The hours can be long, especially towards the end of a transaction, but often this can be the most satisfying time. What advice do you have for readers? Doing a vacation scheme provides a good insight into a career in law. It also shows potential employers that you are serious about your application, and that you know what a career in law broadly entails. n

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Photograph: Yang Ou

d e l l a c r a b e to th


barrister | overview

"Y

Find your vocation To become a barrister, students need to undertake the BVC (see the feature on law schools for more details). This vocational training is then followed by the Bar’s equivalent of a training contract, known as pupillage. If you are a law undergraduate, you should apply for pupillage during your final year; non-law students should apply during the conversion course year. Pupillage usually lasts 12 months, with work split into two “sixes” – during your first six you will be shadowing your pupil master. All pupillages must be funded, but the amount you get paid can vary from £5,000 for six months, up to around £40,000 for 12 months. Once you have completed pupillage, there is no guarantee that you will secure tenancy. Consequently, some pupils continue to work for a further six months, sometimes at different chambers, and become “third sixers”.

theoretically limitless. Barristers who specialise in tax, for example, can earn vast amounts of money. Some top barristers – known as Queen’s Counsel or silks – at commercial sets of chambers take home more than £2 million a year. But most practitioners do not earn such vast amounts. Juniors – barristers who have not been appointed as a QC – at the criminal Bar can find they work very hard, yet take home very little.

Seasonal variations Most pupillages are advertised through Olpas, the Bar Council’s online application process. There are two recruitment seasons: one in summer, one in autumn. Typically, the larger sets of

Are you experienced? Anyone who is considering becoming a barrister is strongly advised to undertake “mini-pupillages” at a variety of barristers’ chambers. Not only will it help you decide whether you really want to embark on a career as a barrister, but it will also enhance your CV enormously. Mini-pupillages usually involve shadowing a barrister for between three and five days to gain an insight into daily work at the Bar. Your mini-pupillage may be formally assessed through either a piece of research or some written work. You may also find it useful to undertake some work experience at a solicitor’s firm, for comparison’s sake. Another way to boost your CV is through debating or “mooting”. Mooting is an extracurricular activity organised by many law schools. Participants take part in simulated court proceedings, which often comprise putting forward an oral argument, as well as drafting briefs.

students to attend several communal dinners at their chosen Inn before they

chambers tend to go for the summer season. During each season you can

Mooting competitions are often sponsored by solicitors’ firms or chambers,

can become a barrister. But the Bar isn’t just about eating fine

apply to 12 Olpas chambers – there is no limit to the number of non-Olpas

and are a great way to get an insight into appellate practice.

foods and quaffing port. The mainstay of a barrister’s work is dealing with disputes. While historically this would mean appearances in court, nowadays the number of matters going before a judge is decreasing, but barristers are still required to put forward arguments in written form. Advocacy has long been the staple of barristers’ work, and that is still true for many. Increasingly, barristers are taking an advisory role – giving opinions to solicitors on technical legal matters. Barristers tend to specialise in particular legal areas, which could be anything from crime to tax or personal injury.

chambers you can apply to. The form contains standard application information, but there is space for a 150-word personal statement that you can tailor depending on which set of chambers you are applying to. For details about closing dates, visit www.pupillages.com. The site also gives information about periods during which time chambers are not allowed to make offers – typically during exam time. Given that barristers are selfemployed, the amount you can earn is

ou can tell how long a barrister has been practising by the colour of his wig.” Not a delightful image, admittedly. But it seems fitting for the profession: you are revered for wearing a horsehair wig that hasn’t been washed for 30-odd years. While the Bar is becoming a more dynamic environment to work, it still has several traditions – such as not cleaning your wig – that confuse and amuse future barristers in equal measure. For starters, there’s the quaint matter of bar vocational course (BVC) students joining an Inn and participating in “qualifying sessions”. As well as comprising lectures and educational events, these sessions also require

To learn more about the life of a pupil barrister, take a look at our case studies overleaf. You will also find more legal case studies on our website: www.realworldmagazine.com. For more information specifically about life at the Bar, take a look at the Bar Council’s website: www.barcouncil.org.uk.

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Ethnic minorities in corporate law Interested in summer vacation placements at top London corporate law firms? Then why not apply through SEO London? Towards the goal of diversifying the finance industry, SEO London offers students in depth training, high quality mentoring and extremely well paid summer vacation scheme placements with the leading corporate law firms in the City of London. Students participating in the programme will also have the opportunity, should they wish, to complete multiple vacation placements with different sponsor firms throughout Summer 2008.

To learn more about the opportunities available, the firms sponsoring the programme and to make an online application please visit www.seo-london.com.

Through its unique Seminar Series and SEO Networking, SEO London will provide every student with access to senior partners at all sponsors of the programme, including Magic Circle, Top 20 UK and US law firms. Every student participating in the programme will receive in excess of sixty hours of individually tailored pre-summer training to ensure they outperform their peers and maximise their chances of success. In addition, every participant will also be allocated a senior industry mentor to help guide them through their summer experience. Historically, as a result of this exposure and support, more than 80% of the students that have interned through SEO London have gone on to secure full time graduate positions with sponsor firms. In 2007 169 students interned through SEO London and for Summer 2008 more than 250 corporate law vacation scheme placements and investment banking internships will be available.

The deadline for applications is January 14th 2008 but students are encouraged to apply as early as possible. Alternatively you can contact Pip Beaton, Operations Manager: Email pip.beaton@seo-london.org Tel 0845 450 7830

The programme is open to penultimate year and final year undergraduates from ethnic minority groups currently under-represented in the City, specifically from Black or Asian backgrounds. “SEO is unique in all respects. It provided me with the expertise and platform to interact with some of the UK’s top business people. It gave me access to training and supporters that made the critical difference between me being offered a full time position and not. Above all, SEO provides you with a sense of belonging to a motivated group of people with one vision and one drive: success! I strongly recommend it!” Ronald Chirochangu, SEO London intern

‘one internship, infinite opportunities’


barrister | case study

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“

i enjoy learning something new every day, and meeting more experienced lawyers all the time

Yasin Patel Age: 32 Degree: English and History, 2.1, Kent University GDL: Part-time at London Guildhall University (now London Metropolitan) BVC: Part-time at Inns of Court School of Law Yasin started his career at a civil liberties and pressure group in Newham, east London, dealing with victims of racial and police harassment. He then moved to Charlton Athletic football club, directing an anti-racism project. He went on to Birnberg Peirce & Partners, where he tackled topics connected with the Oldham riots and the Burnley unrest. His work there also involved casework and research for well-known human rights solicitor Gareth Peirce on various issues including terrorism cases and anti-terrorism legislation. As much as he loved working for solicitors, it was advocacy and representing people in court, rather than casework, that appealed to him. Persuading the jury and tribunal, the various elements of advocacy, and doing it completely independently are aspects of the job that are priceless, and are why Yasin chose the Bar ahead of being a solicitor. He is still quite junior as a “third sixth” pupil, but he has already been to the Court of Appeal and dealt with cases at the High Court, some of them on a pro bono basis. How difficult was it getting pupillage? Because of my background, I had it a little easier. I’d been involved in law and legal issues-related work, and it gave me a foot in the door. It was still difficult, but I was pretty lucky. I did mini-pupillages at Garden Court and QEB Hollis Whiteman chambers. What does your work involve? Everything from first appearances at magistrates’ courts to trials at crown court. The work I do is primarily criminal. But I also do some civil work such as civil actions against the police, inquests, prison law and some immigration work. I also do a lot of pro bono work – some relating to new human rights laws; others where people can’t be represented because of their status.

How would you rate the training you’ve been given so far? I’ve been lucky both at Tooks, and now at 25 Bedford Row where I’m in my third sixth. Both pupillages were very good – I can recommend them both highly. My Inn, (Gray’s Inn) has also been instrumental in my development as an advocate, owing to the training courses that it has provided. What do you enjoy most about pupillage? Learning something new every day, whether it is a new case or old precedent. Also, meeting more experienced and knowledgeable lawyers all the time. What do you like least? The demands on your time. To be successful as a pupil, and to do justice to your client, you have to do twice as much work as a normal

practitioner. It affects your social life, as preparing for the following morning takes a lot of time. Advice to other students? Do something away from law for a while, either in another country, or by getting a job that develops other life skills. Everything you do will have some relation to law. The people skills you can build up elsewhere are priceless. If you want to find out more, you can email Yasin at yasincares@hotmail.com

Photograph of Yas

in Patel by Yang Ou

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barrister | case study

it’s a friendly chambers and everyone is helpful. they make an effort to discuss things with you and talk about both sides of a case

Orla was interested in public speaking and debating, but at school she preferred languages. However, she ended up enjoying the law side of her degree. Orla applied for training contracts to be a solicitor and had several interviews, but then realised it wasn’t for her. She kept returning to the idea of the Bar, and given her personal skills, becoming a barrister was a natural decision. Orla Grant Age: 24 Degree: Law and Spanish, 2.1, Sheffield University BVC: Northumbria University Chambers: No5 Chambers, Birmingham How difficult was it getting pupillage? It was really difficult. It’s such a confusing and worrying time. I sent out lots of applications, but I was chambers-specific [rather than taking a scattergun approach]. However, I didn’t get anywhere. That was my first attempt while I was still doing my degree. During my second attempt, I managed to get three interviews, and then three second interviews, and then I was offered two pupillages. What does your work involve? It varies. My pupillage is mixed, so I do a bit of family law, some crime and now a bit of personal injury. Within family and crime, it’s more court-based. I get into chambers at around 9am, and I’m out at court most days. I will be at court all day if it’s a trial or large hearing. If not, I come back and do some paperwork, take advice, or draft pleadings. With personal injury it’s a lot

more office-based. I’m still at the non-practising stage of pupillage. In my second six, I will be more on my feet and court-based. How would you rate the training you’ve been given so far? It’s been fantastic. It’s a friendly chambers to work for, and everyone is extremely helpful. They all make a real effort to discuss things through with you, and to talk about both sides of a case. You get to flag up with them what your approach might have been on a case, and you find out if the same outcome could have been achieved differently. What do you enjoy most about pupillage? I have reached the stage now where I’m on the verge of something that I really want to be doing. My career is about to really move forward. There is also a social side to pupillage that I enjoy. There is an annexe where people – everyone from the most junior to the most senior – do their reading and check facts on computers. There are always people to ask questions, and it helps you to get to know people a lot more quickly.

What do you like least? There is nothing really that I dislike, but I have experienced nervousness. When you start, you think everyone’s watching and observing you. But, thankfully, everyone’s friendly. And after the first month, you realise that people want to help – they are not looking at you critically. Advice to other students? You need to be aware of how competitive it is. You have to really want to practise at the Bar, and have that dedication. At the same time, don’t give up: for me it took only three people to look at my CV to give me an opportunity. During interviews, you have to be yourself. Maintaining a persona you think people want to see is extremely difficult, and in any case they’ll see through it at interview. Keep an open mind. Because of the level of competition, you can’t limit your options – for example, by saying you want to practise only criminal law in Hull. You have to be flexible about areas of law, and you need to be willing to move to different parts of the country.

Photograph of Orla

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Grant by Alex Pow ar


barrister | case study

Kate has always wanted to be a barrister. She liked the idea of a job that was different every day, rather than doing the same thing all the time. She was also keen on a career that featured aspects of academia – putting across arguments in a coherent way. And she relished the challenge of finding answers to legal questions. So the Bar was exactly the thing for her as a career choice. Kate Hallett Age: 23 Degree: Law, 2.1, Oxford University BVC: Inns of Court School of Law Chambers: Landmark How difficult was it getting pupillage? I got pupillage first time round. I did about five mini-pupillages. I did a lot of mooting, which I think strengthened my application – it was something to talk about during interviews. In my third year at university I was involved in a prestigious national mooting competition, which was helpful. What does your work involve? At the moment I am working on a lot of public and planning matters with my pupil master. I have to research specific issues, and get to grips with more general matters. I go to conferences with my pupil master, and went to court with him last week on a judicial review. My role was to take notes. Afterwards, we discussed what had been going on.

friendly, considering the quality of work and how important some of these people are. They always have time for you, and pupils are always included in drinks and chambers events. What do you enjoy most about pupillage? Finding out about new areas of law. Although I studied property law at university, applying it in a practical context is very different. There is more thinking outside the box, more coming up with tactics, and more practical thinking than at university.

What do you like least? Sometimes it can seem a bit rushed, and you don’t always have time to get to grips with a matter – you can be asked to do something urgently. But you hope that later on you’ll have a discussion to put it into context. Advice to other students? You need to have something to point to that’s “your thing” – you need to stand out. Mine was mooting. Everyone will have done mini-pupillages. Do mooting, debating, or get involved with your law society – anything to show you’re keen on law as a career and that you are willing to give up your time for it. n

How would you rate the training you’ve been given so far? It has been very, very good. It has been a good balance between being thrown in at the deep end and being patronised. The work is challenging, and there is a lot to learn and get your teeth into. Everyone here is amazingly

you need to have ‘your thing’ to make you stand out, as everyone will have done minipupillages – mine was mooting

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Crown Prosecution Service

cases – they could be anything from a straightforward plea to

The CPS’s legal trainee scheme comprises both training contracts and pupillages. Vacancies are usually advertised a

trials and appeals. You will be expected to carry out the full range of prosecutor duties, which include pre-charge advice,

year before the autumn start date,so interested applicants will need to have completed (or be due to complete) the LPC or BVC – depending on their choice of career path. Because of Law Society requirements, trainees will serve six to eight months in private practice to gain experience in other areas of law. Similarly, pupils will spend one month in chambers to experience the workings of the independent Bar. So what sort of work can trainees and pupils expect to be doing? “The CPS is very different from other law firms,” says a spokesperson. “We deal with criminal law, and don’t have clients in the sense that solicitors in private practice do. Our lawyers work in teams, with caseworkers handling a wide variety of criminal cases from pre-charge to sentence.” The CPS suggests that students take the time to do some work shadowing of a CPS lawyer to get an idea of what the work involves. For more information, take a look at our case study overleaf. Once you start work, you will be given a trained supervisor, who is responsible for your daily work and your personal development. Under supervision, you will handle a range of

case review and preparation, plus advocacy. The application process is pretty straightforward – an online application form, followed by online verbal and numerical reasoning tests. Applicants will also have to take critical reasoning tests, do a written and oral presentation of a case study, and finally undergo an interview. Training contracts and pupillages are located throughout England and Wales, with assessment centres and training contracts held at various sites. While applicants can specify a preferred location, this cannot be guaranteed by the CPS.

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Government Legal Service The GLS employs around 1,900 lawyers and trainees, and acts for a sole client – the government. GLS lawyers provide legal services to the entire range of the government’s activities – “from the armed forces to zoology”, says its website. One of the main attractions of the GLS as a training contract provider is that it offers a mix of politics and law – ideal if you’ve already had some work experience with an MP. (continued on page 37)

Photograph: Yang Ou

ON HER MAJESTY’S SERVICE

Think that training contracts and pupillages are available only in the private sector? Think again. several opportunities are available to future lawyers in the public sector, the two main organisations being the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and the Government Legal Service (GLS).


public sector | Overview/case study

“

i do research and pieces of work for colleagues but also have my own workload – i have been drafting a statutory instrument

Joanna Bateman Age: 25 Degree: Law, 2.1, Nottingham University LPC: Nottingham Law School Institution: Government Legal Service Current seat: Advisory seat in the Cabinet Office and Central Advisory Division (COCAD) of the Treasury Solicitor’s Department Why did you decide upon a career in law? I liked the idea of a career with academic challenges. I also wanted to be involved with people and have an impact on real life. My career means I can have a mixture of the two. What did the application process involve? It has now changed to include a verbal reasoning test, but when I applied there was a straight application form. That was followed

by an interview day which involved group and written exercises, plus a panel interview. What type of work are you doing in your current seat? I am in an advisory seat doing work for the Cabinet Office and other government departments. I do research and discrete pieces of work for colleagues. I also have my own workload, and have been drafting a statutory instrument. Before this advisory seat, I did two litigation seats, which I enjoyed. Throughout my training I been given responsibility and my own caseload. Advisory work can be drier than litigation, as it is more research-based. But it does allow more in-depth knowledge of the law. What do you enjoy most about your job? The variety of work and the fact that the work we do is interesting and often high-profile. A lot of

the work we do will make the front pages of the newspapers. It also touches on everyday life – you can see the impact it has on people’s lives. What do you like least? The air conditioning is too cold. Seriously, there’s not much I don’t like – maybe it’s the moving every six months. If there is a piece of work that goes on longer than six months, as a trainee you don’t get to see its conclusion. What advice do you have for readers? Choose an area of law you have a genuine interest in, and think what type of firm you want to work for. I would highly recommend the Government Legal Service: trainees are treated well and respected as valuable members of the team, the people are nice, and you are given good work.

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public sector | overview/case study

“

I enjoy working as part of a team. it means that if you are unsure of something you can discuss it with a colleague. there is a very supportive atmosphere

(Continued from page 34) The areas of practice encompassed by the GLS are far-reaching and can touch on the freedom of information, data protection and the implications of European law. The GLS is broken down into different departments focusing on specialised areas of law. The department with the largest number of lawyers is TSol (Treasury Solicitors), which itself includes four main groups: litigation, employment and commercial contracts, advisory, and bona vacantia (ownerless goods). TSol comprises more than 350 lawyers and also has lawyers located with clients at the Department for Education and Skills, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, and HM Treasury. The next largest department, in terms of legal staff, is HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) with more than 170 lawyers. The department’s role is to ensure people understand and pay what tax they owe, and also receive what they are entitled to. It handles more than £380 billion in revenues a year. Lawyers for HMRC handle a broad range of work. As well as tax issues, they deal with public law matters such as human rights, freedom of information and judicial review. One of the unique aspects of working for the GLS is that its lawyers are required not only to interpret the law, but also to work with policy-makers and other professionals in making the law. The diversity of the GLS’s work make it an interesting place to work: “There is often considerable overlap between categories of work,” says a GLS spokesperson. “A case before the UK courts, for example, might require lawyers to advise on public law issues, on EU law and human rights law, and on changes needed to primary or secondary legislation.” If that sounds like the sort of thing you are interested in, and to get an insight into the workings of the GLS, take a look at our case studies on this page and the preceding page. n

Eran Cutliffe Age: 22 Degree: Law with English Literature, 2.1, Keele University LPC: College of Law, Chester Institution: Crown Prosecution Service Current seat: The CPS only offers crime, but to meet Law Society requirements Eran will do a secondment in a local private practice for six months. Why did you decide upon a career in law? I wanted to specialise in criminal litigation as it has always interested me. At university I found criminal law challenging, but I wanted a career I could get stuck into. A challenge is what makes work exciting. I chose the CPS over any other workplace because I knew that every file would be different – even where the facts of the case are similar. If you’re interested in advocacy, but want to be a solicitor rather than a barrister, the CPS is the place to be. What did the application process involve? I found out about working at the CPS from talks that the institution was doing all over the country. I attended a talk at the College of Law in Chester. There was an online application form with a series of questions, about work experience and qualifications. I then had an interview and was also given a case study. I had to decide whether the case in question should

be prosecuted, and if so, why. I had to present my decisions to a panel. What type of work are you doing in your current seat? I am working in a combined unit dealing with magistrates’ and crown courts. I work closely with a supervisor, who is a crown prosecutor with substantial experience. I do initial reviews of files when they are first received, and then later a full review. I am learning to gain the continuity expected of qualified prosecutors. I also do a lot of observation of trials and sentencing. What do you enjoy most about your job? I enjoy working as part of a team. It means that if you are unsure of something you can discuss it with a colleague. There is a very supportive atmosphere. What do you like least? It is difficult to say, as the ethos of the CPS is brilliant. The disadvantage of working for a national organisation is that there are a lot of hoops to jump through. What advice do you have for readers? Be sure that the career and choices you make are right for you. Also, don’t be afraid of arguing – for example, in an interview. If someone more persuasive disagrees with a point you make, but you still think you’re right, stand by your argument. n

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The costs of atte sponsorship ca nding law school without n lawyers. But did be off-putting for many would y -b options, besides b ou know there are many other e to graduates w ecoming a solicitor or barriste ho are interested r, in the legal field open ?

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Photograph: Yang Ou

what’s the alternative?


ALTERNATIVE CAREERS | Overview

W

days are the same. Dealing with a variety of requests means that he never knows what to expect. For more information on the HPD scheme and careers with the police, visit www.policecouldyou.co.uk.

hile the most obvious routes for a legal career are to become either a barrister or solicitor, many other roles with a law element are available to graduates. For example, did you know that, rather than paying your way through law school, a more costeffective way to become a legal professional could be to undertake paralegal or legal executive qualifications?

years of on-the-job training is then required before you become fully qualified. To read more about the path to becoming a legal executive, read a case study on the following pages.

Becoming a paralegal The Institute of Paralegals reports that the term “paralegal” is relatively new in the UK. According to its website, a paralegal can be defined as “someone who is not a solicitor or barrister who works in or with the law. They may apply it, administer it, interpret it, use it, monitor it or advise on it, or they may do legal (as opposed to administrative) work in the civil or criminal justice court systems”. Although this is a very wide definition and can encompass all kinds of people in legal roles, it can also be more narrowly defined as those who decide to become a “certified paralegal” – take a look at our case study overleaf to find out more.

police work For those of you interested in working in a different kind of legal environment, joining the police could be a viable alternative. Chris Dreyfus, 27, is a newly promoted inspector with the British Transport Police (BTP). He reached this position relatively early via the fast-track high-potential development (HPD) scheme. He studied computing and business at the University of Greenwich and following graduation was an IT consultant, during which time he was a special constable with the BTP. “I joined three years ago,” he says of BTP. “For the past month-and-a-half I’ve been in a counter-terrorism role, managing three teams with eight police

The Ilex route

constables and one sergeant in each. We focus primarily on London. We

gained a 2.1 in biological chemistry at the University of Leicester.

Given the expense of undertaking the LPC and the fierce competition for

conduct high-profile searches on the transport network, and work with the

“At the moment I am working on a large investigation,” she reveals. “The

training contracts, an increasingly popular method of becoming a lawyer is to become a member of the Institute of Legal Executives (Ilex). Legal executives are qualified lawyers, recognised by the Law Society and the Department for Constitutional Affairs. Qualifying takes around four years of study, with the first two years set at A-level standard and the final two at degree level. The benefit of the Ilex route is that classes are flexible, so you can “earn while you learn”. A further five

local community to gather information.” Working as a police officer is not the only option for graduates. There are many other opportunities in “civilian roles”, such as intelligence analysts, call handlers and front counter personnel. Simon Fisher, 32, is employed by the Metropolitan Police as a press officer. He graduated from York St John University with a degree in American studies and history. “About 50 per cent of my time is spent on external media enquiries from any aspect of the press – newspapers, radio, internet and so on. The other 50 per cent is spent on internal communications projects.” He says one of the things he enjoys most about his job is that no two

work revolves around gathering evidence before going to court. This involves reading emails, searching for clues, and trying to find out who might have been involved in fraud.” To get a flavour of the work, Amy suggests students undertake work experience. For example, PwC offer summer internships, and you can do work shadowing too.

Legal academia For those of you who can’t get enough of legal study, one career to consider could be that of academia. Universities offer opportunities for fellowships, tutors and lecturers, as well as studentships. To be eligible for these vacancies, most universities require you to have completed some form of postgraduate study, and to have a proven interest in the research field. To teach law at A-level, you will need a law degree – and usually a masters – but also a teaching qualification, preferably in further and adult education teaching. For GCSE law, you will be required to undertake the PGCE. To find out more about positions available in universities, take a look at The Times Higher Education Supplement’s job section: www.thesjobs.co.uk Forensic accountancy If you like the idea of combining numeracy skills with legal knowledge, forensic accountancy could be the career for you. Amy Hawkins, 25, is an associate in the forensic and assurance division at PricewaterhouseCoopers. She

To get an insider’s guide to other alternative legal careers, take a look at our case studies overleaf.

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Institute of Legal Executives

Your best route to a legal career Legal Executives are one of the three main recognised types of lawyers recognised by the Ministry of Justice in England and Wales, and their status continues to evolve within the legal profession. Over 80,000 people have chosen the ILEX route to persue their legal qualification, enjoying the ability to earn whilst they learn. Join them now. The ILEX route is ideal for those who have a degree in law but do not have a training contract, or those who hold another degree but who wish to start to study law. Your degree may even qualify for some exemptions. Call now to enquire.

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alternative careers | case studies

immensely satisfying working hard on an article and seeing it published alongside your byline. Oh yes, and working from home is great – I can sit at the computer in my jim-jams all day if I want.

LEGAL JOURNALIST Kate Hanley, 36 Kate graduated with a 2:1 in law from the University of Wales, Aberystwyth. She previously worked as a solicitor and is now a freelance legal journalist. Why did you decide to leave your career in law? I worked in a large City firm, where you had to be 100 per cent dedicated and put your personal life second. Although I expected to work long hours, it was 10 times worse than I anticipated, working evenings and weekends with zero notice. One of the partners had a little black book with everyone’s home and mobile phone numbers, and would call you at any time to come back to work – invariably at 11pm on a Friday night. I didn’t want to live like that. I don’t think anyone looks back and wishes they had spent more time in the office. What do you do in your current job? I write for the legal trade press, writing magazine articles for lawyers as well as contributing to books on the legal profession. Since having a baby a couple of years ago, I’ve gone freelance and work from home. It’s fantastic, because I’m my own boss and can work as much or as little as I like, cherry-picking the interesting commissions and rejecting anything that sounds too dull. Going freelance can be risky because you never know where your next job will come from. But because I previously spent five years working full-time in legal publishing, I made lots of useful contacts. What do you enjoy most about your job? The diversity and freedom. One week I’ll be writing about miscarriages of justice and the Court of Appeal, and the next I’ll be focusing on mergers and acquisitions in the City. I also get to interview some interesting people, such as politicians or lawyers who are at the top of their game or represent well-known individuals. I’ve always enjoyed writing, and originally wanted to be a journalist when I was at school. So I’ve kind of gone full circle and achieved my original ambition. It’s

What is the most challenging part? Sometimes an editor may give you a short deadline and you just can’t get hold of people you need to interview. It’s really tricky because you don’t want to compromise a potentially good article with poor research. So you’ve got to be really pushy and phone someone four times in a morning if need be, to get them to speak to you. As a freelancer, you need a lot of discipline – it’s too easy to take the morning, afternoon or day off. I try to really get down to it in the morning and then maybe slack off a bit in the afternoon – no different from being in the office for me, then. What advice do you have for readers considering a career in legal publishing? It helps to have some sort of background in the law, even if it’s just to degree level. The legal world has its own terminology, which is probably a bit baffling to a legal novice. Also, be prepared to write about some very dry subject matter at times. Just recently, I wrote 26,000 words on legal work in Finland and the Baltics: not my proudest moment, but I was well-paid for it.

“

I can work as much as i like, cherry-picking the interesting commissions and rejecting anything that is too dull

the claim on. If the client doesn’t have legal expenses cover, we arrange for an insurance policy with a “no win no fee” agreement. I send out a CFA (conditional fee agreement) and I then pass the claim on to whoever’s going to be dealing with it. For road traffic accidents, I check the vehicle. If necessary, I arrange for more photos to be taken. We deal with all types of personal injury claims: personal injury covers road traffic accidents and employer liability. We also have departments that deal with industrial disputes, and a team that specialises in conveyancing. What do you enjoy most about your job? I enjoy dealing with clients on the phone. I even like chasing people up. There is something different every single day, which is great. What is the most challenging part? When I’m doing something new. For example I might have a new claim form that needs completing. Things like that I find the most challenging, but also the most fun.

Institute of legal executives Joanne Davies, 22 Joanne graduated with a 2.2 in law from the Swansea Institute. She is currently a paralegal working for 1-Legal solicitors, and is undertaking the legal executive (Ilex) diploma. What do you do in your current job? Everything. I deal with clients who have new claims. I find out what happened, and get as much information as possible from them. I then type the details up, and pass it on to a partner, who decides if they’re going to take

Why did you decide not to pursue a career as a solicitor? I couldn’t afford to do the LPC, which is another reason why I decided to undertake the Ilex diploma. At the moment I am two steps below a solicitor. When I get the Ilex qualification I will be one step below. It was a good opportunity to further my career as well as having another qualification. I started doing the Ilex diploma while I was doing my degree. It was a two-year course: the first year was portfolio-based and covered all aspects of law, which I found quite interesting. In the second year I had one lecture a week, and at the end of the year there was an exam. I found it quite difficult at the time, because at the same time I had exams for university. Work is quite happy for me to step up and become a legal executive. What advice do you have for readers considering a career as a legal executive? You have to really study for it – there are so many grey areas of law. There is a lot of work to be done. It takes a while, like every degree, but the rewards are fantastic. You career is opened up to so many different avenues with Ilex – it’s unbelievable.

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alternative careers | case studies

“

I enjoy the intellectual challenge of being faced with complex issues and then resolving them

What do you enjoy most about your job? The variety – no two days are the same. Also, the intellectual challenge when I’m faced with complex issues, and the satisfaction I gain from resolving them. I’m always busy and continuously learning. What is the most challenging part? I’m studying for the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators (ICSA) qualification, so I combine work with study. However, my employer is supportive. It’s also a challenge trying to speed-read complex transactional documents, but rewarding when I get through them.

Institute of chartered secretaries and administrators Sophia Kamere, 30 Sophia studied law at undergraduate level at the University of Hull. She then completed an LLM in banking and finance law at University College London. She is currently assistant manager for special purpose vehicles and corporate administration at Mourant, which provides offshore and onshore law and financial services.

Why did you decide not to pursue a career as a solicitor or barrister? I felt that I would be too specialised in one area of law, and preferred to have a job that offered a broad range of activities and business exposure while still having the opportunity to use my legal background. What advice do you have for readers considering a similar career? Read the ICSA website, and do research to see what your options are. Contact recruitment agencies that specialise in recruiting company secretaries, such as Chambers & Partners, Hays, and EJ Group – they are a good source of information and advice. You need to be able to multitask, as your daily priorities are constantly changing. Start networking. If you know anyone in the industry, give them a ring to find out more.

“

What do you do in your current job? In this department we provide corporate administration and management services, for companies and trusts, that are commonly used in structuring international financial transactions. My day-to-day work is varied. It includes ensuring that statutory and regulatory requirements are met; and that board and shareholder meetings are held, to approve annual accounts, appointments or resignations of directors, or the approval of complex financial transactions and so on. I also work on various projects that range from improving departmental processes to large financial transactions. I liaise with internal and external advisors and regulators including Companies House, the FSA, and HM Revenue and Customs.

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You need to be well organised, able to meet deadlines, and above all respect confidential information

Institute of paralegals

Zoe Gibson, 28 Zoe works for the Windermere office of Hayton Winkley, a solicitors firm in Cumbria. She joined the firm as an office junior and has worked her way up to become a certified paralegal. What do you do in your current job? I assist a partner in the firm of solicitors in connection with clients buying, selling, mortgaging and re-mortgaging property – most areas of domestic conveyancing.

What do you enjoy most about your job? I enjoy all aspects of the work I do and find it interesting. It is satisfying when you complete a case, and make the clients happy as a result, following the completion. What is the most challenging part? The ever changing world of conveyancing. You can spend a good deal of time preparing letters and documents, and then one phone call, fax or e-mail can alter everything you have prepared. There are lots of deadlines to meet and it can be quite stressful, but also very satisfying when matters complete and clients are happy. Also there is a great deal of responsibility involved in the job. What advice do you have for readers considering a career as a paralegal? It is not necessary to go to university to become a paralegal. I have GCSEs, RSA qualifications, NVQs and a vocational legal studies certificate level II. I obtained the last mentioned certificate by way of a longdistance Institute of Legal Executives paralegal training course involving coursework – with no exams. My acceptance into the Institute of Paralegals, in March 2006, and the issuing of my Institute of Paralegals Practising Certificate, was based on my existing qualifications and on my present practising abilities. You need to be a good “people person”, to be responsible, trustworthy, have excellent spoken and written communication skills, be patient, tactful and able to work with all kinds of client. Paying careful attention to detail is important, as is having good research skills. You also need to be well organised, able to meet deadlines – sometimes under pressure – and above all respect confidential information. Computer and administration skills are also important. I started working as an office junior in the firm where I still work, and worked my way up from there to my present role. I now have the option to proceed further, by training as a legal executive and then as a solicitor, if I so wish. n


LEGALLY BINDING One of the defining features of being a law student is the amount of literature you have to read. To make your life a bit easier, Ingrid Francis reviews some of the study aids and legal texts on the market Glanville Williams: Learning the Law Edited by A T H Smith. Publisher: Sweet & Maxwell, Price: £12.50 This updated version is an accurate and informative introduction to the legal system in this country. While it may not teach most law graduates anything new, any law student would find it useful as a preparation or study aid. For such a small book, it attempts to explain a great deal. The language is rather formal, so if you’re going for an accessible read, then maybe this isn’t the introduction for you. However, its academic background is impressive – it goes into depth on all aspects of law. It also focuses on different careers within the field. An excellent insight into the law world.

skills and its exploration of different career opportunities.

Torts Law 2005-2006 (Sixth Edition) David Green. Publisher: Cavendish. Price: £14.95 Students feeling overwhelmed with information and confused about what is truly important will find help here in writing concise and relevant answers in tort law exams. Claiming to be written for “seriously hardworking law students”, this book aims to help improve exam performance at degree and postgraduate level, within the subject area of torts law. The focused, study-driven text is written by examiners and gives many sample answers, so it is a useful aid for revision.

How To Study Law Anthony Bradney, Fiona Cownie, Judith Mason, Alan Neal and David Newell.

Routledge-Cavendish Lawcards Series

Publisher: Sweet & Maxwell. Price: £16.95

Publisher: Routledge-Cavendish. Price: £6.95

Photograph: iStockphoto

This exercise-driven guide encourages the development of the basic required skills – it assumes no previous training. The guide’s practical approach makes it an engaging and focused read, and those interested in pursuing law will find it a valuable study aid for honing their skills. But all law students will find it a useful resource, with its coverage of effective study

This series of spiralbound pocket guides is an attractive and concise collection of specialist texts, each focusing on a different aspect of law. The 17 titles in the series cover every niche. With colour-coded chapters, the guides are broken up into “bitesize” sections. Diagrams and flowcharts help you to visualise the complex points. These guides are an excellent starting point for the introduction or revision of a topic. n

2007–2008

LAW FAIRS University Date Edinburgh 26/09/2007 St Andrews

09/10/2007

Nottingham Leeds University

25/10/2007 05/11/2007

Leeds University

06/11/2007

Reading University Oxford

08/11/2007 10/11/2007

LSE LSE

12/11/2007 13/11/2007

Liverpool Bristol Bristol Newcastle

14/11/2007 14/11/2007 15/11/2007 19/11/2007

LSE Cardiff Warwick Birmingham University

20/11/2007 20/11/2007 20/11/2007

Southampton Manchester UCL Durham UCL

22/11/2007 22/11/2007 26/11/2007 26/11/2007 27/11/2007

Sheffield

28/11/2007

21/11/2007

For more information about each of these fairs, please visit our website: www.realworldmagazine.com

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CONVERT TO LAW | OVERVIEW

PATH TO CONVERSION YOU ARE STUDYING SOMETHING OTHER THAN LAW AT UNIVERSITY – BUT THAT DOESN’T MEAN YOU CAN’T BECOME A LAWYER. TAKING THE GRADUATE DIPLOMA IN LAW WILL OPEN YOUR PATHWAY TO A CAREER IN THE LEGAL PROFESSION, AS REAL WORLD FINDS OUT

I

f you are a non-law undergraduate and want to pursue a career as a solicitor or barrister, then you will need to undertake the law conversion

course known as the graduate diploma in law (GDL) – which is also referred to as the common professional exam (CPE). Upon completion of the GDL, you will then need to take either the legal practice course, if you wish to become a solicitor, or the bar vocational course, if your goal is a career as a barrister. (For more information about both these courses, see “Back to school”, page 48). Numerous institutions offer the GDL, from Anglia Ruskin University to the University of Wolverhampton. (For a complete list of where you can study for the GDL, visit the Law Society’s website: www.lawsociety.org.uk.) The largest of all the course providers are the College of Law and BPP Professional Education, both of which have institutions in London and in various other cities across the country. The cost of tuition varies enormously, and can range from £2,000 to more than £7,000 a year. Check carefully with institutions to see what the fees include, as some cover course materials while others do not.

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Wherever you decide to study for the GDL, the content of the course will be more or less the same, as you will have to cover the “foundations of legal knowledge” stipulated by the Law Society.The couse will cover the essential elements of academic knowledge that you will need if you want to go onto to complete the LPC or BVC, including: • • • • • • •

Law of contract Law of tort Criminal law Equity and the law of trusts Land law Public law EU law

Study options for the GDL are flexible. Students can either elect to study it full-time over a year, or they can complete over a period of up to three years during the evenings or over weekends. Full-time GDL courses last at least 36 weeks, and involve at least 32 weeks’ tuition. The notional study time for the course is 1,620 hours in total or 45 hours in each week – of lectures, tutorials, private study and research.

Photograph: Yang Ou

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If you do decide to study full-time, make sure you can support yourself financially. Many students choose to take on part-time work, but working too many hours will get in the way of your studies. If finances are a concern, consider living with your parents or family as a way of mitigating costs. Be warned: studying for the GDL can be very different from undergraduate study. It is intense, and involves learning lots of legal definitions and case names. One former GDL student tells us: “Studying the GDL came as quite a shock to me. Having studied English at Cambridge I was prepared for hard work, but this was different. There was lots of rote learning, and we weren’t really given the opportunity to question what we were taught.” However, Tabassum Sheikh, who studied business economics at Manchester Metropolitan University, speaks highly of the GDL, although she admits it isn’t all plain sailing: “You have to be extremely motivated, as it’s a lot of hard work,” she says. “But you get out what you put in.” The GDL is regulated by the Law Society, and admissions for full-time courses are handled through the Central Applications Board (www.lawcabs.ac.uk). The closing date for full-time courses is usually the beginning of February. You will be required to fill out an application form. As well as requesting your qualifications, this will ask you: •

reasons for choosing law

previous experience

Also, if you have some general attainments – not necessarily academic – to which you wish to draw attention, you are asked to set them out. However, you are advised not to repeat matters included elsewhere on the form. For part-time courses, you should apply directly to the relevant institution – the Law Society’s website has complete details of contacts. A GDL qualification will remain valid for a period of seven years only. The Law Society says: “Afterwards, it will be considered ‘stale’ for the purposes of qualifying as a solicitor.” Once this time has elapsed, you will have to retake the GDL. 

CASE STUDY

GDL - LEEDS METROPOLITAN UNIVERSITY Tabassum Sheikh Age: 21 Degree: Business economics, 2.2, Manchester Metropolitan University

BEFORE YOU APPLY •

• •

Research the institutions thoroughly. Although the course content will be similar, the teaching methods differ from course to course. Attend open days offered by the institutions – use these opportunities to talk to staff and students so you get a feel for the place. Size matters – how big are the classes? Remember: successful completion of the GDL does not guarantee a training contract or pupillage.

I THINK I WOULD FIND IT HARD TO BALANCE A PART-TIME JOB AND FULL-TIME STUDY – IT WOULD BE TOO MUCH TO CRAM IN

Tabassum is studying for a graduate diploma in law (GDL) at Leeds Metropolitan University. She decided to undertake the GDL because she has been interested in law since she was at high school. Previously, she chose to do a degree in business economics, having studied economics as part of her international baccalaureate. How does the GDL differ from undergraduate study? Basically, it’s much more intense. There is more work to do, because you complete it in a year of full-time study. There is a lot more reading, for example. You are fitting in a lot of work into one year, whereas at undergraduate level you’ve got three years. Are you enjoying it? And what do you like most about it? I’m absolutely loving it. The subjects themselves are interesting to study. The classes are very interactive, and I enjoy that about the course. The level of teaching at Leeds Met is excellent. The class sizes are quite small, and the teachers get to know who you are. In terms of the work itself, you have seven standard modules set by the Law Society. You also have to complete a project of 5,000 words. You pick a research area, and then you are assigned a tutor who looks over your work. How do you manage your workload? We have a total of seven modules. In one week we will cover four modules in seminars, then in the next week we will cover the other three. Lectures are spread over two days. On Wednesday and Thursdays we have seminars, and then we have Fridays off. I try to get my seminar work done over the weekend. How are you funding your study? I have financial support from my family. What are your plans after the GDL? I am going to be doing the LPC, and then hopefully I will get a training contract to start in 2009. What advice do you have for students considering the GDL? Some people on my course do part-time jobs. But I think I would find it hard to balance a part-time job and full-time study – it would be too much to cram in. 

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GDipL, BVC and LPC Programmes at MMU

We can offer various study options to suit your lifestyle; a wide range of optional subjects; regular feedback, personal tutors and careers advice; and friendly supportive teaching staff with close links to the legal profession.

www.law.strath.ac.uk/courses

Take Legal Action Enhance your future with one of our flexible undergraduate or taught Master’s qualifications.Truly impressive accreditations for personal learning and professional development, Strathclyde University’s Law School provides law degrees – in addition to the standard LLB route – by evening study or accelerated learning, as well as postgraduate programmes from Glasgow Graduate School of Law – a unique partnership between the Law Schools of Strathclyde and Glasgow universities. • • • • • •

Part-time LLB Law Degree (evening classes) Graduate Entry LLB (two year fast track course) LLM/PgDip in Human Rights Law MSc/PgDip in Criminology and Criminal Justice LLM/PgDip in Construction Law LLM/PgDip in IT & Telecommunications Law

Whether you wish to jumpstart a new career in law, change career direction, or are seeking the intellectual challenge that comes with legal study, Strathclyde University offers an array of opportunities for entry in 2007 and 2008. To find out more email: law-courseinfo@strath.ac.uk, or call 0141 548 3738. Please quote RW1/07.

For more information contact: Telephone: 0161 247 2978 Email: law@mmu.ac.uk

www.mmu.ac.uk/law

THE LA

ES www.ERLY THEH manch G-MEXTER CEN ester.a CENTRE) TRAL c.uk/c areers /fairs

Whether you are a non-law graduate looking to succeed in legal practice, or are ready to proceed into working as a barrister or a solicitor, we can help you achieve your goals.

Add in affordable accommodation and great city life on the doorstep, and we’re the perfect base to begin your professional training.

W FAIR THURS 12.30 - DAY 2 2N 4.00 pm

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With a renowned academic team, the School of Law at MMU is well respected and offers a comprehensive portfolio of legal studies, including undergraduate law degrees, with full and part-time study available.

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A £15million state-of-the-art building, at the heart of the second largest legal centre in the country, and an excellent reputation for producing quality graduates – you should be here, it’s much more you.

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Open to law and non-law students and graduates from all universities For full details check out:

www.manchester.ac.uk/careers/fairs In association with The Independent

Organised by the Careers Service


BPP Law School

preparing you for practice

As a leading provider of professional legal education BPP offers: �

legal education highly regarded by the profession and underpinned by a specialist careers service, unrivalled tutor support and an award-winning pro bono centre first rate resources including a well equipped library and access to an extensive online law database available 24 hours a day

LEEDS LONDON MANCHESTER FULL-TIME PART-TIME DISTANCE LEARNING SCHOLARSHIPS AVAILABLE

more part-time study options than any other leading provider a available at four locations nationwide “BPP’s Careers Service was instrumental in my successful quest for a training contract.” Duncan Firman,Trainee, Brooke North Solicitors

Find out more about how BPP can help you start your career in law: 0845 078 0948 admissions@bpp.com www.bpplawschool.com preparing you for practice


BACK TO SCHOOL

HOPING TO BECO M ARE A FEW ACADE E A SOLICITOR OR BARRISTER? WELL , THERE MIC HURDLES YOU N E E D TO C R O STARTING A TRAIN ING CONTRACT O SS BEFORE R PUPILLAGE

WHAT TO EXPECT The LPC comprises four main components: skills, compulsory subjects, optional subjects and pervasive topics. Skills include advocacy, interviewing and accounting. The compulsory modules are typically criminal law, business law, property law and civil litigation. The optional subjects – also known as “electives” – vary from institution to institution. If you have a

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training contract lined up, your firm may dictate which electives you take, such as commercial property law. The BVC teaches the subjects that a pupil barrister will need during their career. Core modules include opinion writing, practical legal research and professional ethics. Optional modules vary depending on the institution, but typical subjects include employment law, family law and EC law. THE COSTS Becoming a barrister or solicitor can be very expensive – the training alone can set you back about £10,000. On top of that, pupil barristers may need financial support for the first six months or so of their pupillage, as the take-home pay can be low. So you need to plan funding for both the BVC and the pupillage. The four Inns do provide scholarships – about a quarter of all students studying for their BVCs receive some form of scholarship award. Apply for scholarships as soon as you can.

Photograph: Yang Ou

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f you have a law degree or have completed the graduate diploma in law (GDL) and want to become a barrister or solicitor, the next stage of vocational training is the bar vocational course (BVC) or legal practice course (LPC), respectively. If you are particularly keen on academic study, you might even precede whichever option you choose with a master of laws (LLM) course. This can provide a good base for the LPC or BVC (see our case study on page 53).


LAW SCHOOL | Overview

The LPC can be equally expensive, with some providers in London charging upwards of £9,000. Yet the salary that trainee solicitors earn is relatively low – from August 2006 to July 2007 the minimum for trainees working in central London was £17,110, while outside central London it was £15,332.

Kate Hallett of Landmark Chambers says of the BVC: “It’s not very stimulating,” But she adds: “It did give me the skills needed to begin pupillage. The BVC is all about acquiring practical skills, such as writing opinions. It gave me the basics to then progress to pupillage.”

How useful are the courses? Opinions differ as to how useful the courses actually are. Some describe the LPC and BVC as “over-rated”, while others are more positive. “The LPC was very useful for putting the law into context,” says one student. Vijay Singh, a trainee at Mills & Reeve, complains that, despite its name, the LPC wasn’t practical enough: “Although it’s meant to be the first part of a training contact, there was too much academia.” He adds: “Some bits were useful, such as legal procedures and filling in forms. But overall, I didn’t enjoy it.

How to apply If you are a law student, you should apply for admission to the LPC in the autumn term of your final year. GDL students should apply early in the conversion course. As with GDL applications, you need to apply for the LPC via the Central Applications Board (www.lawcabs.ac.uk). You should provide academic references. In addition, before you start the LPC, you must become a student member of the Law Society. If you apply to study the LPC full-time, the Solicitors Regulation Authority will send you an application form for student enrolment – a joining fee is payable. If you have a training contract lined up, your

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MERGERS & ACQUISITIONS ? Sometimes it pays to re-examine the obvious. More lawyers have found a perfect route to practice in corporate law through The College of Law than with anyone else. We give some of the UK’s brightest law students the best possible grounding in corporate law and equip them with the practical and commercial skills they need for the best positions in the best firms. Perfect for practice. GDL, LPC and BVC. Full-time and part-time places available.

0800 328 0153 admissions@lawcol.co.uk www.college-of-law.co.uk perfectforpractice Birmingham l Chester l Guildford l London l York Registered charity

1V1927_Real world mag_law issue 1 1

13/07/2007 10:28:20

L eading the way to a career in law Based in the heart of Newcastle in a brand new £70m state-of-the-art development, Northumbria University Law School has an excellent reputation for legal education.

Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) 1 year full-time programme or 2 years via distance learning New e-learning route from September 2008 £1000 discount on our LPC or BVC course following successful completion of the GDL at Northumbria

Legal Practice Course (LPC) Wide choice of commercial and ‘high street’ electives, including student law office Practical workshops Opportunity to study on the LLM/MA programme alongside the LPC

Bar Vocational Course (BVC) Strong practitioner participation Student Law office elective Opportunity to study on a LLM/MA programme alongside the BVC The school also offers a comprehensive range of Masters Programmes

For more information please contact

0191 227 4433 email: nb.admissions@northumbria.ac.uk web: www.northumbria.ac.uk/law


LAW SCHOOL | CASE STUDIES

firm may tell you which law school to attend (see box below). If you want to apply for the BVC, you will need to go through the Bar Council’s central applications system – BVCOnline at www.bvconline.co.uk. Candidates are advised to submit their application as early on in the system as possible. In 2007 the deadline for first-round applications was 10 January. Check dates for future years well in advance. But before opting to go to law school, think carefully. Taking this route can be expensive. The current recruitment climate means stiff competition to land a training contract or pupillage. And while further study will enhance your CV in some respects, it won’t be enough to erase poor grades. As with all major financial decisions, weigh up the pros and cons before diving in. n

Firms exclusively sending their trainees to one provider for the LPC BPP l Addleshaw Goddard l CMS Cameron McKenna l Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer

(consortium) l Herbert Smith (consortium) l Lovells (consortium) l Macfarlanes l Norton Rose (consortium) l Simmons & Simmons l Slaughter and May (consortium)

College of Law l Allen & Overy l Baker & McKenzie l Barlow Lyde & Gilbert l Berwin Leighton Paisner l Clifford Chance

it’s a lot more structured than undergraduate study. Rather than focusing on theory, we are learning actual skills

LPC - COLLEGE OF LAW, GUILDFORD Iain Platfoot Age: 24 Degree: Chemistry, 2.1, Exeter University GDL: College of Law, Guildford Iain wants to become a solicitor, and this meant he needed to take the LPC. He decided on law as a career as he wanted a job that would stimulate him, allow him to meet interesting people and, he hoped, differ from day to day.

l Linklaters

Nottingham Law School l Mayer Brown Rowe & Maw

(All other firms operate a flexible policy)

other legal positions, such as paralegal jobs. Ultimately, I want a training contract to become a solicitor. What advice do you have for students considering the LPC? Make sure you definitely want to become a solicitor. Don’t undertake the course if you have no interest in pursuing law as a career. Be prepared to work hard – it’s not undergraduate study. I think it looks good on your CV. It shows employers you have a dedication to law – that you’re not just waiting for that magic job to fall into your lap.

How does the LPC differ from undergraduate study? It’s a lot more structured than undergraduate study. You have to undertake certain modules defined by the Law Society. Because it is aimed at those who want to become solicitors, rather than focusing on theoretical content, we are learning actual skills. Are you enjoying it? Very much. It’s a fantastic institution. It’s a fun place to be, you meet a lot of like-minded people, but also people who are completely different from you. There are a lot of well-rounded characters. Some are interested in legal aid work, while others want to work for big firms. There is the opportunity to undertake whatever extra-curricular activities you want. For example, I mooted during my GDL year, now I play rugby and I’m the treasurer of the squash club. I really get involved in college life.

l Cobbetts l Halliwells

How do you manage your workload? Carefully. You’re expected to do about 40 hours a week in class and through self-study. Of that, 10 are contact hours, while the rest is preparation, consolidation and so on. I also have a part-time job. So it’s tough, but achievable. How are you funding your study? I took a loan from the College of Law, and I also work at The Sports Shop in Guildford.

Source: BPP Law School What are your plans after LPC? If I had a job lined up, it would be a training contract. As it is, I am applying for training contracts and

BVC - bpp Law School Victoria Booth Age: 25 Degree: Social and Political Sciences, First, Cambridge University GDL: BPP Law School Victoria decided to undertake the BVC because she has always wanted to be a barrister. In particular, she has a real interest in family law.   How does the BVC differ from undergraduate study? The BVC is very different from my degree, in that it is much more structured. Also, the subject matter of study,

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Nottingham Law School

Making the law your life Nottingham Law School, part of Nottingham Trent University, offers three routes to qualification as a solicitor or barrister for law and non-law graduates. Each is driven by our unique experience of legal training at all levels, and our close association with the profession as practised. Commencing September 2007, you will now be able to study in London as well as in Nottingham. We have partnered with Kaplan Law School to open a brand new Central London campus offering Nottingham Law School’s LPC and GDL courses.

BVC

GDL

LPC

Start your career as you mean to go on, at the heart of the profession. We give you the best possible chance of meeting and surpassing all the Bar Council’s requirements.

For a non-law graduate determined to practise as a solicitor or barrister, it is the perfect preparation for the LPC/BVC. Students who complete the GDL and LPC/BVC with us are also eligible for an LLB.

Nottingham Law School is the only Legal Practice Course provider to earn excellent ratings in every one of the Law Society’s visits. We will be providing a full programme of city / commercial and non-commercial options from the new campus in London as well as from Nottingham.

For more information, contact us: London: 020 7645 8978 admissions@kaplanlawschool.org.uk

Nottingham: 0115 848 4498 nls.enquiries@ntu.ac.uk

www.ntu.ac.uk/nls

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LAW SCHOOL | CASE STUDIES

the BVC is much more structured than my degree, and the subject matter is much more scientific

especially the civil and criminal procedure elements of the programme, are completely different, and much more scientific than the politics and sociology courses I studied at university. Along with the GDL, the BVC has been useful in training my brain to work differently. I will be able to take both these ways of learning and producing work into practice as a barrister. Are you enjoying it? And what do you like most about it? It has been difficult at times, and the workload is heavy. However, it is also extremely satisfying.  The advocacy classes are enjoyable, although at first they were were quite intimidating. But because the class sizes at BPP are so small – about six people – I got to know everyone quickly, which made the classes easier and also fun.   How do you manage your workload? I try to think “I’m working nine to five, Monday to Friday”, and that way everything seems to get done.   How are you funding your study? I was given the Lord Justice Holker Award from Gray’s Inn, which pretty much covered the BPP fee. I also do two hours a week of tutoring, which helps with living expenses.   What are your plans after the BVC? I have a pupillage at 4 Paper Buildings, which I’m really excited about.   What advice do you have for students considering the BVC? Apply to an Inn for a scholarship, as they generally give out a lot of money to people doing the BVC – I think the Gray’s Inn scholarship fund is about £900,000 a year. Secondly, be prepared for quite a lot of work and be organised. Thirdly, go to an institution that has good facilities and small class sizes, such as BPP, as it is helpful to know that the book you need will always be available, and so on. 

Are you enjoying it? And what do you like most about it? I like in-depth analysis, and understanding why things work as they do. I love academia, and later on I might do a PhD. The facilities at Nottingham Law School are great. The library is wellequipped, and the databases they subscribe to are really helpful.

LLM Nottingham Law school Lene Henno Marklan Age: 27 Degree: Law, 2.2, Nottingham Trent University Lene took her first undergraduate degree in business administration, in Norway. She is now studying for an LLM in European Law at Nottingham Law School. She plans to go back to practise law in Norway, where you need to have completed a minimum of three years’ legal study. How does an LLM differ from undergraduate study? There’s a lot more in-depth analysis. At undergraduate level the study is broad – they try to fit as much into the syllabus as possible. With a masters it’s in-depth, and you’re always questioning “why?”, whereas at undergraduate level you have to just accept things.

i like analysis – understanding why things work as they do

How do you manage your workload? We have lots of reading, and I try to get through as much as possible. Sometimes you have to pick and choose, and leave out nonessential reading. During contact hours your tutor will tell you what to focus on, and give you a more direct view. How are you funding your study? I am funded by the Norwegian government. What are your plans after the LLM? I have started applying for jobs in Norway. I am playing with the idea of a PhD, but I am leaving that open a bit and seeing where my job applications take me. What advice do you have for students considering the LLM? A masters can be beneficial for lots of things. It provides a good base before doing the LPC or BVC. It is excellent if you have an interest in a particular subject. The cost of an LLM is manageable, but having funding before you start is the best thing. I wouldn’t take on a job [during the course], as it involves an increase in workload from undergraduate level. n

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Staffordshire Law School

“Excellent”

Legal Practice Course April 2007 the LPC scoops highest awards once more

• Highest possible Solicitors Regulation Authority ratings of “Commendable Practice” across all six areas of assessment • Competitive fee • • • •

Full-time or part-time Broad range of electives Excellent student support and careers advice Credit towards LLM qualification

Contact Julie Gingell for a friendly chat on

01782 294452 or e: j.gingell@staffs.ac.uk www.staffs.ac.uk/law

t:


World-class legal education in the heart of London

Got your degree - now what? Apply to The City Law School, London and take the next step in your professional development. Our carefully created postgraduate courses offer a valuable blend of realistic practical experience and in-depth legal theory to both law and non-law graduates.

Each course is taught by student focused specialists with considerable professional and teaching experience, giving you personalised access to some of the best legal and academic minds available today.

Conversion courses: • Graduate Entry LLB • CPE / Graduate Diploma in Law

For more information on which is the best course for you, and to apply online today, please visit www.city.ac.uk/law

Professional courses: • Bar Vocational Course (BVC) • Legal Practice Course (LPC)

Masters in Law (LLM): • LLM International Law • LLM International Commercial Law • LLM Housing & Environmental Law • LLM Media Law • LLM Criminal Litigation

Alternatively, please email law@city.ac.uk or call us now on +44 (0)20 7040 8167. Please quote the following reference number when contacting us: PG0001A.


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recruiter file | 2008

Allen & Overy LLP company profile Allen & Overy is an international legal practice with 5,100 people in 24 major centres worldwide. Our clients include many of the world’s top businesses, financial institutions, governments and private individuals. We are renowned for the high quality of our Banking, Corporate and International Capital Markets advice, but also have major strengths in areas such as Dispute Resolution, Tax, Employment and Employee Benefits, Real Estate and Private Client. Training contract Allen & Overy offers a training contract characterised by flexibility and choice. The seat structure ensures that you get to see as many parts of the practice as possible and that your learning is hands-on, guided by an experienced associate or partner. A series of evening presentations by departments facilitates your choice of a priority seat and other areas you may like to experience. Given the strength of our international finance practice, we require our trainees to spend a minimum of 12 months in at least two of the following departments: Banking, Corporate and International Capital Markets, with a contentious seat in either Dispute Resolution or Employment. There are also opportunities for trainees to undertake an international or client secondment.

For winter, you should apply from 1 October – 31 October 2007. For spring and summer, apply from 1 October 2007 – 18 January 2008. The winter placement is for final year non-law undergraduates or graduates. For spring and summer, applications are welcomed from penultimate year law and non-law undergraduates. What we look for You will need to demonstrate a genuine enthusiasm for a legal career and Allen & Overy, and a strong, consistent academic performance – you should have achieved or be predicted at least a 2:1 (or equivalent). At Allen & Overy you will be working in a team where you will use your initiative and manage your own time and workload, so evidence of teamwork, leadership and problemsolving skills are also looked for. Sponsorship & awards GDL and LPC course fees are paid along with contributions towards your maintenance costs. For the Allen & Overy LPC in London, a £7,000 maintenance grant is provided. For the GDL, £6,000 is provided in London and £5,000 elsewhere.

Vacation placements & Open Days Allen & Overy offers approximately 120 vacation placements across winter, spring and summer, and a number of open days throughout the year. As well as practical work experience with lawyers and partners, our vacation placements and open days include workshops, presentations and talks. These are aimed at informing you about our work and helping you to develop the skills you need to be a successful commercial lawyer such as negotiation, presentation and interview skills. There will also be plenty of opportunity to meet with other Allen & Overy people.

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AREAS OF SPECIALISATION: • Training contracts SALARY: Year 1: £35,700 / Year 2: £40,300 NUMBER OF VACANCIES: 120 for September 2010/March 2011 NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES: 5,100 worldwide WORK EXPERIENCE: Yes WHEN: Vacation placements: winter, spring and summer / Open days: year round DEGREES SOUGHT: • Any discipline LOCATIONS: London APPLY TO: Graduate Recruitment, One Bishops Square, London E1 6AO TEL: 020 3088 0000 FAX: 020 3088 0088 EMAIL: graduate.recruitment@

allenovery.com WEBSITE: www.allenovery.com/careeruk CLOSING DATE: non-law candidates: 1 October 2007 – 18 January 2008 Law candidates: 1 June 2008 – 31 July 2008


recruiter file | 2008

Eversheds LLP company profile Eversheds LLP is one of the largest full service international law firms in the world with over 4,000 people and 32 offices in major cities across the UK, Europe and Asia. We work for some of the Worlds most prestigious organisations in both the public and private sector, offering them a compelling mixture of straightforward advice, clear direction, predictable costs and outstanding service.

SALARY: £35,000 first year London NUMBER OF VACANCIES: 80 NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES: 4,000 WORK EXPERIENCE: Yes WHEN: Easter and Summer DEGREES SOUGHT: • Any LOCATIONS: London, Birmingham, Cambridge, Cardiff, Leeds, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham, Norwich and Ipswich APPLY TO: www.eversheds.com/graduaterecruitment CLOSING DATE: 31st July 2008

It’s a winning combination that has meant we are now expanding quicker than any of our closest competitors. We act for 111 Listed companies including 43 FTSE 250 companies, 30 of the 37 British based Fortune 500 companies and now have one of the fastest growing corporate teams in the City.

in 2006 we laid out our strategic plan that will see us build on these achievements and grow over the next few years into a major player on the legal stage around the world

In 2006 we laid out our strategic plan that will see us build on these achievements and grow over the next few years into a major player on the legal stage around the World. We are looking for highly ambitious and focused trainees to help us achieve our goals. Eversheds people are valued for their drive and legal expertise but also for their business advice too. We develop the same qualities in our trainees. We offer a full, well-rounded training programme with the opportunity to focus your technical skills in each of the various practice groups as you rotate through four six month seats, while also taking part in a full programme of personal and commercial development skills training too, including finance and business, sales, communication, presenting, business writing, client care, professional standards and advocacy.

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recruiter file | 2008

Simmons & Simmons company profile Simmons & Simmons is a world class law firm providing advice to financial institutions, corporate, public and international bodies and private individuals through the firm’s international network of offices in Europe, the Middle East and Asia. Simmons & Simmons has over 210 partners, of which over 110 are based in our offices outside the UK and a total staff worldwide of around 1,900 across 21 offices. We provide a comprehensive range of legal services with strength and depth. We apply considerable expertise to all business sectors but focus on those key to our clients. These are Energy & Infrastructure; Financial Institutions; Life Sciences; Technology. The diversity of our practice means that our teams have the ability to handle the full range of deals and transactions. Focused and flexible, the exceptional performance of our lawyers is key to our success.

show us evidence of a rich ‘life experience’ as well as examples of your intellectual capabilities and we will provide you with everything you need to become a successful member of our firm

AREAS OF SPECIALISATION: • Law SALARY: £36,000 Year 1, £40,000 Year 2 NUMBER OF VACANCIES: 50 NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES: 2,000 WORK EXPERIENCE: Desired WHEN: 2010/March 2011 DEGREES SOUGHT: • Any discipline LOCATIONS: Abu Dhabi, Amsterdam, Brussels, Dusseldorf, Dubai, Frankfurt, Hong Kong, Lisbon, London, Madeira, Madrid, Milan, New York, Oporto, Padua, Paris, Qatar, Rome, Rotterdam, Shanghai, Tokyo APPLY TO: Anna King Graduate Recruitment Officer Simmons & Simmons CityPoint One Ropemaker Street London EC2Y 9SS Tel: 020 7628 2020 Fax: 020 7628 2070 EMAIL: recruitment@simmons-simmons.com CLOSING DATE: 31 July 2008

The recruitment of the very best candidates who are interested in a career in a leading international law firm, is a priority for Simmons & Simmons. Show us evidence of a rich ‘life experience’ as well as examples of your intellectual capabilities and we will provide you with everything you need to become a successful member of our firm. Our training programme is constantly evolving to build the skills you will need to be successful in the fast moving world of international business. We provide experience in a range of areas of law and a balanced approach to gaining the knowledge, expertise and abilities you will need to qualify in the practice area of your choice.

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recruiter file | 2008

Taylor Wessing company profile

AREAS OF SPECIALISATION: • L aw SALARY: £35,000 for first year trainees, £39,000 for second year trainees, £62,500 for newly qualified Associates NUMBER OF VACANCIES: 23-24 NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES: 2,000 WORK EXPERIENCE: Yes WHEN: Summer DEGREES SOUGHT: • All disciplines LOCATIONS: London APPLY TO: www.taylorwessing.com/graduate CLOSING DATE: 31 July 2008

Taylor Wessing offers a full service to its clients offering a powerful source of legal support for commercial organisations doing business in Europe. We advise major corporations, mediumsized companies, financial and public institutions as well as growing enterprises. We offer specialist services in all aspects of national and international commercial law, in particular, corporate/M&A, tax, finance and projects, construction and real estate, intellectual property, EC law/ antitrust, employment and pensions, and dispute resolution. Taylor Wessing offers industry-focused advice by grouping together lawyers from different legal areas, but with in-depth sector experience.  With our renowned expertise in intellectual property, we are particularly strong in knowledge-based industries, such as IT and telecommunications, life sciences and healthcare, media and entertainment, leisure, fashion and travel. Other core industries include construction and engineering, infrastructure projects and the banking and finance sectors.   Taylor Wessing... is based primarily in the

Is pragmatic - Whilst always advising our clients what we believe to be the best legal solution, we are mindful that commercial realities mean that getting most of the way there is often sufficient, we will not argue legal points for their own sake. Is forward looking - Many transactions are stepping stones to larger ones, so we will always seek to highlight any action which could obstruct future expansion.  To do this, we try to ensure that we have a broad understanding of all of the major types of transactions our client could encounter. We are looking for team players with excellent communication skills, ambition and a willingness to learn, who can demonstrate commitment to a career in law and a genuine interest in business. We require a minimum of ABB grades at A Level and a 2.1 degree. Trainees spend six months in four different departments, with the possibility of a secondment to another office or a client. We take on 23-24 trainees per year and have 38 places available for vacation schemes during the summer.

three largest economies in Europe, and has offices in other countries, including China where our Shanghai office serves a thriving Chinese market. Our clients also have the added benefit of our wide network of partner law firms. In Germany, we are one of the leading law firms, with a team of more than 250 lawyers. Is partner driven - Whilst work is done at the level which achieves the appropriate balance between the experience of the lawyers and costs, a partner will always be involved at the highest level. Is pro-active - We seek to provide solutions not obstacles, we do not prepare documents in a vacuum and are not slaves to a precedent system.

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Law and non-law students from all institutions are welcome

FANCY WORKING WITH…

…then visit the

GRADES GRADUATE RECRUITMENT FAIR East Wintergarden, Canary Wharf, London. Wednesday 31st October 2007. 11am – 3.30pm nearest tube: canary wharf (jubilee line or dlr)

This is an inclusive event featuring diversity conscious employers. To find out more, and register for your free place, visit:

W W W. In association with:

.ORG.UK

The venue is fully accessible for visitors with disabilities. We would like to ensure that all visitors enjoy full access to GRADES. If you have any special requirements, please contact the event team on 01442 200120 or email info@grades.org.uk


Awards2008

Who will win student of the year? You decide. Vote for the top entries from your university.

www.realworldawards.com


Start at the top A Career in Law

Want to be in Star Wars? Forget it. It is illegal for ordinary UK citizens to launch space objects – let alone build Death Stars.

Law or

Non-law?

Law and business are full of surprises.Whether you are exploring the modern implications of existing laws, or working to find legal solutions to new situations, you’ll need to be open-minded, creative and commercial. At Allen & Overy, we are working at the forefront of today’s evolving legal landscape, helping to shape and frame the environment in which business, and life itself, is conducted.

Outer space – out of reach?

You don’t need to have studied law to become a lawyer, but business sense, curiosity and a commitment to excellence are essential. www.allenovery.com/careeruk

Answer: Law

Law Special 2008  

Real World Magazine Law Special 2008

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