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The Training Contract & Pupillage Handbook

The Essential Law Careers Guide
by

LawCareers .Net

on 30 September 2014

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Transcript of The Training Contract & Pupillage Handbook

All the background and information you need, including a directory of over 1,000 employers offering training contracts or pupillages.
The Training Contract & Pupillage Handbook
is designed to be your students' companion and adviser throughout their journey to becoming a lawyer.

It is important that they use it correctly for maximum benefit. They are embarking on a learning process, learning:

what lawyers do and the different types of law that they practise;
about the different types of organisation involved in law;
how to become a lawyer; and
possibly most importantly – learning about themselves, what they have to offer the profession and how to sell their skills and personalities to employers.

However, it doesn’t have to be daunting - we advise students to divide their research and planning into a number of stages. If they complete each one in order, they should have the knowledge and understanding required to make an impact when it comes to recruitment and selection.
Want a career in law?
Stage 2: Getting up to speed
Once students know clearly what they needs to do, it is important to keep building their knowledge and understanding of the legal world and behave in effect like a ‘mini lawyer’.

Students should keep up with:

information provided specifically for aspiring lawyers such as LawCareers.Net’s newsletter, LC.N Weekly;
the professional legal press (eg, The Lawyer, The Law Society Gazette and Legal Week);.
and the national business press (eg, the FT and The Economist), plus specialist websites such as LegalFutures.com.

In doing so, students will begin to recognise key news, themes and debates within the profession, see how the different parts of the law relate to each other and identify leading figures and organisations.

See “The legal scene” in the handbook as a jumping-off point; the ultimate goal is to be well informed enough to hold their own in a conversation among lawyers. Key questions to ask are:

What are the major developments in the legal profession over the last year?
Have there been any major mergers recently?
What do they know about new high-street legal brands?

Stage 3: Analysing themselves
Students’ reading into the basics contact with the profession should already have given them a good idea of what employers are looking for in candidates. The exact skill set may vary, but rest assured that they will be expected to be:

intelligent and able to communicate well;
determined;
diligent with close attention to detail; and
able to operate well as part of a team.

Students should think about their work and extracurricular experiences to identify examples that demonstrate these skills and work out how to present them in the best possible light – employers like to see examples of go-getting, passionate, motivated people doing something constructive and interesting with their time.

Stage 1: The basics
A solid base of knowledge is crucial for students to understand the choices and opportunities available. The “Becoming a lawyer” section of the handbook introduces the core challenges ahead, while the “Solicitors” and “Barristers” sections explore the two main branches of the profession.

This essential reading will enable students to answer the following questions:

What is the difference between a solicitor and a barrister?
Are there other types of lawyer?
What are the different types of law firm and who do they serve?
What are the different practice areas?
How is a barristers’ chambers organised?
What is the timetable for becoming a solicitor/barrister?
Which postgraduate courses are you going to have to take?
Which bodies regulate and represent lawyers?
Why are summer schemes and mini-pupillages so important?

Number One


The Training Contract & Pupillage Handbook is the most cited of all print resources in its market*

(*Source: Apply4Law analysis of 80+ firms recruiting in 2012-13)

Stage 4: Narrowing the field
Your students' Essential Law Careers Guide
Your students' Essential Law Careers Guide
The Training Contract
& Pupillage Handbook

We are only now getting to the stage of differentiating between employers.
The handbook offers comprehensive listings of over 900 firms and nearly 200 chambers offering training contracts or pupillages.

Students can’t apply to them all, so they need to refine their search. They should:

read “Types of law firm”, “Types of chambers” and “Choosing where to apply” as a start;
use the indexing pages to identify firms/chambers by size, practice areas and location;
identify a market sector they are interested in (eg, leading commercial firms in Northwest England) and work out which firms/chambers fall into this classification. The directory entries in the handbook are their springboard for further research.

Students’ then need to look at organisations’ own websites, explore legal press archives and do some Google-based digging. Key questions to answer about employers are:

What are their main work areas?
Who are their clients?
How do they make money?
What is their ethos?
Who are their competitors?
Where have they come from and where are they going (ie, history v ambition)?

What now?
The rest of the handbook expands on many of these themes. The sooner students start using it in earnest – understanding the challenge ahead, making a plan and acting on it – the better their chances. Most candidates who are unsuccessful fail because they have not followed the rules of the game. Do so and they’ll be okay!
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