Choosing where to train is a really important decision. Although it’s tempting to send out lots of applications to all types of firms, you should do thorough research before you apply and really think about what you want from a firm and training contract – you’re going to be working there for at least two years after all.
If you’re unsure which type of firm is right for you, apply for work experience, vacation schemes or attend law insight days. The experience will be invaluable and will help you narrow down your options. Don’t feel intimidated by these experiences, use them to your advantage and get the most out of them. Be prepared, but you won’t be expected to know everything about that area of law. The key to success on placements and work experience is being friendly, helpful and enthusiastic – don’t be afraid to ask questions! If you need longer to decide, apply for a paralegal role – this will really immerse you into life at a law firm and give you a good grounding for the next step of your career. Many firms also like to recruit from their paralegal pool.
Check out The Legal 500, Chambers Student and The Lex 100 to find out what current trainees think about work quality, client contact, work/ life balance, social life, remuneration, inclusiveness and more.
“I started my B P Collins journey with a week of work experience in the Employment team which was a great way to learn more about the firm, culture and seat options.”
Location, size and type of firm
Think about what type of firm you want to train at. Will you be disappointed if you’re not in London or would you rather avoid the daily underground commute? What kind of clients do you want to work for? What size firm would you be suited to – a large or small city firm, a niche firm, national or regional?
Ask yourself what you want from a firm in terms of work/ life balance, social life, collaborative working or independence, supervisor support and relationships with your colleagues. Knowing yourself and what you want plays a key part in choosing a firm. Don’t be too disheartened if you receive rejections – it’s never nice, but chances are the firm wasn’t right for you anyway and you’ll know when you fit in.
Although I’d advise being open-minded at the outset of your career, having an idea about the areas of law that you enjoy will help you tailor your law firm applications and you’ll find the application process easier if you have a genuine interest in the type of work the firm does.
“Adapt your applications to fit the specific firm – in my experience it’s better to send out fewer, but more detailed and bespoke applications than taking a broad-brush approach.”
Impress in your applications by mentioning the firm’s notable work and cases – make sure you research them properly though in case you’re grilled on them in your interview!
If you’re interested in gaining experience at a regional firm with an excellent reputation and high-quality work, B P Collins offer a law insight day in October half term for sixth form and first year university students, as well as a number of work experience placements for people interested in pursuing a career in law. You can find more information about opportunities at the firm here.
Posted by Ella Moxey
Ella joined the employment law practice group as a paralegal in August 2018, before starting her training contract with the firm in October 2018.