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Legal Education >> Students >> help me plz

Message started by legal bee on Jan 30th, 2008 at 12:56pm

Title: help me plz
Post by legal bee on Jan 30th, 2008 at 12:56pm
guys im a final year law student and have not managed to secure a traineeship for next year. i cant even seem to  get a summer placement and im really stressed.  I've applied everywhere and been rejected.  :'(

how would i go about trying to find which smaller law firm would take on a summer placement or a trainee? I have sent out speculative letters and CV's but no one gets back to me.  If i phone up after a couple of weeks I just get told we don't take on students.  

totally stressed and depressed
legal bee :'(

Title: Re: help me plz
Post by grumpy on Jan 31st, 2008 at 10:50am
This has been a problem for years with firms cutting back especially if they do legal aid. When I started off 25 years ago it was the same and I wrote speculatively to every firm in the West of Scotland and got two interviews! I retired from practice four years ago and my firm (small) took on the odd trainee and one worked for us for nothing during one summer holiday. That was looked on very favourably when she later asked for a traineeship. You are not alone in this and many of your fellow students will be in the same boat. Have you also tried the law society to see if they keep a list of firms who are willing to take on trainees?

Title: Re: help me plz
Post by legal bee on Jan 31st, 2008 at 11:07am
hi grumpy, yea i cant even seem to get a unpaid summer placement. Most small firms simply say we don't take on students.  I'm at the stage where i would work for free just for the possibility of a traineeship and experience.  I'm completely at my wits end with this one.  

I thought the law society put people on their register after they've completed the diploma. Can i put my name down a year in advance?  

I note you say smaller firms cut back if they do legal aid?  but i really want to do legal aid work.  I really dont want to work for a bigger firm.  I would like to go into family law and have sent speculative emails  to the top legal firms in the area about potential unpaid summer work but I don't get a response.. so disheartening.  


Title: Re: help me plz
Post by scottishlaw on Jan 31st, 2008 at 1:13pm
It sounds like you're still a year and a half away from starting the traineeship - still to finish 4th year and then 1 year diploma?  In which case, the position might not be as bleak as you imagine.

When I did the diploma a few years ago (2000/01) at GGSL there were quite a few people who didn't have traineeships at first and even for much of the Diploma.  The course organisers were able to offer a degree of career advice and also, because a lot of the seminars were taught by actual practitioners, there was the possibility of actual on the ground advice and assitance on an adhoc basis from them too.

I seem to remember that there was a list of firms looking for trainees that came out too, but I could be wrong on that one.  

Anyway, the point is, its not uncommon to be in the position you're in and there is still plenty of time to find a traineeship.  Also remember, the traineeship is only 2 years and you can always move on somewhere else after.

Not sure if you've already seen this, but the info on the following page might be of use:

Title: Re: help me plz
Post by legal bee on Jan 31st, 2008 at 1:28pm
Yes that's correct. A year and a half to go. Thanks for that, what your saying does sound better.  

that's true I could move after 2 years but to be honest I don' t think the bigger firms are interested in me at all.  I've applied to most of them and didn't even get one interview.  I noticed only the braniacs were getting offers from them so I thought it was a lost cause for me.  

I have seen the page your referring to and its all stuff I do know. so I know im not missing anything when applying.

out of curiosity does anyone know what the ratio is for getting into the diploma these days? The rumour mill at uni is crazy on this one.

Title: Re: help me plz
Post by scottishlaw on Jan 31st, 2008 at 4:34pm
I don't think the larger Scottish law firms are completely results obsessed - I know people with Cs and Ds in various 1st, 2nd and 3rd year subjects who got in and people with As who didn't.  A 2:1 average in the honours courses is often required though.

The problem you might be having is that if you're not interested in commercial law areas then this will probably shine through in the courses you've picked and any statements you provide with your applications - this may be the reason for not getting success with the larger firms.  

Title: Re: help me plz
Post by legal bee on Jan 31st, 2008 at 5:41pm
that a fair point, your right my interest in commercial law is not apparent as i have no experience to talk about in my applications.  Most of my work experience would indicate private client work.  

I have picked no honours course on company/commercial law as i was reliably informed to study whatever interest me to get the 2.1 mark. i picked European and Jurisprudence type of subjects.  Could you please advise me as what to put in my application forms that may show an interest in commercial law?


Title: Re: help me plz
Post by MrEdinburgh on Feb 8th, 2008 at 4:20pm
I think the COPFS and the Scottish Govt take trainee applications much later than the large firms, so might be worth a try.  

Title: Re: help me plz
Post by CraigStirlingLLB on Apr 25th, 2008 at 12:57pm
Alright folks; rather new to this! 3rd year LLB student at Stirling, some might say my class is the guinea pig for the Stirling LLB!

I would completely agree that the big firms don't particularly focus on grades; in January I had interviews with Shepherd and Wedderburn, and Turcan Connell, and neither firm asked anything about my grades (in fact Turcan Connell seemed more interested in my Highers!).

I would also agree that it is unbelievably competitive out there. I also applied to many local firms, and received similar responses, i.e. 'we don't take on students'. However, I managed to arrange a couple of weeks with the Procurator Fiscal in June, I got in touch with a small firm in Falkirk which was kind enough to let me hang about for a while after that, and I also luckily got offered a placement with the Scottish Law Commission.

I think the best thing to do is just to persevere! I have only just sorted the above summer work out, and I started applying for things well into last year. Additionally, if you can sort out placements in even 1st or 2nd year, that may prove invaluable experience for gaining placements later on in the degree.


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