Training contract numbers may be on the increase again, but times are still hard for LPC students – thousands of whom will finish law school this summer without a job to go to.
How to steal a march on the rest of the wannabes? Well, you could take out an advert hawking your services in a legal magazine. That's what Charles Mallinson, an Oxford University graduate currently studying the LPC, has done, placing a come-and-get-me plea to the corporate and commercial law firms of the North West in the latest issue of Liverpool Law Society’s magazine (see below).
Nice idea, you might think. But the trouble with this sort of thing is that it can get you in hot water with law's regulators – as Bar graduate Maney Ullah found out in January 2009 when he placed this full page ad in the inside cover of Counsel magazine.
The Bar Standards Board (BSB) was not amused, pointing out that Ullah’s ad was a potential breach of the Bar’s code of conduct (any chambers which offered him a pupillage directly on the back of it would breach the requirement in annexe R of the code that all pupillages must be advertised on a designated website).
Happily for Charles Mallinson, it turns out the solicitors’ profession is more open to acts of entrepreneurship. Both the Law Society and the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) confirmed to me that advertising yourself for a training contract is not against the rules – provided the ad doesn't breach the bounds of received taste.
An SRA spokesperson said: “As long as the advert doesn’t bring the profession into disrepute as per the code of conduct, then it’s fine.”
And judging by the positive reactions of the lawyers who I spoke with about Mallinson's ad, the Oxford graduate may find himself getting a few calls. Peter Wright, a solicitor at Taylor Bracewell, told me: "It is brave, shows initiative and should be applauded. Why not? It is worth a try as some firms want people in to start immediately."
By the way, there was a happy ending of sorts in this for Ullah. Having converted to becoming a solicitor via the Qualified Lawyers Transfer Test (QLTT), he bagged a position at Bishop Lloyd & Jackson Solicitors.