Success can turn on the smallest of things.
Cambridge graduate Marta Sanchez (pictured left) completed her LPC in 2008 having narrowly missed out on a training contract at a magic circle law firm. Then Lehman Brothers collapsed, the TC market dried up and Sanchez ended up working as a maid for Bircham Dyson Bell solicitor (and Legal Cheek podcast host) Kevin Poulter.
Four years on and she is still in the same job.
Queen Mary graduate Matt Jones (pictured right) finished law school at the same time as Sanchez, but he managed to bag a training contract with top City law firm Norton Rose just before the financial crisis began. Although he had his place deferred for a couple of years, Jones began his TC in 2010 and is just about to qualify.
As Sanchez serves canapés and champagne, Poulter, Jones and Legal Cheek editor Alex Aldridge talk training contracts.
Do City trainees really have to work 80 hours a week?
Are 70 of those 80 hours spent photocopying?
How do the City's young cope with the fear of not getting taken on as an NQ?
All is revealed in this week's podcast.
Most people don’t stay at the law firms they join as trainees all that long. When I interviewed Freshfields lawyer-turned-author Jonathan Lee on Wednesday about his brilliant new book 'Joy', he told me that only five out of the fifty trainees in his 2005 intake are still there.
This week’s #RoundMyKitchenTable podcast guest, Jill Marshall, is another ex-Freshfields lawyer who decided to try her luck outside corporate law. Rather than stick around to battle it out for partnership, Marshall elected instead to do a PhD and pursue a career as a legal academic at Queen Mary, University of London, just down the canal from Legal Cheek’s studios in glamorous east London.
Such a switch is anathema to podcast co-host Kevin Poulter, a lawyer at Bircham Dyson Bell, whose gritty Doncaster roots cause him to view learning with suspicion. "I can think of nothing worse than going back to being a student," says the Yorkshireman at one point during the podcast, before returning to the sketch of a coalmine he spent much of the evening completing.
Following last week's Queen Mary v Durham debate, I received this email from another student.
Would the same dilemma arise if the offer was from UCL rather than Queen Mary? Read my response below.
Barrister-to-be Jack Smith, whose LNAT score didn't correspond with his other academic results, isn't convinced by the undergraduate law application test
With A-Level results improving each year, it’s only natural that university law faculty admissions tutors seek to distinguish between the best applicants via an additional test. For many institutions, the National Admissions Test for Law (LNAT) forms an integral part of the sifting process. However, I question whether the LNAT is really fit for that particular purpose.
I took the LNAT several years ago before I applied to university. Four out of the five universities I applied to required that I sit the test, so I dutifully obliged by attending my local test centre. A note on the test centre: as a prospective law student, your local test centre is a building which you will enter twice in your life. Once to do your LNAT, and once to do your driving theory test. Neither are particularly pleasant experiences...