AUNTIE EM’S HOMESPUN ADVICE FOR LAWYERS: ‘I can’t get a training contract’
Dear Auntie Em,
I finished my LPC this summer and I still don’t have a training contract. I can’t even get a paralegal job, so I’m back working as a librarian – my old job before I went and retrained as a lawyer.
I’ve got a decent, if unspectacular CV: Russell Group 2.1, commendation on the LPC. And I have had a number of interviews at a mixture of firms, which I thought I did OK at.
I turn 30 in a couple of months and this really isn’t the way I’d planned things; my chances of a career in law, indeed any career, seem to be slipping away, and I feel really down. I’d be really grateful for any help you might be able to provide.
Disclaimer: Auntie Em has never worked in a law firm. But she is an aunt and has a psychology degree. As a teenager, Auntie Em had a dream predicting 9/11.
I don’t know anything about Russell Group universities or LPCs, so let’s start with a joke.
Two friends are trapped in a hot air balloon. They’ve been travelling for days and they’ve become very lost. Then suddenly they see someone on the ground below them. They call out to ask the stranger “Do you know where we are?” The stranger looks up at them, and replies, “you’re about 80 metres up in the air and you’re in a balloon.”
“That guy must be a lawyer,” says the first friend. “How do you know?” asks the
second. The first friend replies; “Because what he just said was 100 per cent accurate and totally useless.”
The point is, you can always spot a lawyer. They’re a distinctive breed.
Law firms, I sense, like to mould people to be just like them, a bit like The Borg in Star Trek. In order to change you into a clone of themselves, they must first see the potential for assimilation in your character.
It’s important in interview to be as much like them as possible. Think about it – who would you prefer to hire: a stranger or yourself?
So meet people who already have good jobs at law firms – there must be a few from your course you can talk to – observe their manner, their beliefs, their idiosyncrasies. You might see a pattern emerging; they are confident, analytical and always get left standing on their own at parties.
Seek them out, Ruth, take note of their habits and become JUST LIKE THEM. A training contract will follow.
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