Tadpoles and pigs play key role in high street law firm paralegal hiring policy

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“Insult to intelligence” critical reasoning test pivotal in determining whether you’re up to the task of checking land registry searches at west country solicitors’ firm


As if years of study and starvation weren’t painful enough, Legal Practice Course (LPC) graduates without training contracts struggling to get a foot on the professional ladder as paralegals are now being forced to sit balls-achingly irritating critical reasoning tests.

And it is not just the mega-global law firms imposing this latest hurdle — last May, The Times reported on Linklaters’ keenness — but small regional players that are some way from cracking the UK top 200 list are also jumping on the bandwagon.

A case in point is West Country powerhouse Furse Sanders Solicitors — with offices across Cornwall, Devon and even an outpost in the north-west London backwater of Willesden.

A Legal Cheek tipster recently considered applying for what the firm described as a “conveyancing client executive” role, which we assume is a longwinded way of saying paralegal. Applications were handled by a Truro recruitment agency, which informed the wannabes that — at the behest of the law firm — they must first complete a Sirius test.

Those pounding the pavements for legal profession employment will be aware of these painful exercises, but they might not expect to come across them at what is effectively a high street law firm trying to fill a relatively junior role.

A taster of the questions on the Furse Sanders test included these gems:


It is understood that on wading through the 200 similar questions included in the test, at least one applicant punched the computer screen and told the recruitment agency to tell the law firm to answer this question: Tadpoles and pigs are to conveyancing as bollocks is to … ? A) a small high street law firm with an inflated opinion of itself, B) and C) repeat.

Indeed, one applicant told the recruiter:

“Honestly… tadpoles and sand???! … I really do not have the time or patience to be answering things like this. It has nothing to do with the role of a lawyer, so I cannot see how it is relevant. And if they base my future employment on what I think of chicken and lamb, then I really do not think they are the employer for me!”

Furse Sanders did not respond to requests for comment on the usefulness of the Sirius test or to clarify the role of conveyancing client executive.