6 ways to distract law firms from disappointing first-year results

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Keep calm and carry on, says first-year law student Christianah Babajide


Like thousands of first-year students all over the country, I too am wondering what sort of impact my exams results will have on my future career hunt.

I know everyone says first-year doesn’t count but, actually, it does.

Law firms — who are inundated with vac scheme applications — will scrutinise every exam result, and everyone knows that securing a vac scheme can make finding a training contract that bit easier.

So if things don’t go to plan (and lets all pray that they do!) here are six things you can do to get back on track.

1. Give back to the community


Pro bono — here I come.

I am going to drown myself in pro bono and get involved with as many law centres as I can, and so should you.

Law firms love students who give back to their local community so give them what they want. Pro bono is a win-win in my eyes: I get some hands-on experience plus it looks great on my CV.

While a summer spent watching Mean Girls and eating Ben and Jerry’s cookie dough ice cream seems more tempting, volunteering is the way to go.

2. Take up that job in Tesco


Take that job offer at Tesco.

Yes, you might think you’re too good for it, but there are many ways to manipulate customer service role experiences, and extract relevant skills that are applicable to the legal sector. Commercial awareness, communication and interpersonal skills are good examples. After all, you are the author of your CV — the power is in your hands. 

3. Find yourself in Thailand


Ever heard the quote: “To travel is to take a journey into yourself”?

That’s exactly what I am going to do after getting my exam results. I am going to really take the time to explore the world and find myself.

There’s no harm in travelling as far as I’m concerned. You never know, you might meet the CEO of a global firm and get given a job-offer while on holiday!

4. Do better next time


I know it’s a fairly obvious point, but if you end up getting a poor first-year result, be spurred on to perform better in the remaining years of your law degree.

Next year, when your friends invite you out to party, remember the heartbreak you felt on first-year results day. Drag your feet to the law library instead.

5. Learn a new skill


Word on the street is that bilingual students impress law firm graduate recruiters. The “Hey I may not have gotten a first class result in my first-year but at least I can speak French and Spanish fluently” is bound to be a good selling point.

6. Get feedback


Personal tutors are used to post-results day spam, some students even asking why their part a answer got a lower grade than their part b answer.

After releasing some of your frustration on them, get some feedback from your subject lecturers and find out where you might have gone wrong. This way, you won’t make the same rookie mistakes next year. And if they don’t reply, speak to some of your smart friends to get some exam tips and techniques.

No matter the outcome of your results — it is important to remember: it is not the end of the world; life goes on. 

Good luck!


Irwin Mitchell Applicant

Or just play with yourself in the interview when they ask that question, hoping the interview will move on quickly.



One tip from me:

“I am going to really take the time to explore the world and find myself. ”

By all means travel, but never, ever say you’ve been anywhere to “find [yourself]”. Just don’t do it. Please.



Regarding number 3, aren’t you the same person who wrote an article on here a while back in which you said you didn’t go on holiday because you though it’s more important to get work experience? In which case, saying there’s no harm in travel seems something of a volte face.



WOW…. She got clocked!






The author clearly wrote that article a month ago so what’s the link to this article ?



Thats what im thinking looool



Contacts/aggressive networking will help.

Also, depends on where the 2.2 is from..



a 2:2 is a 2:2 don’t bother applying without a 2:1 is the general consensus



Well that’s bull. Know numerous people from top universities who did vacation schemes at MC/US firms with a 2.2 in year 1

(Not sure the firms would like you to know that though..)



I got numerous Vac Scheme offers with a 2.2 in first year.



What made them look past your 2:2?


Taking life advice from a first-year law student…..

Nope. So much nope.



She seems to have valuable things to say and anyway isnt this ad hominem



Getting shiz grades and buggering off for a jolly round Thailand ‘to find yourself’? Is this really valuable?

‘Do better next time’-? No shi*t sherlock

‘Learn to speak a foreign language’ – When yo graduate with a 2:2, let me know how many MC firms want to hire you because you can speak Spanish. Arabic or Mandarin would be more lucrative, but even then, you still won’t get your foot in the door.



Lord Harley should have been asked for his professional opinion


Simpsons comment

I’m just commenting to distract you while I take away your plough



This post has been removed because it breached Legal Cheek’s comments policy.



I am a civil barrister in London and I had to resit almost every module in my first year (in the mid 2000s).

It was a major hindrance. How did I get round it?

1. Chambers often don’t ask for first year results, unlike solicitors firms, so you get out of that one.

2. I got prizes later in university, including coming top of year.

So the only answer really is to grow up and work a bit more. I’m glad I was a drunkard in my first year as I had great fun and made great friends, but draw a line under it.



Yay, Babajide is back!



she’s back at it again


City advice

This post has been removed because it breached Legal Cheek’s comments policy.



I’m a first year student I just got a low 2:2 I’m gonna really pull my socks up in year 2 and 3

I hope I get a 2:1

I do have dyslexia so I’d be really happy with a 2:1



I bet you’re glad this article was written then?


A Blacker

Hehehe, good luck with that.



Learn how to use punctuation, and you might.



Don’t be so rude, this is hardly an English essay, it’s just LC comments section.



Jesus, with skin as thick as yours, you are destined to go far…


Lady Decidendi

Does anyone know what the general consensus is on getting a 2:2 in one module but having higher grades in the others so your grade overall is a 2:1.. Will the 2:2 have a great impact?



There really is no consensus. Some people get rejected with 2.1s across the board and some get offers with a mixture. All depends on what else you have on your cv/how well you write/contacts.

If you only have one bad mark, you can probably apply anywhere, assuming that your 2.1 marks are not scraped, (60)



In both my first and seconds years I got a 2:1 over all but got 2:2s in 2 modules. In only one training contract interview has this been brought up, and it wasn’t in a nasty way, a partner was just curious why I got 51 in one module and 78 in another. I think as long as you have mitigating circumstances if you have a low 2:2 in a module, then that is fine. Alternatively they didn’t bat an eye lid at my 57 in land or 56 in contract, so if they’re mid to high 2:2s I wouldn’t worry.

Grades are a weird one, when I applied for vac schemes at the beginning of second year I had a 62% average from first year but managed to get 5 offers but some of my friends with mid to high 2:1s (who I thought would breeze their way through the application process) didn’t get any offers. Grades are only a small part of the application process 🙂


Lady Decidendi

Thanks for both your replies guys! Much appreciated 😊



I got a bad first year result – borderline 2:1. Didn’t get any vac schemes in my second year as a result.

But the situation was salvageable. Made full use of the applications by figuring out how they should be answered. Tried very hard to understand where I went wrong in my first year exams, and to improve on my exam and study technique. Ended up with a high 2:1 in my second year.

Applied for direct TCs in my 3rd year, got quite a few invites to ACs, and eventually got a TC with an MC firm, based on my very much improved grades and experience in applications.

So the moral of the story is, first year results only matter for vac schemes, so don’t worry too much. Getting a TC is a long process and some people take a year or two longer than others. What matters is that you use as much opportunities as possible to improve on yourself.


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