My training contract has been mis-sold to me: What do I do?

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Dream job isn’t what it says on the tin


In the latest instalment in our Career Conundrums series, a soon-to-be trainee vents his frustration at his “mis-sold” training contract.


I secured a training contract when I was in my second year of university. It’s now two years later, weeks before I’m about to start, and the firm has just told me I can’t work in the department I really wanted to. This was the whole reason I went for this firm over any of the others. To make matters worse, now the firm has decided it’s going to allocate trainees their seats; surprise, surprise, I’ve ended up in one I don’t want to be in. I just feel really annoyed about the whole thing, like my training contract has been mis-sold to me. I wouldn’t have applied to this firm had I known this would happen. Surely it’s too late to switch firms now? I don’t want to annoy anyone before I’ve even started, but do I bring it up with someone at the firm? I’d really appreciate some advice.

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Get over your first world problem maybe? Do your six month stint, move on. Simples



Yep, if it’s a decent firm just shut up, get qualified and then do whatever the fuck you want afterwards.

Seriously, the entitlement of law students and trainees is ridiculous.



Lol… why do all failures end up on Legal Cheek?

We get it – your prospects are non-existent. No need to be nasty to others.



Pressing that was an accident sorry!



No it was not – stop faking others to play down something that clearly applies to you too.


I could be wrong, but his phrasing suggests that he won’t be able to sit in his target department at all.

I mean, the guy must know he’d have to do other seats anyway, so I don’t see why he’d be making a fuss unless the above was the case.



Don’t you have several seats during the two years?



Literally. Shut the fuck up and become a lawyer, are you serious?



Get over it. It’s just a seat and not a department you’ll permanently be working in. How about stop moaning and appreciate the fact you actually have a TC!


Lord Of the Dance

Try a 12K pupillage – bloody outrageous…



Here here.

…and I had to to Grimsby Mags yesterday. *shudders*



And you don’t even know that it should be “hear hear”! Poor you!



THAT’S something to whinge about.



Try 4KBW pupillage (the dodgy one, not the nice one)!



Law****e P*w*rs?



Did you not get tenancy then Chris?



Why do they advertise that as a first six only? It cant be to cover excess work, surely they must give them 2nd six as well, if not tenancy?


A stiff breeze and they will collapse….just lost a load of dogs’ bodies to other chambers


Oh dear yes three leaving for Lamb. Hmm not a good sign


A testament to Lozza P’s success as captain of his Chambers.


P.S. Captain Lozza, it appears your ship is sinking.


Capt Lozza P

I still have many of them chained to the oars! They won’t get away that easily!



Check your privilege.



Check your pupillage!



Are they a “top” firm? Do other “wannabe” lawyers aspire to be you? If so, suck it up and get on with it.



Why are you so wedded to the area you wanted to do? How come you don’t want to do the one you were allocated? Often areas are so different in practice to on your degree/LPC, you may actually enjoy it.



I won a red Mercedes but I wanted a silver one :((



You think you have problems? My supermodel girlfriend will only put out once a day. This is not what she said living together would be like when we were dating.

Also, the threesome she offered me was just with an ordinary Victoria secret model, and not one of the angels.

Does anyone elses life suck? 😞



Mine’s worse.

I woke up to a call from my broker telling me that I had only made $4m on the markets yesterday.

Then, my Learjet salesman couldn’t get me the latest model, so I had to spend half an hour travelling in my chauffer driven Rolls to the Gulfstream office in Mayfair.

To top it all, the waiter at the 2 Michelin star restaurant where I had lunch forgot that I am left handed, and I had to swap my knife and fork around myself!



2 Michelin star restaurant? Peasant.



I didn’t think people bothered these days if it were any less than 3 Michelin stars….


Most first seaters don’t get their seat choices – they often get stuck in the departments few people want to work in.

Work hard in your first seat, impress people, network with people in the department you do want to work in, and then when it comes round to the next seat rotation you will be in the best position to be considered for your first choice. If it isn’t the next seat rotation, do the same again so that it is the third rotation, and repeat as necessary.

During your training contract, be polite about your want to work in X group but make it clear in any meetings with supervisors/HR that you are keen to go there. Look for opportunities that will give you any chance to work with that team, whether client deals/cases, or even social events.

I highly doubt it was mis-sold to you; it seems you just have unrealistic expectations of how training contracts work. Most trainees who get the seats they want have to graft for it – its not just given to them because they feel they are entitled to it.

You’ve got little to no chance of securing a TC elsewhere, not just because of the time lag on the recruitment process (are you really going to delay your career by 3+ years, when you could be qualified in that time), but also if you told another firm you decided not to start your original TC after not getting your first seat they would probably laugh at you and not want to hire you for being so demanding.



”Most trainees who get the seats they want have to graft for it – its not just given to them because they feel they are entitled to it.”

You mean Trainees just need to arse lick the Partners – aka make them feel like they’re not just glorified secretaries.



I had the same problem. Whilst I get that people might be frustrated with the fact that you have a training contract and you aren’t happy, you need to remember it’s your career.

If it’s only one seat that you don’t want to do then I’d say stick with it. However, if they have completely changed your seats to something that you really don’t want to qualify into then I think you need to think about if it is the right firm for you.

I initially was going to a firm to do Family, Private Client and Property (I was an aspiring family lawyer) and the firm agreed to this. They then changed my seats to all heavily commericial based stuff before a few weeks before I was to start. I decided it was better to find a different TC than to stay and qualify in areas that I was not going to want to specialise in. Especially as it is so hard to go move into an area if you haven’t done a seat in it.

But do think carefully, TC are very hard to come across and you need to be certain. If it’s one or two seats then I’d say “suck it up”, but if it’s all 4 seats I’d think about asking the firm if there is any possibility of doing atleast one of your desired seats.

Remember it’s your career and don’t let people call you out for wanting to do what is right for you. But you also need to be realistic. Everyone on their TC has to do seats they don’t want to do.



This has to be clickbait – surely no prospective trainee would be stupid enough to think the individual trainee selects their seats.

The firm has to decide where they sit – otherwise you’d have every trainee sat in one of the popular/easier hours teams, while the finance teams had no trainees at all.


The Lord Harley of Counsel

I undertook 23 seats simultaneously while standing on my head.



Just don’t ask me to turn up to the hearing with evidence of such..



Regardless, just don’t do a seat in PI. And you will be fine.

Ex IM, now Addleshaw employee



Employee? How easy is it getting a tea making gig at IM?



“Tea making gig” haha quality

I was joking about being IM / Addleshaw.

I’d rather work on Clapham Common selling recycled lube to trawling Barristers.



Oh how sad, poor thing. Such a tragedy.



Your first seat is where you’ll learn to work. To use the photocopier, the dictaphone, the time recording system, to take attendance notes, to turn up on time and behave professionally, to make phone calls, to understand the role of support staff.

All of that is incredibly important stuff that you will not have learned already as someone who has gone from uni via LPC and who, having got the TC at uni might not even have bothered to do any vac schemes since (not that they do more than give a glimpse of the practical realities).

If you have a practice area you really want to qualify into you should push for it for your third or fourth seat. By then you’ll be useful in the seat and your supervisors can give you proper work to see how well you might do as a qualified lawyer there.

When I was in private practice and a supervisor in a specialist area lots of very bright trainees fancied I always had to push back hard internally to ensure I did not get a first or second seat trainee. Both because I’d get little from them, however keen, and because the nature of the practice area was that I’d not be able to guarantee they got all the general office/business skills they needed which they’d get if they went to corporate, property or litigation and this would ultimately make them worse to qualify into my area or to prosper in other seats.

It is also worth remembering that many many solicitors qualify into areas they didn’t think about, had even heard of or even actively hated before starting a TC. Being motivated to one area helps you sound keen and interested in getting the TC but no more.

Another important professional lesson here is that you need to learn to suck it up a little rather than think you can and should have total control. Firms spend a fortune on trainees and don’t deliberately screw up that investment. You’re now a small cog in a big machine.



Suck it up.



Most tcs are crap (I speak from experience), just suck it up, get qualified, then go on to what you want to do (whether that’s law out non law).


Kuzka's Mother

…yeah, you’re not going to get any sympathy. The world doesn’t always end up the way we want it, as several people who have barely escaped from Syria would no doubt gladly tell you.

Count your blessings, and deal with it. Many people would give anything to be in your position. My own TC experience was problematic in several ways (felt under-utilised and was often not paid) but I just ploughed through it to get my qualification and moved on.

Besides, who knows you might end up actually liking the field you’ll be working in. I never thought I’d even touch aviation law but as it turns out it’s my favourite area of practice now.

tl;dr stfu and stop complaining



What is this insanity



This…is…Legal Cheek!


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