I did a BTEC instead of A-levels — can I still get a training contract?

One aspiring lawyer harbours concerns that a lack of A-levels will hinder his legal career

lead1

In the latest instalment in our Career Conundrums series, one law student is worried that his decision to take a BTEC instead of A-levels will prevent him from bagging a training contract.

areer

I am currently 22-years-old and I work full time in exports, and am studying my LLB with the Open University. I am looking to graduate in 2018 (2:1 level) all things being well and am currently looking at applying for training contracts and vacation schemes. The only issue is I took a BTEC at college level as I wasn’t really sure which way I wanted to go in my career but I only scored a merit and pass. Do I still have a chance at securing a training contract at all? Or should I give up?

If you have a career conundrum, email us with it to careers@legalcheek.com.

96 Comments

Anonymous

With that CV you won’t be a rookie in top firm, trousering the higher salaries. You may be a wannabe newbie lawyer at a smaller firm though.

(16)(2)
Anonymous

A question like this on LC with all the MC-wannabe commentators is a red rag to a bull.

*Grabs popcorn*

Let the bantz begin!

(11)(2)
Anonymous

To get into any good firm, You need,

A Levels BBB minimum,
Degree 2.1 (65% on average or above)
Work Experience, Minimum, in your Summer after A levels, During summer after your first year of Uni, And get a wide rage under your belt.
2.1 from Russell Group Uni if wanting to work for a City Firm. Or High 1st from Poly, With Heavy Experience.

IF YOU DO NOT HAVE THIS, DONT WAST YOUR TIME,

Regards Ex : Slaughter & May Trainee.

(0)(4)
Anonymous

It definitely depends on the firm, some want AAA and a 1st or strong 2.1 and don’t waste your time applying to those. Others are more chill.

(4)(4)
Anonymous

Find me a firm offering vac schemes that requires less than ABB…

OP is fucked.

(8)(5)
Anonymous

A number of current lawyers/trainees have no A-levels, low degree classifications and/or no experience but if you find the right firm for you who will take in your experience, your background and BTEC then you can be a trainee and qualify. Research, network and talk to people in the law and at law firms and see who is the best fit for you. Its possible!

(5)(3)
Anonymous

Plus there are a number of ways to qualify as a lawyer; Paralegal route, CILEX etc. TC are not the be all and end all

(3)(6)
Anonymous

It’s £25,000 for an office on -1, 60 hour work weeks and a sleezebag equity partner asking you out twice a day.

(20)(0)
Anonymous

To get into any good firm, You need,

A Levels BBB minimum,
Degree 2.1 (65% on average or above)
Work Experience, Minimum, in your Summer after A levels, During summer after your first year of Uni, And get a wide rage under your belt.
2.1 from Russell Group Uni if wanting to work for a City Firm. Or High 1st from Poly, With Heavy Experience.

IF YOU DO NOT HAVE THIS, DONT WAST YOUR TIME,

Regards Ex : Slaughter & May Trainee.

(0)(1)
Anonymous

I did a BTEC in a really non-law related subject, it didn’t hold me back because I could always justify why I studied and how the skills I had picked up were transferable. I am sure with your work there would also be a lot of transferable skills and experiences that you could call on when completing TC apps.

(4)(4)
Anonymous

People like you are the reason so many poor souls foolishly take on debt believing they’ll still get a TC.

Considering how over saturated the legal market is right now with candidates sporting considerably better CVs OP probably has 1/10000 chance of getting a training contract.

You may mean well with the inherently ‘it didn’t stop me’ story, but your story is anomalous and misleading, and probably does more harm than good.

(34)(2)
Anonymous

Theres more to life than MC/SC/US/City firms. You dont know which firm this person or the main question is aspiring towards. You’re not wrong entirely but get off your high horse just a little

(13)(18)
Anonymous

Yep, high street’s definitely the way to go. Our bonuses last year consisted of a half-empty pack of rich tea biscuits and a pack of gum. Living the Wall Street life!

Wonder what we’ll get this time.

(21)(5)
Anonymous

You are the type of person who contributes to the overwhelming number on TC applicants. People like you who only want to earn vast amount of money. There is nothing wrong with regional firms, I work at one because I enjoy it and the people I work with are nice. I don’t get paid the most but at least I enjoy it and my social life is great which I highly doubt yours is. Maybe you should stop caring so much about money and start actually enjoying life and doing a job you love.

(17)(25)
Anonymous

Still didn’t tell me your name which shows your scared. Go on then tell us your name and see who is laughing pompous prick.

(1)(11)
US NQ

It’s Rupert Moulton-Smythe, dear rustic. Meet me at Bishops Square at dawn, I shall have the duelling pistols ready.

Also, it’s *you’re.*

(29)(1)
Anonymous

Just found out who you are. Jesus Christ your ugly, have fun being a virgin the rest of your life. But it’s fine you can just spend that big pay slip on magazines to help your sexual frustration.

ps. Highly doubt your a US NQ as you can’t be spending this much time on Legal Cheek if you were.

(0)(9)
Anonymous

And also before you correct me I meant to put “you’re”

(0)(9)
Bumblebee

This is all getting rather philosophical. I take it from your last comment that you think Jesus Christ is:

1) ugly
2) a virgin
3) life
4) ‘sexual frustration’
5) a US NQ

To be fair, you’re not too wrong…

(11)(0)
Anonymous

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

(0)(0)
Alpha dick

Literally man, we’re so bored with all this beta chat circulating on LC as of late. Please just enjoy your high street salad with extra fries and stop with your oppressive opinions.

(6)(1)
Zyzz

Savage brah, how about we leave these puny betas and go hit the weights, get hulk dick huge!

(3)(1)
Anonymous

I know they’re looking at firms which offer vacation schemes. Which immediately insinuates firms of a certain stature (most high street firms don’t have the resources / money to offer vacation schemes).

I’m not on a ‘high horse’, I’m speaking common sense. Telling someone with a terrible CV that they can do it if they try will probably just lead to 3 wasted years of applications and £15,000 LPC debt.

(15)(0)
Dibble

Does LC make these up or just mercilessly put these poor souls up as a target to be shot at?

(28)(0)
Anonymous

I don’t have any A levels, BTECs or level 3 qualifications, yet I have managed to get a training contract in a top 100 law firm. So yes, it is entirely possible. Your work experience will likely be your selling point, make sure you make the most of it.

(15)(1)
US NQ

A ‘top 100 firm’ eh? Which high street can I find it on?

Mumma must’ve been so proud of you.

(24)(15)
Anonymous

They don’t care whether it’s A levels or B levels, what they care about is: Will you be able to be a slave for the next 10 years?

(6)(0)
Anonymous

I don’t think so. Not at a decent firm anyway.
i needed 3 a-levels to get to my tc at Irwin Mitchell!!
I’m new to this site but it seems to deal with quite low-flying-lawyer issues

(6)(4)
Anonymous

With 3 A’levels you’ll be the managing partner within a month

(29)(0)
Anonymous

Studies at the Open University and claims the BTEC is the “only problem”. Then goes on to say they also “only scored a merit and pass” in said BTEC.

Seriously, someone needs to be brutally honest with you. Do not listen to the classic bullshit ‘you can do anything if you try!’ answers. These people are either lying about their experiences or are the absolute extreme minority. Your qualifications are awful, and the very large majority of firms large enough to offer official vacation schemes won’t even give you the time of day.

If you’re truly determined to make it in law then the paralegal or CILEX route are more appropriate and worth looking into.

(14)(3)
Anonymous

Studies at the Open University.
Only expecting a 2.1 from said ‘university’.
Studied a BTEC.
Only obtained a merit and a pass in said BTEC.

“Do I still have a chance at securing a training contract?”

Yes. Unfortunately, that chance is 0.001%.

(20)(3)
Anonymous

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

(2)(0)
Anonymous

Legal Cheek should just rename this section the comedy roast section…

(18)(1)
Anonymous

I got pupillage with just a D- in woodworking, so you should be fine. In my pupillage interview I whittled an intricate carving of Horace Rumpole.

(18)(0)
Anonymous

I bagged a TC at Jones Day with just two BTECs in hairdressing and Brazilian waxing.

My interview involved more than just an informal chat though…

(18)(1)
bar bar black sheep

You are destined for the high street. Which is not that bad if you want to do that sort of work. In some ways although you will be very poor its not a bad life, you can probably leave the office at 3.30pm. But you can forget any other type of firm. None of the big boys will look twice at you.

(3)(2)
Anonymous

Lol, I don’t think many high street solicitors are poor. They might not earn as much as an MC partner, but I’m pretty sure the average high street lawyer (drafting wills, doing a few divorces, etc.) will still earn a substantial amount more than the average worker.

(4)(3)
bar bar black sheep

high street solicitors get paid in peanuts. fact.

(3)(2)
Anonymous

High street solicitor here, can confirm I get paid 25 cashew nuts an hour.

(11)(1)
Genuine High-Streeter 7 years PQE

£50K, 5 weeks paid holiday, travel expenses and an iPhone. 9-5 Monday-Friday.

It’s not a bad life…

(9)(4)
Kirkland 7PQE

£50k? That’s so cute – I had double that as my Xmas bonus last year.

(12)(10)
Anonymous

And that, clearly, makes you a better person than the high streeter!

Congratulations, A-star, well done.

(4)(3)
Anonymous

The most telling part is the fact you think the iPhone should be included as pay 😂…

(8)(2)
Anonymous

I agree that it depends on what type of firm you want to work for. The larger firms tend to have arbitrary criteria which may not include BTEC’s.

I have a BTEC HNC an no A-levels. I got a 2.1 from a Uni that wouldn’t be regarded very highly by many firms and a commendation on the LPC at the College of Law. My training contract was High Street but at 3 years’ PQE got into a decent top 100 firm in Birmingham. I am now a partner in a small-ish commercial firm heading up a litigation team. I never thought I would end up in the MC, but a BTEC is not a bar to the profession.

(11)(1)
Oxy with a dash of Moron

There are no decent ‘top 100 firms’ mate, let alone in Birmingham.

(8)(8)
Legal Rec

What I would say is that it may be difficult to get training contracts in London, however it is often a little more promising if you are flexi on location. With all the north-shoring now you will still get good experience, and even potentially a good name on your CV.

(5)(0)
Lord Harley

Don’t listen to these cretins. If you don’t have a great CV, just make up some qualifications and stick them on there. Heck, make up a whole university too if it gets you to where you want to be!

(7)(1)
Anonymous

The BTEC is not the issue, the grades within it are though.

It isn’t impossible and I have seen people with lesser qualifications do it.

However those people worked seriously hard to build up every part of their CV/application form to even get anywhere near a chance. They then impressed at every opportunity they had.

And that’s the problem when your academics are not what firms are looking for. You have to excel in every other way and that is exceptionally difficult to do. Any minor slip up along the way and a firm has two excuses to reject you, not one.

Are you really that exceptionally diligent and driven character that will ensure you already have the other evidence on your CV to succeed?

(7)(0)
Anonymous

Oxy, so Pinsents, DLA, Eversheds, Squires, Gowling etc. are ALL bad firms, eh?

(9)(1)
Anonymous

Top 100 implies closer to the bottom end of 100. Those are all top 25 firms at the very least.

(7)(0)
Anonymous

I did BTEC as a mature lawyer and then did my articles with Slaughter and May. Much will depend on how well you do at university.

(2)(3)
Tyrion

The fact you said articles either suggests you are making this up or you did your articles 25 years ago. I’m also sure you did very well on that course. This joker has literally just squeezed through at every stage and now thinks the City is short of his talent.

(4)(1)
Anonymous

What can 2:1 law grad with 320 ucas points get with law and non law experience to date – Having been involved in the legal industry in one form of another mainly via recruitment and paralegalling for a City firm prior to my current role.

Curious?

(0)(0)
FlyingStudent

Well reading these comments fills me with hope, not!

I did a BTEC, achieved DDD, which goes without saying as they’re piss easy! I’m due to graduate a from a Russel Group uni with a high 1st!

But I take it I have no chance with any decent law firm? If not I guess I can always fall back on my pilots licence …

(0)(3)
Anonymous

I swear this is actually either Alex or Tommy commenting, trying to troll the comments for more tasty banter. Nice try mate.

(8)(0)
The Doc?

77 comments, all pertinent, no gratuitous abuse. No mental health patients. Well done.

But what would LC know about career advice and why is it holding itself out to be qualified career advisers?

(0)(2)
Anonymous

The OP’s question was, can he get a training contract. He didn’t say it had to be at a great firm or anything. He just wants to become a solicitor. So yes, I think he can. It may be at a small firm, outside of London, and/or not especially well paid. But the OP did not say he particularly cared about any of those issues. Not everyone wants to work in commercial law or for the magic circle. some solicitors are perfectly happy working in Liverpool high street for some small firm drafting wills 9-5.

I don’t think the problem is the BTEC as much as the fact he is getting a 2:1 at the OU. It would be helpful to know what else he was doing while at the OU – was he working full time? minding kids? if working, what field and what position? all those could be relevant to his application and could even be very helpful.

(5)(0)
Anonymous

My friend got CDD at A level, including general studies, and also went to one of the very worst uni’s and turned up to her TC interview while pregnant, unmarried and still completing her studies. However she worked really hard to build up her CV with loads of other relevant things during uni and not only did she get a TC but she is also now a partner at a regional firm of solicitors.

(0)(1)
Anonymous

Some firms won’t even let you apply without A-levels, even if you have a first class LLB (unbelievable, but true). Anything unconventional and they largely don’t have the brains to deal with it.

(1)(0)
Anonymous

I did a BTEC, I got 100% for the course as it happens but fell flat at degree level due to personal circumstances.

I didn’t get a TC with a big city firm, a big regional or even a medium firm I trained in a Sole Practioner High Street, moved to a Top 50 on qualification and now moving to a medium full service regional where I would have been happy to train from day 1.

I’m also a Director on a Board for a local law society.

The path isn’t always a straight one but if you want to make it you will. Networking is the key.

(2)(0)
Disgruntled associate

Come and join us at KWM – you might even make it to Managing Partner with the rate at which people are leaving.

(0)(0)
Swansea llb

I’m personally at Swansea so I’m pretty sorted for a city TC. Am I right or am I right?

(0)(0)

Comments are closed.