What you need to know before you apply for a training contract

Avatar photo

By Alex Aldridge on

The application deadlines are looming

Forget Glastonbury and Wimbledon, as any self-respecting law student knows the real event of the summer is the July training contract application deadline.

The winners of this Hunger Games-style process will emerge with TC offers in their back pockets, and, because of big law firms’ penchant for recruiting two years in advance, plenty of time to enjoy life guilt-free and safe in the knowledge that they have a well-paid job waiting for them.

As for the losers… well, they have to go through the whole vac scheme and TC application process again in the autumn.

To position yourself in the former category requires students to put the hours in now, by thoroughly researching firms so that they know which ones suit them best. Then they need to submit carefully-tailored applications.

A good place to start is the famous Legal Cheek Firms Most List. All the top firms are in there, with a profile for each containing the independent, cheeky and very thoroughly researched The Legal Cheek View. Each one is based on our journalists’ insider contacts within the firms, years of experience covering the legal sector and, perhaps most importantly, the results from the Legal Cheek Trainee and Junior Lawyer Survey of over 1,500 corporate law rookies.

The firm profiles also contain a scorecard ranking firms from A* to E on their training, quality of work, peer supportiveness, partner approachability, work/life balance and chances of secondment abroad. There are further scorecard grades for lighter areas such as office and workspace, canteen, perks and social life, alongside average arrive and leave the office times.

During the autumn, we published a series of articles about the firms which did best in each scorecard category. They can be found below:

The best law firms to train with in Britain
The law firms that give trainees and junior lawyers the best quality of work
The law firms with the friendliest trainees in Britain
The law firms with the most approachable partners in Britain
The best law firms for work/life balance
The firms that offer the most international secondments
The best corporate law firm perks in London
The fanciest law firm offices in Britain
The law firms with the best canteens
The law firms with the best social life
The law firms that trainees and junior lawyers most admire
The shortlist for the Trainee and Junior Lawyer Firm of the Year 2017
Revealed: Top law firms average arrive and leave the office times

The winner of each category was announced at the Legal Cheek Awards in March. A full listing of the results can be found here.

More detail about the experience of working at the leading firms can be found in our careers editorial section, where there are profiles of a host of lawyers of varying level of seniority — from trainee to partner.

Finally, don’t forget our events. We have two big ones coming up in July — one in London on 6 July and the other in Birmingham on 12 July. Both feature lawyers from leading firms, including Pinsent Masons, Mayer Brown, Hogan Lovells and Herbert Smith Freehills, and are geared to boosting students’ commercial awareness ahead of the training contract application deadline. They are also totally free. Apply to attend our London event here and our Birmingham event here.

For all the latest commercial awareness info, and advance notification of Legal Cheek’s careers events, sign up to the Legal Cheek Hub.