Comment

It’s possible to get to a MoneyLaw US firm from a regional training contract after an ex-poly degree – I should know because I’ve done it

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53

Don’t listen to anyone who tells you it’s impossible

When he was hanging around in the park when he should have been at school, little did this young lawyer at a US firm in London know that in just a few years he would be negotiating multi-million pound deals. He shares some advice.

I got a handful of GCSEs from a less than average state school. Between the ages of 13 to 18, being around the taking and selling of Class A drugs was an everyday occurrence. Now looking back, more than half of my school friends have since done at least one stint in prison. That could so easily have been me too but fast forward down the line a few years and I’m living life as an associate at one of the top US firms in the City of London. I live in Zone 1 and have been fortunate to spend two six month secondments living and working abroad on international secondment. As a result I am a passionate believer in no matter what your background, upbringing or where you are from you can make it as a lawyer. So here are my top tips:

Never lose sight

Be in it for the right reasons. These reasons need to be right for you. There is nothing wrong with being in it for the money and aspiring to be a partner by your mid-30s at a US firm in the City purely for the pay cheque. Or perhaps you want to work with FTSE100 companies and run your owns deals which will showcase the front page of the FT or even work with human rights cases and make a real difference. When I was hanging around in the park when I should have been at school, little did I know in just a few years I would be negotiating multi-million pound deals from a skyscraper in central Europe.

Play the long game

It is possible to train outside of London and then make the move in to a top firm. You can move to a US firm without having time at the magic circle and with grades from an ex-poly. Sometimes you need to plan where you want to be in several years from now and figure out what preliminary steps you can take to help you get there. For example if you work at small un-heard of firm but want to move to a US firm a preliminary step could be to make a move to a large mid-market London firm with a strong brand.

Rules can always be broken

Don’t listen to anyone who tells you it cannot be done. There is no ‘stereotypical’ lawyer. I hate politics and I’m fed up with the Brexit debate. I’d rather be drinking and dancing in Dalston. You can still party like crazy at the weekends (and even in the week!) and be a ‘City lawyer’. The media and the legal press like to portray law as a career choice and lifestyle which is exclusive and not open to everyone. This simply isn’t the case and some of the best lawyers I have worked with and opposite are from the most humble of beginnings.

The writer is a lawyer at a leading US law firm in London, who trained at a small regional firm.

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53 Comments

Anonymous

What are not considered “top US firms”…? Or is “top US” quite a broad spectrum?

(2)(0)

US Elite

Nice try, Dechert.

(132)(3)

Anonymous

LLL

(2)(0)

Anonymous

Dolla

(1)(2)

Anonymous

Could be worse, could work at a battery farm like CMS

(17)(0)

CMS Hen

Cluck!

(19)(0)

loljkm8

I haven’t read this in any detail but he/she/it is definitely the exception, rather than the rule.

Does it say which “ex-poly” they went to? I went to an ex-poly, have a tonne of legal work experience and wouldn’t be given a second glance by a “Money Law” (lol) firm. I’m bound for the regions and happy to be so.

(22)(0)

Anonymous

I went to an ex poly and have a TC at one of the largest firms outside the Magic Circle. If you work hard and come out with a first / good extracurriculars / network and make an effort to actually learn what these firms are looking for then there’s nothing stopping you. Most good firms will still consider you (though I’m sure the trolls that will reply to this will disagree). Look at the statistics not every trainee in each intake is from a Russell Group university.

(50)(1)

Col. Custer

If you give up hustlin’, you likely deserve what you get son.

(9)(0)

Anonymous

You fell in love with your own legend.

(17)(3)

PEPE

THICC

(1)(0)

Anonymous

Hamburger . True playa

(0)(0)

Anonymous

There must be something wrong with your application.

Go on magic circle law firms websites, and some top US law firm websites, and you will definitely find a few people who went to ex-poly’s.

(7)(0)

loljkm8

Yeah, it’s called BBB at A-level.

(4)(3)

Anonymous

naw mayn once u qualify u can move there, innit

(8)(1)

Anonymous

BCC was enough for me…

(2)(1)

Saucy milf

BBC was more than enough for me

(9)(0)

Anonymous

Cuc

(2)(0)

Anonymous

Me, I don’t even have any GCSEs, but I’m a judge lmao

(3)(0)

Anonymous

Your attitude is evidence as to why MoneyLaw wouldn’t take you. You don’t even believe in your own chances why would they? It’s quality and relevant work experience not quantity my friend.

(1)(0)

Anonymous

Of course, nobody is arguing otherwise that they are an exception. It merely shows that it is possible to achieve.

(0)(1)

Anonymous

I went to an ex – poly, trained at a national firm and then moved to top 20 firm on qualification!! It’s doable if you try hard enough

(0)(0)

Anonymous

Legalcheek clearly having * another* slow news day and wanting to feed the comments section.

Up next: ‘Are regional firms better than City firms?’

(21)(2)

Anonymous

ROF actually has a Lord Harley exclusive today that LC seems to have missed so far.

(3)(1)

Anonymous

Are Jones Day benchmarking recent US NQ raises for London associates?

(0)(0)

JD Partner

My NQ gave me a raise.

(12)(1)

JD Partner

My NQ gave me a quickie.

(2)(3)

Anonymous

Although this story is pure fabricated bullsh*t, I do agree with the notion of planning and playing the long game if you’ve fallen behind. Most things are generally possible if you take the time to seek advice and objectively plan out the steps you need to get where you want to be. Though luck and execution will also be key factors as well.

(10)(0)

Anonymous

Of course it is possible, guys are we still doing this?

If you look at firms websites, they do have lawyers who went to ex poly’s, Kirkland and Ellis have a Northumbria graduate (ex-poly), Freshfields have 2 Hull graduates and 1 open Uni grad (I know it is a magic circle but it is the same point), Weil & Gotshal have a Northumbria grad, I could go on for hours.

There are people who are going to laugh, and say that it is impossible to achieve such goals, but they are the ones who sit behind the screen all day trolling the Student Room about how they have 11 A*’s at GCSE’s, 5 A*’s at A level, a first from Oxford, and yet still have nothing going on in their life.

Don’t lose hope, the legal world is changing, just look at Clifford Chance – they don’t even look at uni names now, White and Case have a few trainees who did not even go to the Russell Groups (City University London, Sussex etc).

(29)(1)

Anonymous

Buss a move, when I’m juice oh myyyyyyyyyy
In a coupe, getting whoop from your wiiiiiife
she was yours, but she loose, now she miiiiine

(8)(3)

Anonymous

I also saw a liverpool john moores grad as a trainee White and Case.

(2)(0)

Anonymous

Hull isn’t an ex-poly though?

(1)(1)

Anonymous

Waiting on legal cheek to steal the RIG exclusive on Lord Harley being prosecuted for fraud…

(7)(1)

Anonymous

“from a skyscraper in central Europe”

Is that in Austria? Czech? or Germany?

(5)(0)

Please and thank you

Can we stop referring to White Shoe, BigLaw, US firms etc as “Money Law”? It makes me want to puke in my mouth.

(39)(0)

Alex from LC

Hush now, I came up with that.

(4)(4)

Anonymous

This page is awash with students who think the status of the university they attend gives them a god given right to look down on others in perpetuity.

In reality those of us who have actually qualified know that where you studied is not that important and diminishes over time. By the time you’re 2PQE nobody cares and recruitment is based solely on what you have done since you qualified.

(24)(0)

Anonymous

Agreed. I am ex-Poly, working now as General Counsel at an offshore Regulatory body. It needs a combination of luck, careful planning and hard work. The most talented students at my Poly have variously become partners in medium sized firms, successful barristers (including a QC who heads his Chambers) and a full time judge. I have supervised 8 pupils, all very high calibre, Oxbridge or Russell Group Uni grads who have excelled in the profession, and the brightest of the former Poly students are equally bright and have done equally well post qualification. Having said that, I would estimate that 75% of the Poly intake in my year would struggle to achieve even a 2:2 and would not be capable of holding a position in a firm or at he Bar.

My advice? You need to achieve at least a 2:1 in your degree. You need to be very flexible in your approach and play the long game. If you can get a TC with a small firm, the Government Legal Service, a local authority or even the CPS, GRAB IT. You can reconsider your options 2 or 3 years post qualification and it is possible to move to in-house, a MC firm or elsewhere if you are hard working and present as a credible candidate. If you cant get a TC or pupillage, there are always lots of paralegal posts in London with big litigation firms. If you work hard and stand out as reliable an credible, the opportunity will present itself.

(9)(1)

Anonymous

I’m sorry, but Womble Bond Dickinson is not a MoneyLaw US firm.

(9)(0)

Anonymous

BULLSHIT WE PAY £150k NQ BUT KEEP IT A SECRET SO NO MUPPETS APPLY. XOXO

(4)(0)

Anonymous

It’s a top US oufit. Money law or not, it’s the brand which counts.

(2)(2)

Baboon

Still wouldn’t get in at DWF.

And in all honesty – the above article sounds as thought it’s made up. Not the content re getting into a ‘big law firm’ but the way it’s written. It’s like a parody.

(8)(1)

Anonymous

Hater

(0)(1)

Anonymous

It’s impossible.

(0)(3)

The backroom interview couch

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

(2)(5)

Anonymous

Pervert

(12)(0)

Anonymous

You are a pervert and a loser – you do not actually do this casting, you only would like to. In reality, this casting was done on you in exchange for a chance at a meaningless recruitment role.

(5)(0)

Anonymous

Great piece and definitely possible. In fact I have taken a similar path. It’s hard work and you have to play the game and make the right moves but if you’re ambitious and motivated it’s perfectly do able. We need more articles like this to dispel the myth that top law is full of oxbridge

Haaaamburger

(1)(0)

Anonymous

OP sounds like they have a chip on their shoulder

Also, outliers etc

(1)(0)

Anonymous

If it is a true story then someone within that firm has helped. Maybe there are a few who have joined a US law firm who are in the know, but as a legal recruiter with 20 years experience in the London market generally this is impossible.

(0)(5)

Anonymous

Bullshit – times are changing buddying. If it didn’t mean doxing myself I could easily name 10/15 friends from non-Russell Group/Ex-Poly Universities with TCs in the City.

(3)(0)

Anonymous

I work at a US firm and there are loads of people from smaller and/or the bigger regional firms . You clearly don’t have much experience

(1)(0)

Anonymous

Amazing how many aspiring lawyers here are interested solely in money. It explains why most people have a negative view of lawyers in general.

(0)(0)

Comments are closed.