Advice

8 essentials for last-minute training contract applicants

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How to be smart and maximise your chances

On Tuesday users of Legal Cheek‘s iPhone app received the last and perhaps most important deadline alert of the graduate recruitment year — alerting them that in seven days time the 31 July training contract application deadline used by many law firms closes. Now that’s just six days away!

Not decided which firm to apply to? Don’t panic. Here are eight ways you can narrow down your choices and hopefully make that winning TC app.

1. Money

OK, so officially you’ve been fascinated by M&A since you were a child. But in reality a major part of what draws you to corporate law is basically the opportunity to earn lots of money. So you may as well go for the firms which pay most.

To find out that crucial information in the easiest way possible, go to our Firms Most List, select ‘Most Money’, and away you go. Currently the London offices of US firms Akin Gump, Kirkland & Ellis, Latham & Watkins and Milbank are the top payers — handing their newly qualified solicitors a whopping £145,000 a year (based on the latest US dollar conversions).

Note, though, by searching the List for ‘Most UK training contracts’, that these firms offer much fewer training contracts that many. So it’s worth balancing that quest for riches with applications to some firms with higher numbers of trainee places.

2. Average arrive and leave the office times

Next priority: how much time you’ll be expected to spend at work in return for all those corporate law megabucks.

In each of our firm profiles (which are accessible through the Firms Most List) we detail the average arrive time and average leave time of trainees and junior lawyers at the nation’s top firms. The figures are based on Legal Cheek’s annual survey of over 2,000 trainees and junior lawyers.

The earliest average arrive time is 8:24am (Hill Dickinson), the latest is 9:34am (Kirkland & Ellis). The earliest average leave time is 6:05pm (Browne Jacobson and Irwin Mitchell), the latest is 10:02pm (Kirkland & Ellis again).

For comparison purposes we have collected all the average arrive and leave times into a table.

3. Target hours

To get a further idea of what’s expected of you, check out firms’ official annual hours targets. To do this go to the Firms Most List and select ‘Most target hours’. Bear in mind that these are billable hours, not just hours spent in the office, and shouldn’t include things like going to the toilet or general admin. Anything over 1,700 is a lot.

4. Firm scorecards

The Insider Scorecard of the 2018 Legal Cheek Trainee and Junior Lawyer Firm of the Year, Osborne Clarke.

Which firms perform well in areas important to you?

Using the data from the Legal Cheek Trainee and Junior Lawyer Survey we rank firms A*-E on different categories: training, quality of work, peer support, partner approachability, work/life balance, tech, perks, office, canteen and social life. You can view each firms’ scorecard by accessing their profile through the Firms Most List.

The firms that came top in each category were revealed at the Legal Cheek Awards earlier this year.

5. The Legal Cheek View

Alongside the scorecards, each of our firm profiles features a ‘The Legal Cheek View’ section with detailed insider insight about the firms, based on our journalists’ in-depth market knowledge and the thousands of comments we receive — both via the survey and our comments threads — from trainees and junior lawyers at these firms.

6. International opportunities

Major law firms are great examples of globalisation, with offices all over the world doing huge cross-border deals. You can see just how international a firm is by searching ‘Most offices’ and ‘Most countries located in’ in our Firms Most List.

But, beware, a firm’s global megafirm status doesn’t always correspond with the chances rookies have of doing a coveted international secondment during their training contract.

We have used our survey data to paint a picture of how common international secondments are at each firm. The results are brought together here.

7. Diversity

Search our Firms Most List to find out who has the most female lawyers and the most lawyers from BME backgrounds. Then access the individual firm profiles to drill down into the diversity details. Where firms have shared the data with us, with have charted the proportion of trainees who attended Oxbridge, Russell Group and non-Russell Group institutions.

8. Retention rates

Finally, browse ‘Most retained trainees’ on the Most List to see which firms have the highest trainee retention rates. While retention rates can be misleading — particularly for smaller firms which can to see their figures thrown off by the departure of just one or two trainees — they are, generally speaking, a decent guide as to a firm’s health and the prospects you’ll have of getting a full-time position on qualification.

Now get applying! Good luck!

48 Comments

Anonymous

“Much fewer”

Is this meant to be ironic?

Surely people who write for a living can’t really be this bad.

(7)(5)

Anonymous

It’s clearly just Tommy using the LC pseudonym to avoid any more abuse for his diabolical writing .

(1)(2)

Solicitor who solicits

“many fewer”

(4)(0)

Anonymous

This list is beyond inane. You can do better than this, Tommy.

(11)(0)

Anonymous

Only about 17 people are paid £145,000 at NQ

I don’t know why they’re obsessing about it

(26)(0)

Anonymous

BUT WAIT. Don’t you see!?!? It’s MONEY LAW!! It’s happening NOW at a law firm near YOU!

(11)(0)

Anonymous

At least now when KK is gone there’s less “Diversity Cheek” and more what we all want, love and aspire to: MONEYLAW

Keep up the good work and remember to stay up to date with compensation increases across the city.

(11)(2)

Anonymous

ROFL

(1)(0)

Anonymous

Hear hear. And those who do get this NQ rate are working like utter dogs.

(6)(2)

Anonymous

How do you know?

(0)(1)

Anonymous

Because I know people who recently qualified in the 2017 intake at firms like Kirkland, Latham and Akin, all of whom are utterly beasted. 2am finishes a couple of times a week the norm.

(13)(3)

Anonymous

Not true. I have worked as a trainee and an NQ for a year on the UK side, and 2 years as a junior associate on the US side. I’ve worked less hours since moving if anything.

Anonymous

Which firm? You’re obviously lying.

Anonymous

Not every US firm and practice area are equal. The people I know who moved definitely work far worse hours than in the MC.

Anonymous

2am finish means poor organisation, it’s all about prioritising work and being efficient.

Anonymous

2am finish means you’re having see with the partner.

soon to be US NQ

All decent US firms have already upped to 145k. Memos have been circulated in the last few weeks. Basically anywhere c.Vault top 30.

(1)(3)

Anonymous

2 downvotes (and yes I am still at work)…guys, I was doing you a solid. I know for a fact that all Biglaw have matched Latham and Kirkland in London because they all compete for talent. I’m not talking about McDonald shops like Bakers.

(3)(0)

Big Dolla

True shout.

All those other ‘Moneylaw’ firms simpy haven’t announced their raises. In reality, they match Kirkland (or slightly under, depending on exchange rate policy).

(0)(0)

Anonymous

Yes. True. People are my shop were moaning for weeks that they could be paid more at x shop down the road, often the one they moved from. Their position is that they shouldn’t be paid a penny less than someone else doing the same job elsewhere.

Anonymous

This is complete and utter bunk. Quit lying you cretin.

(1)(0)

Future trainee baker

Would be good to see an article about how to get a training contract if you aren’t looking at the City and don’t have all these stats etc to fall back on.

(12)(1)

Corbyn. Sympathiser

This is such a student site

(9)(1)

Nayme

Yeah – as much as I hate to agree with a Corbynista, I realised this yesterday reading/commenting on articles where it’s clear that we’ve got a load of naivety and a general lack of self awareness flying about.

(2)(0)

oppidan

of course its a student site. nothing of value in the comments section

(1)(0)

Anonymous

This photograph is overtly sexist. You can do better than this legal cheek.

Consider removing.

(3)(11)

Anonymous

It’s a popular meme, you joyless PC-obsessed idiot.

(13)(0)

Anonymous

In know you’re a troll, but – how is it sexist? It’s staged, it’s a joke and it’s completely open to interpretation.

(4)(0)

Steven Seagull

In what way is it sexist? Is a man appreciating an attractive female sexist?

If it was a woman appreciating an attractive man would you also raise the complaint?

(3)(1)

Anonymous

Yes.

(0)(1)

Anonymous

Milbank does not pay £145,000 you morons.

(4)(3)

Anonymous

CMS offer good international secondment opportunities.

(5)(0)

Anonymous

Secondments to the downstairs boiler room?

(7)(1)

Anonymous

Nah – they just let you stand in Cannon Street station and judge people commuting in from Essex

(7)(0)

Anonymous

That’s a difficult task given that no trains from Essex go to Cannon Street…

(15)(0)

Anonymous

Don’t let the facts get in the way of a good joke

Steven Seagull

Is that where all the action happens?

(1)(0)

Anonymous

All kinds of action

(0)(0)

CMS Graduate Recruitment

Pick up your chopsticks for a bite to eat just round the corner from our Beijing office. Try putting on your bikini for seafront frolics near to our Rio de Janeiro office. Grab yourself a tequila after a day of work in our Mexico City office. There are many great opportunities at our firm. CMS is best.

(10)(0)

The Devil's Goldfish Bowl

The man considers his Loakes to be classy and expensive. He has a lot to learn.

(2)(0)

Anonymous

Perhaps the most important tip – If you’re serious about securing a training contract, don’t leave your application until a few days before the deadline.

(11)(2)

Future Trainee

I am a future trainee at DLA Piper in London, do you think if I work hard I can go to a US shop like Kirkland on qualification?

(4)(0)

Anonymous

if it is a serious question: yes, as I know a person who did. Then how easy or frequent it is, well that’s another question

(0)(0)

Anonymous

It helps if you have sex with relevant partners

(4)(0)

Anonymous

It’s probably a slim chance straight out.m qualification. Only a lucky few magic circle often get to lateral straight into big law out of training. But very possible If you work hard and carve out good experience and accomplishments in a high value practice area the big law firms are interested in or may have significant need at the time. I’d say maybe at 3 pqe you’d definitely have a strong chance to lateral to big law. Before then it’s a tough competitive market with other silver circle and even top Oxbridge magic circle who see the light and want to move to big law. So you’d have to really stand out. Don’t stop working hard, network with big law firms as much as you can and it can be nailed sooner than you think.

(4)(0)

AG Trainee

I am a future trainee at Addleshaw Goddard in London, do you think if I work hard I can go to a US shop like Kirkland on qualification?

(2)(1)

Anonymous

Become a trainee, become a slave, good bye life hello death.

(2)(0)

Anonymous

Hate to be the bearer of bad news, but most firms recruit on a rolling basis. They don’t wait until the deadline to start offering interviews etc. If you are applying this late, there is a good chance most of the spaces for the next round have already been filled.

(2)(0)

Comments are closed.

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