Advice

I was rejected for a training contract by my ‘dream’ US firm — should I reapply?

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51

I reached the final interview stage

In the latest instalment in our Career Conundrums series, one training contract hopeful questions whether it’s worth reapplying to a firm that rejected him at the final interview stage.

“Around January this year I made it to the final round interview at my dream firm (somebody say MoneyLaw?). However, me being me, I flopped tremendously. Together with my other rejections, this meant that the 2017-18 cycle left me with the square root of f*** all with regard to TC offers. With the 2018-19 cycle now approaching, is it worth me reapplying to said firm? Or will the HR people simply recognise my app and issue me a PFO? My CV won’t have changed too much in the months between applications, other than having achieved the prerequisite decent 2.1 from a decent university.

I feel fairly confident I’ve learnt from my failures at interview, but I’d be unsure about altering my cover letter/online answers given that they were previously successful. Or would HR just see reusing these as a cheap trick? Any comments appreciated – back to pulling pints until then. N.B. I’m a non-Law grad, but can’t imagine the whole SQE thing will have much bearing on the outcome of my applications.”

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51 Comments

Anonymous

Ok honest comment here – I was rejected by my current (US) firm for a vacation scheme but reapplied for TC and got it. My mate had the same experience with his current (English) firm.

It all depends on how disorganised the HR team at a given firm is and whether they keep a log of past candidates.

(31)(0)

Anonymous

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

(2)(11)

AJC

If you can’t make a constructive comment, why don’t you just keep quiet?

(8)(1)

Anonymous

Who put you in charge, AJC?

(2)(6)

Anonymous

Always worth asking the firm’s HR department. Those that will re-consider you or not will be open and honest about it (from what I have heard over the last few years).

good luck! =)

(6)(2)

Anonymous

Some firm’s even say on their website graduate recruitment FAQs, and if you have a feedback call, ask them then!

(5)(0)

Anonymous

“firms” moron.

(2)(9)

Anonymous

Good bit of advice here about contacting HR. Even if they don’t notice, the people at interview stage are likely to. It is definitely doable. I was rejected by a set of chambers and applied there the following year and got an interview.

Their first question was “what has changed since last year?”, so don’t reuse the cover letter or it will show that nothing has.

(5)(0)

Anonymous

US firms tend to have small grad recruitment teams (one person often), and usually a fairly limited pool of partners involved in the interviewing process, so the odds are you’ll be remembered unless there have been some staff changes.

I would ask yourself why you are so set on one firm at your level though. For all the PR bluff that firms put out, when you’re looking at similar types of firms they aren’t all that different. If your focus is on NQ salary then there are enough other “big money” options out there. I would however urge you to think more long term and try to train somewhere like Macfarlanes, Travers or the Magic Circle where you’ll get the top quality work but with structured and proper training. You can then always look to move down the line, as many people do. US firms can be awful places to train as I found myself, and if I had my time again I probably would consider these firms more seriously.

(20)(6)

Anonymous

I agree with this. Having worked on the recruitment side for a number of years UK firms offer better training as they have a lot more infrastructure and support. If you spend a few years at firms like the ones mentioned above (MC, Travers, Macfarlanes etc) it will be easier to switch to a US firm at a junior level.

(11)(2)

Larry

Cry me a river, build a bridge and GET OVER IT.

“Me being me” – are you resigned to the fact you’re a failure ALREADY? Good job they declined you.

Get your sh*t together or don’t bother applying there again, or elsewhere for that matter.

Pulling pints? Be a bit more creative. There are loads of other jobs out there.

Get ON IT. By that I mean career wise, I’m not saying you should get on the booze/drugs.

(19)(11)

Anonymous

Piss off Larry.

(7)(2)

Frodo Baggins

Recipe to get ‘ON IT’

1) Look at the bigger picture – very strange to desire a firm so badly when only making applications. As previously said you probably shan’t actually know what the culture is like.

2) Stop pulling pints. Get a more interesting job. Take the opportunity to add to your cv. Go work in a call center, graft, get a promotion, and land yourself a job title in ‘management’ (in an office environment).

3) 2:1 in a non-law degree MAY not cut the mustard for you. Yes you could get a tc, but will be easier with evidence of greater academic prowess. Maybe opt for a masters – get a distinction, nothing less. Especially if you are applying for a ‘top whack big boi dolla bill’ us firm.

4) As Larry mentioned, leave comments like ‘me being me’ out. Eradicate them from your personality. Not helpful. Humility is attractive. Self deprecating manor-isms are not.

5) When you get to the AC / interview again, just be authentic. Openly acknowledge if you cannot provide an answer to technical questions. Be nice to everyone, but if someone is chatting bollocks in a group exercise say so. Do not over prepare, do not script. Act like yourself, and if you are right for the firm they will hire you.

Good luck

(11)(2)

Aunt Karen - Agony Aunt

I know a made up question when I see one.

(13)(0)

Hussain

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

(1)(0)

Someone closer than you think!

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

(0)(0)

AJC

You are ill; seek treatment for the sake of us all.

(0)(2)

Bored

If they rejected you, they are not your dream firm. Go somewhere you are wanted, and then as you progress you can get the balance of salary, training and support you desire.

(8)(3)

Anonymous

The reference to “MoneyLaw” just screams made up.

(35)(0)

MC trainee

I was rejected for a vac scheme by my firm. I applied again the next year (direct for TC) and got it. Definitely apply again, there is no harm. Practice your interview technique in the meantime.

(5)(0)

Anonymous

VAC schemes generally get a higher number of applications than TCs, so not surprising.

(1)(0)

Anonymous

Honest comment, I got rejected by my US firm for a winter vac scheme and then given a TC the next cycle.

(4)(0)

Anonymous

Apply again as well as to a range of US Firms given all the wide options out there. Do in depth research and re edit your cover letter significantly. You can’t change grades and CV seems a bit too late but one thing you can change is cover letter so research interesting deals , the Tc structure at the firm, the firm’s global strategy etc etc to cite in cover letter to show full enthusiasm for the firm. There are many fish in the sea so doesn’t have to be this firm.

(2)(0)

Anonymous

Reapply dude

(0)(0)

Future MC trainee

Firstly, I would argue that there’s no downside and only upside if you decide to send your application in to them again. That’s if you feel the time spent doing another application isn’t too burdensome, but by the sounds of it you’d mostly work off your previous application. The advice given here already suggests you should speak to the HR department, which I think is helpful.

Lastly, I’d point out that what you may consider your ‘dream’ firm now may not actually turn out to be the case. I remember in second year I was rejected for a TC from my ‘dream’ MC firm after doing a vac scheme with them, but it later transpired none of the friends I made on the vac scheme also got a TC with them…making me question if I was ever going to be the right fit for them anyway. Now those friends and I are starting TC’s at similar firms and don’t regret a thing. Long story short, don’t put your eggs in one basket.

(7)(1)

Anonymous

Can you say ‘lastly’ when you make only 2 points?

(12)(1)

Anonymous

It’s the last point… therefore, “lastly”.

(0)(8)

Anonymous

Doesn’t sound right. Should just say ‘secondly’.

(1)(0)

Anonymous

One word for you broseph:

FILEX

(8)(1)

Executive Pedant

One acronym for you broseph:

FCILEx

(0)(5)

Anonymous

Executive Pedant – if you were true to your name you would have listed all the membership grades available under CFILEx (e.g. ACILEx & GCILEx).

Epic fail, brosephine.

(8)(0)

Anonymous

Don’t.

(2)(1)

US Associate

I would just focus on getting a good TC at the broad category of firm you want to work at (i.e. national, international, US, boutique). It’s hard to say from the outside whether any particular firm could be your “dream firm”. My experience of being a trainee and now an associate at two different US firms is that it’s very difficult to get a good insight into a firm’s culture and working environment unless you actually know people there. Perhaps you do in the case of this particular firm, but there are few truly unique firms in the City. If you want to apply again, fine, but make sure you apply to other firms also. You can always seek to move to your desired firm on or after qualification.

(4)(0)

Anon

Ask the GR team but the chances are they won’t put you through to the assessment stage again as you have already had a go at the exercises. Most places keep the same written, group ex etc for a few years so they aren’t going to let someone through who knows what they are!

(3)(0)

Stallonish

Cool story, bruh.

(1)(1)

Anonymous

It’s not a firm, it’s a ‘shop’. And all the trainees are MASSIVE ACHIEVERS. They’re not really proof reading or photocopying. Nah, they’re MAKING DEALS.

So try harder. And apply again. Because if you do anything else in life you will be a loser.

Or you could just get a TC elsewhere and stop believing all the bollocks written on here by halfwits who work at – or who pretend they work at – US ‘shops’, and who think they’re Masters of the Universe. Even though the clients laugh at the pathetic little toadies who can’t wipe their own arses without a partner nodding.

(14)(2)

Anonymous

The only way they would be able to recognise your application would be if you tick the box that says ‘have you previously applied to any position at X firm?’ If you select yes then your application will automatically be rejected.

If you select ‘no’ then your application will be processed as normal.

(0)(1)

Anonymous

Not always true. I admitted I’d applied before when applying for a direct TC with a MC firm, having been rejected post-AC for the vac scheme. I had a few things to add to my application and got the TC. It’s probably best to use a different email address if you want to say you haven’t applied before.

(1)(0)

Anonymous

I asked a MC grad recruiter this once- she said that they’d want to see what you’ve been doing over the last year. Development. And that you’ve been building on the feedback they gave you after the AC.

(0)(0)

Anonymous

I’m planning to apply for a handful of places I was rejected from pre-interviews last year. Is it worth doing seeing as they were pre-interview rejections? My apps were really quite poor reading them back, barely spent half a day on each of them.

Also, is it better to be honest and tick the “I’ve applied her before option” or does that automatically filter you usually? Some of the firm’s say they welcome repeat applicants as long as it’s not within the same cycle, so I’m sure they wouldn’t mind, but others don’t specify.

(1)(0)

Anonymous

If there is a box then tick it. If you don’t and they see then you’re in the reject pile for sure.

(0)(0)

Anonymous

tick the box and reapply. I know first-hand stories of people rejected (MC) who got in at the next round.
Personally, I’d go further and state why you think the outcome should be different this time: it shows you process failures and are really committed to the firm

(1)(0)

Anonymous

That’s the upsetting thing, I can see why my app was poor, I think I’ve developed a good amount since last year, and I really do like one specific firm, so I’m more invested in one application than I should be.

(0)(0)

doleboy

I interviewed for a few firms in 2015/16. I didn’t get my dream firm. I stopped applying for TC’s, lost momentum.

Can’t even get a good paralegal job. I have a 68% LLB from an elite University. Just working odd jobs here and there to pay rent.

If you want to build yourself a steady life, just apply for TC’s where there is more value. Apply for the less prestigious firms. Take a slightly less-well paid TC where the clients are less glamorous and the firms brand is less well known.

In reality, the brand of the firms name means fuck all. People self-fund LPC’s and struggle to get paralegal roles/TC’s anywhere.

I don’t regret my decision. Corporate law is not for me. I don’t even read LC anymore, just came to this thread to share my experience.

If you don’t go corporate, you might get ‘stranded’ from law. I don’t think i’m going to become a lawyer. In the areas I want to do law, i’m looking at self-funding my LPC, and working £14k a year as a paralegal for long hours for a few years, before doing a £20k TC. I’m not driven by money but I need to make rent.

(3)(11)

Weinstein

So dense. Did you sell rights to make a film about you yet? Rumours have it Spielberg is interested.

(1)(0)

Abused wimmin

You’re a devil.

(0)(0)

what was this elite university eh

tell us

(2)(0)

Old(ish) timer

Of course it is.

We don’t always get what we want first-time round. It took me many years of paralegalling on crap money before I qualified. I thought about quitting law altogether but then told myself to dig in and keep trying. There pep talk over. Get some feedback and come back better than before.

From an old millennial

(11)(0)

Anonymous

True fact – I’m an absolute G.

(0)(1)

Older and Wiser

Some of the comments here are seriously misguided. There’s a massive difference between (i) being rejected for an interview and applying again and (ii) having gone through the full recruitment process and been rejected.

These guys have met you and decided they don’t want you. You shouldn’t be discouraged, you did well to get to that stage, but this firm is not going to change it’s mind a year later.

If you want to train with a US shop, there are plenty about. K&E, Latham, Weil, Simpson, White & Case, Shearman etc, all of which will give you an equally good training experience.

(2)(1)

noor

I love wine country and since I live in Washington I’ve visited winey country here and in Oregon, plenty of times. The last time I was in Napa I was very young and would love to return as I really loved the landscape. Domaine Carneros is quite grand and I’d love to see the winery -Grgich Hills Estate- that put California wines on the map. I also like train rides and that would be such a fun way to taste wines and see the scenery pass by slowly.

(0)(0)

Comments are closed.