Will my BTEC stop me getting a training contract with a top firm?

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‘Any help would be appreciated’

In the latest instalment in our Career Conundrums series, one aspiring lawyer is concerend his BTEC will prevent him securing a training contract with a “top firm”.

“Hi. I want to start by saying I’m kind of stuck in a weird situation. I’m doing a Level 3 BTEC National Extended Diploma in system support & networking. I’ve had a change of heart for the career that I want to pursue, and now want to go into law. I’m predicted D*D*D* (three distinction stars, and the equivalent to A*A*A* at A-Level in terms of UCAS points), and am able to get into the University of York for law. The issue is that I’m worried if my BTEC will hold me back in regards to getting a training contract with a top firm. Should I do the LLB? Would it be better if I did a different degree and then did the GDL? So many questions… Any help would be appreciated. Thank you.”

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First and foremost, a decent city law firm (inc magic circle but probably exc US) will look at:

(1) Quality of degree (2:1 or above);
(2) Degree subject (LLB obvs fine);
(3) Standard of university (York, also fine); and
(4) If all of the above are acceptable, then performance at interview/assessment centre/vac scheme

Whilst having a BTEC may be slightly hard for HR to compute, a good degree from a good uni will do their job for them. Worst case scenario, phone up HR in advance of submitting any application and say that you have a BTEC and what it corresponds to (in A-Level equivalency).

May actually be helpful in that a prior call will make your application standout (ie HR person assessing application may remember you) and also (cynically) if doing BTEC and from a non-public school background, HR may think this helps count towards their quotas.

Even so, 99% of city law firms generally only care if you are good enough. If you are, you are fine. 90% of firms then care whether you are a d*ck / socially incompetent.

You need a bit of luck getting a training contract, but once in the door, provided you’re good at your job and not a dick, your background is irrelevant.


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