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Vlogging future City trainee solicitor reflects on magic circle vac scheme rejection

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Ali Obeid has since secured a TC with a top US law firm

A vlogging future City lawyer has opened up about how he dealt with rejection after “crumbling” during a magic circle vac scheme interview.

In his latest video (embedded below), incoming White & Case trainee Ali Obeid speaks candidly about his early struggles with securing vac schemes in hope that aspiring lawyers can learn from his experiences and change how “you perceive your L’s and rejections”.

In particular, Obeid explains that his “worst” rejection was for a magic circle vacation scheme. Despite spending his entire Christmas break preparing for the assessment centre, while balancing the demands of his political science and government degree at London School of Economics (LSE), Obeid reveals he “flopped” the case study interview with a senior associate and partner.

“You know when you’re asked a question by someone senior and you crumble. Your face gets red, it gets a bit hot. Your suit gets a bit tighter,” says Obeid. “That’s what I was pretty much experiencing whilst a partner was sitting right across from me, staring into my eyes, expecting a sufficient, above average answer. And I just wasn’t able to provide it.”

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He continues:

“And the senior associate was a very sweet guy. He was trying to throw some rope my way to pull me towards him and he was trying to give me some guidance. But that partner, man, she was harsh. And fair enough, it’s a top firm, they expect competent, intelligent students.”

According to Obeid, he then spent the hour-long commute home feeling emotional, battling with the “negative noise” in his head telling him to give up on his legal dreams. But later that night, Obeid chose to carry on. He say:

“I told myself, if I stop now, there’s no point in me continuing LSE. I’m just going to stop university. Because if I become the person who runs away when push comes to shove, what is the point in continuing anything?”

In the following months, with the help of his mentor, who is BAME and from a similar low socio-economic background, Obeid successfully secured vac schemes at Freshfields and White & Case. He later accepted a training contract with the US law firm.

Obeid’s advice follows a string of vlogs aimed at helping aspiring lawyers. In a recent video, for example, the trainee-to-be explained how he received £50,000 in financial support from his university. As reported by Legal Cheek, Obeid has also offered tips to secure vac schemes the “easy way”.

15 Comments

Nigel

Very strong beard and fade. A man to be taken seriously.

(50)(13)

Anon

What has the guy’s looks got to do with anything? So what if he has a beard and a fade?

(27)(11)

Nigel

A man who takes the time to respect himself in that way will no doubt take equal care to dispense quality legal advice to his clients. I typically tend to find that those who cannot get their own house in order cannot keep it together when the going gets tough.

(15)(12)

JT

He mentioned that he cuts his own hair now due to lockdown, he learnt from youtube in 3 weeks, maybe he should give us self-haircut tutorials and be less corporate

(10)(6)

BBC Commissioner

I respect anyone who finds good ways to cope with rejection but I swear, why does everyone and their dog feel the need to become a legal influencer and commission a six-part feature film about their rejections?

(132)(3)

Ferg

I guess it’s because the corporate industry feels so alien to many people, and speaking about something seen as stigmatised such as rejections can make the career look less alien. Not enough people (who actually end up getting the job) do this tbh

(47)(7)

Jack T

a future trainee at a decent firm from a comprehensive state school. He mentioned that he was on free school meals too. Kind of a breath of fresh air

(91)(3)

Lawyer

This is now very normal in city law. There are so many lawyers from ‘normal’ or humble average backgrounds. It’s really not as big a thing as everyone makes it out to be. All good for sharing experiences but to be honest, this guy hasn’t even started – he’s got a couple of rejections and secured a TC offer – great. But he hasn’t even started his TC, let alone qualified as a corporate lawyer. It’s funny how as soon as law students get a TC offer they feel the need to make videos and shout out to everyone as if they’ve done something nobody else has. Wait a few years until you’re a junior, look back, and then share the lessons learnt with the full picture. If you’re struggling to cope with one rejection after a vac scheme then i really hope you fix up for your TC because you’re going to need to deal with far worse pressure and stress.

(41)(27)

Stan

I don’t think you need to qualify as a lawyer to help people secure TCs though? I don’t see him make content about anything he hasn’t done before. But there are too many “legal bloggers” who havent secured tcs yet but talk a lot

(16)(1)

SAk

agree with all comments apart from there being a lot of people from humble / state school backgrounds. Don’t think is true tbh

(19)(2)

Sami

I respect this guy for publicly admitting his fails and how he overcame them… most future trainees have a fat ego but I appreciate the humility in this video.

(27)(1)

SJ

Tbh many people move from magic circle firms to US firms so he kind of skipped a step n saved time esp because the firm he’s joining already has so many ex-magic circle lawyers and a strong presence in London

(25)(4)

FartContracts

I really hate legal influencers but this guy I don’t mind

(39)(2)

MC Associate

Agreed. Good to see someone with real experience of getting vac schemes and a TC genuinely seeking to help others.

I’m astounded at how many law students feel they’re qualified to offer poor advice or meaningless platitudes to their peers on how to get into the profession, all because they can just about string a sentence together on LinkedIn or upload a photo of highlighters on Instagram…

(29)(1)

Trainee at MC

This guy is only 21 years old too, looks 30! Good advice, cuts the BS & he’s entertaining. I think we found a decent law vlogger

(17)(1)

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