HSF trainee quits mid-TC to sell application advice online

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By Legal Cheek on

35

Firm declines to comment


A Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF) trainee has left the firm midway through his training contract to go full-time selling application advice to students.

Yan-Kelvin Monney, who was a second-year trainee at HSF before leaving in March of this year, is the founder of Mindfull Learning, an online education business he founded in 2020, about three years before joining the City outfit.

HSF declined to comment on whether it was aware that one of its former trainees was selling application advice through an online business during his training contract.

Monney is the sole director of the business, which offers a range of tutoring services, summer school programmes, and various PDF resources for those pursuing careers as City lawyers.

A screenshot from the Mindfull Learning website

The resources, first reported on by RollOnFriday, range from £29.99 to £69.99, offering comprehensive guidance on vacation scheme and training contract applications, assessment centers, and interviews for leading City law firms such as Clifford Chance, Hogan Lovells, Macfarlanes, and Travers Smith.

The website states that the resources are created with contributions from hundreds of future trainee solicitors and legal professionals, and features a range of glowing endorsements from current trainees at top firms.

What remains unclear is what HSF knew about the former trainee’s side hustle.

A firm spokesperson declined to say whether it was aware that he was selling these guides after accepting a TC or during his time at the firm, or if they endorsed the business model. They also remained tight-lipped on why Monney had left the firm, where trainees earn £105,000 across their two year training contract.

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And while many will celebrate Monney entrepreneurial get-go, others have questioned whether it’s appropriate to charge law students for careers advice.

One aspiring solicitor told us that while the guides may provide an understanding of what a successful application looks like, the business is “arguably profiting from students during an already stressful period”.

“Charging up to £69.99 for these guides negatively impacts the steps forward the industry has taken — and will leave socially mobile students feeling disadvantaged and deflated,” they added.

Another future trainee solicitor told us “something like this might be a good jumping off point for those who don’t know where to start with vac scheme and TC applications”, but that students “need to be careful about how much they take from and rely on such a resource, because exemplars can only take one so far”.

Monney isn’t the first, and likely won’t be the last, to turn application advice into a business venture. Legal Cheek has previously reported that trainees and even qualified associates from Magic Circle and US firms have sold careers advice through platforms like Gumtree, while similar services to Monney’s are also being promoted on online.

Monney didn’t respond to Legal Cheek’s request for comment.

35 Comments

Anonymous

Entrepreneurial and exploitative in equal measure. Publishing firm logos on the covers of those guides is also incredibly bold (daft) – can’t imagine they will be there for long once the firms catch wind.

Why?

Why take advice about college from a college dropout?

Why take advice about a marathon from someone who quit at mile 7?

Anonymous

Those are illogical comparisons. Logically, you should ask: why take advice on how to get into college from a college dropout? Or why take advice about a marathon from someone who was able to get into a marathon? I think the answer is clearer when phrased like this.

Hazza

Alternatively, it could be asked:

Why take advice on how to get into college from someone who fluked their way in with a terrible application riddled with typos who dropped out?

Geography Pedant

Good idea to put a picture of the Empire State Building on a UK focussed material.

Monney walks

There are so many free, high-quality resources out there that this seems both exploitative and redundant. There are multiple employability organisations and websites that give great, free advice to aspiring solicitors, and charging people for this is unsavoury to say the least. I have personally mentored and continue to mentor multiple students through employability organisations, including reviewing their applications and practicing interview answers with them, and I would never dream of taking advantage of hopeful students charging for this. It may be “entrepreneurial”, but it is also exploitative and distasteful.

Also, have you seen some of the examples of the application answers in his guides? They have multiple typos, one focusses on namedropping every single firm member from a panel event instead of saying anything insightful or substantive, and the overall quality is sub-par. If these are supposed to be examples of successful application answers then those candidates must have had exceptional grades and extracurriculars because those answers are terrible.

Thanks

Please share these organisations and websites to encourage people to check out these resources before buying from Monney.

To name but a few

SEO London
Aspiring Solicitors
Future City Lawyers
STRIVE
Rare Recruitment
upReach
Bright Network
The Corporate Law Academy
The Mentors Collective

Robert

Just to add to the list, if you’re disabled by all means contact us at City Disabilities https://citydisabilities.org.uk/ for advice and help on applications. We are independent, our advice is free and we have people with disabilities with experience from both sides of the interview table. Apologies for the plug!

Dani

Fair play to the lad. Some people need to get off of their moral high horse and chill the f*ck out LOL.

Anon

Sadly, desperate people will buy from Monney.

Decayeser

Something went down. What quite during during your TC? Surely much more valuable qualified… this business model can’t last too long

anon

Search his Linkdln, the guy is property investor too, I assume he just found better avenues, good for him

What’s the issue?

What’s the issue here though? He’s clearly found the path of being an entrepreneur more suited to him ..he’s not forcing people to buy his books.

X

Stop the hate and get ya money up

Anon

Unsurprising. I did the LPC with him. I’ll say no more.

Investment Banker

TCLA is the best resource available to get a training contract. This one isn’t half as good.

Luke

I’ve just checked them out. £60 a month for the gold package? Are students actually paying this? There’s plenty of great, FREE resources out there!

Future MC Trainee

I’m a future trainee at a MC firm, and I swear by TCLA. Super helpful materials, which I believe greatly enhances an applicant’s knowledge of commercial law firms, the application process etc. At least it did for me. Do you NEED TCLA? No. But would it help? Definitely. I never got the gold package, only the cheaper bronze package – and that was (and should still be) more than enough imo.

Future MC

I also am a future MC trainee. Never paid a penny for any online resource packages. Do your own research. you want to arrive and impress your interviewer which is difficult when you’re regurgitating someone else’s ideas

Fourth seat Trainee

Totally agree. TCLA was instrumental in helping me secure my TC. I didn’t even subscribe for a premium membership. They have a lot of free resources, and you can use the community forum.

anona

There are an ample amount of free resources for students applying to firms today. But there will always be those who will want to go above and beyond to try and get an edge and always those who will see an opportunity and make money from it.

It’s wishful thinking to think that a highly competitive career that has some 24 year olds earning £180,000 won’t have students willing to do/pay whatever they need to get an edge. Spin-off businesses making money off it is a given. Those in favour of removing that competition should also be questioning the ethics of City law as a whole.

He who comes into equity must come with clean hands, or something like that…..

(Save Your) Monney

Having seen a sample of the guides, you’re better off using ChatGPT for free. For a start, if you’re paying £50, the guide shouldn’t be riddled with typos…

Anonymous

The sample guide looks like the application of a candidate who fluked their way into a TC and couldn’t hack it

Hatewatch

You people are so bitter, no wonder London is such a cynical and depressing place. Get your funds up and stop hating on a guy who’s doing well for himself, having found business opportunities and leaving the corporate world. The coping reeks of envy and insecurity

Jon

Do you think someone leaving their TC is doing well for themselves?

Give it a rest love

Ur billing 2000 hours while Yan is making a mil

You loser, you think that a career in law is better than property investment/having your own business and making a mil off that? You won’t touch a mil until your 50s or 60s in law and that’s if you even last in big law til that time

1234

At least he is doing something positive with his life, better than the majority of people his age. get of your high horse and leave the lad alone

Annonnonn

This guy’s no fool – he’ll have run the numbers and realised that there is now a frankly preposterous surplus of law grads all applying for City TCs, most with little hope of success but gullible/desperate enough to purchase these dodgy guides.

Good money spinner for a few years then shut up shop – I imagine around 2% of people who pay for one of his guides will actually get a TC (and they’ll be the ones who would’ve got one anyway).

Sharky

Get a load of this guy lmaoo.

Seems like all the monney defenders are Rich Dad Poor Dad enthusiasts

Aaa

I mean if he’s smart enough to get a TC, I’m sure he’s looked at the pros and cons and realised he could probs do well for himself commercially without having to do a TC

Olli

People fluke their way into TCs all the time.

Doesn’t mean anything

lol

Okay crystal ball if all knowledge, quite a fluke to pass one of the most competitive industries when some ppl at Oxbridge with firsts can’t get a look in

Haters make me laugh loool

Good life

“If they hate then let them hate and watch the money pile up” 🎵

Milk

“RRP: £260

Offering Price: £29.99 (£2.30 per cover letter/applications answers)

Savings: 88.5%”

Aside from the appalling spelling and grammar across that website, this seems to be a clear breach of the ASA’s advertising code.

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