Has Law student DD scuppered her work experience chance?

(24 Posts)
itaintwhatyoudo Mon 23-Oct-17 13:32:09

She's worked really hard and done lots of mooting, firm visits and appropriate trips but massively messed up one her end of year exams and only got a 2.2 overall. She's really applying herself and thinks that a 2.1 is possible this year.
Thing is, she's now applying for summer work experience schemes and is worried that she won't even get an interview because of one exam result.
Her other results have been ok, As at A level and mid to late 60s in other papers.
We're aware how cut throat this business is and would value any opinions. Thank you.

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sassymuffin Mon 23-Oct-17 13:47:32

Can I ask what area of law would she like to work in? ie Barrister / Corporate / Family etc.

itaintwhatyoudo Mon 23-Oct-17 13:53:05

Corporate is the current plan. Silver circle (which means nothing to me)

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sassymuffin Mon 23-Oct-17 14:17:28

Ok, my DD has just finished all of her corporate vac schemes and has a TC with a US law firm in the city. For her selected firms she was expected to have achieved a 2.1 first year to get past the first round of interviews but this is by no means a hard and fast rule. If she checks on each firms website for information it will usually tell her the minimum requirements needed.

A friend of DD's also got a 2.2 in their first year and was unable to secure a vac scheme however they achieved a 2.1 at the end of second year they directly applied for a training contract in third year and were successful and received an offer with a silver circle firm. During their second year they did a few unpaid work experience placements at regional firms and were very active in the university law society.

She should definitely still apply to the vac schemes as she has nothing lose and may well be successful.

BubblesBuddy Mon 23-Oct-17 14:18:25

The silver circle is a group of law firms below the magic circle who are the top flight firms in the City. Look at Chambers Student guide on line for a description. It’s really about quality of work and earnings for partners.

Her chances won’t be all about one grade but I think she will be on the back foot and may have to be more realistic as the world and his wife apply for these vac schemes.

The university she goes to will also make a difference and how she does in any selection tests. Unless any recruitment partner from a silver circle firm replies, it’s difficut to tell if she will get shortlisted or not. They are highly selective and get plenty of high graded students applying. It is very very competitive. She does need plan B.

There are other things she can do to get more on her cv. Get work experience anywhere she can in a legal sense. A local firm, CAB and drop in advice centres.

Everything you mention so far is standard stuff and nothing she has done for herself. She will need to have a real push at the academics but getting a better cv is pretty important. Is she now in her final year?

sassymuffin Mon 23-Oct-17 14:56:57

Excellent advice from Bubbles

Some city vac schemes have 1000's of applicants. Stages of application could be as follows -

The initial application, it must be individual to that firm and well thought out. She should spend at least a few days on it. Never cut copy and paste from applications made to different firms as many a person has come a cropper this way - you will always get people who spend an hour on the application and miraculously make it through, but why take the chance.

She may be asked to sit a critical thinking test of some kind. Watson Glaser practice tests are available online.

A Skype interview with a computer giving automated questions and allowing timed answers are becoming more popular.

Then finally an interview or maybe an invite to an assessment centre which will incorporate tasks and interviews. An ability to demonstrate commercial awareness is expected as is an explanation as to why you wish to apply to that specific firm. Its always good to have a few questions for them also.

Good luck to your DD

goodbyestranger Mon 23-Oct-17 15:05:56

Two of my DDs did several Magic Circle vac schemes recently.

Agree with the above comments but also: what were her individual marks in the other subjects? I would say crashing in one (provided it's not eg Contract) would be ok provided she got very high 2.1s or 1sts in the other exams. In fact if there's a massive disparity I would say that would be better than bubbling along the 2.1 boundary in all three.

Some weight might very well be placed on which uni she attends also.


Bluntness100 Mon 23-Oct-17 15:06:27

It’s really tough to get one of these placements, and this will make it more difficult for her, but possibly her extra curricular activities will help balance it.

Is she in her second or third year? I’d maybe advise not to just apply to silver circle but widen her applications, to improve her chances. She can also do a lot of other things to ensure she has a full cv.

itaintwhatyoudo Mon 23-Oct-17 16:29:45

Thank you so much for the advice.

She's in the third year of a four year course at a Russell Group Uni.The LLB finishes at the end of this year with a year abroad next, but the LLB finishes this year hence the hope to get experience in the summer.

She's got an active role in one of the Law Societies and done lots of extra curriculum things, although it sounds like this is the norm

I'll pass on your information and thanks again.

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itaintwhatyoudo Mon 23-Oct-17 16:39:35

Sorry, awful phrasingblush

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goodbyestranger Mon 23-Oct-17 20:05:51

OP does this mean she has a year doing a language or law in a foreign language because that makes her application potentially more competitive.

I'd just go for it, as sassy says. It's not that competitive to get a vac scheme place actually, although it's undeniably competitive to then bag a TC.

Good luck to your DD.

itaintwhatyoudo Mon 23-Oct-17 20:10:26

Law in another language goodbye, the course was chosen before Brexit.

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GardenGeek Mon 23-Oct-17 20:15:23

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MovingOnUpMovingOnOut Mon 23-Oct-17 20:19:32

I recruit in this field. The 2:2 will make a minimal difference and wouldn't rule her out of any of the firms I work with but they are highly competitive and a decade few years behind other grad employers in terms of diversity so they will expect some relevant work experience, positions of leadership and responsibility etc etc but mostly they want to know how she'll fit in with them. They are also looking for predicted degree results and many Vac schemes don't close until Spring so there's time to pull her grade average up.

Tip: she needs to know the firm she's applying to inside out and be able to relate her knowledge, skills and experience to what they are looking for not the other way round (i.e. not I can do x and I see you do y which is similar so I'll talk about that. She needs to start with y and then find examples).

She also needs to articulate why she would be an asset to them, not why she likes them because of what they can do.

Also make sure she takes time on her applications and has answered the actual question asked - not necessarily the ones she was expecting or wanted. That goes double for interviews.

Proof read her applications for her. Even one typo or spelling mistake will see her marked down or rejected.

Is she involved with Aspiring Solicitors? She should also attend as many open days for the firms she wants as possible and network. A referral or contact at a firm can make a big difference when applying (see comments about diversity above).

goodbyestranger Mon 23-Oct-17 20:30:48

MovingOnUp I don't see how you can improve on Prelims results. Once they're done, they're done.

From what you say I assume you recruit at a later stage rather than for vac schemes and TCs as you talk about working with firms, plural.

OP my DC and their contemporaries (who almost all applied for vac schemes even if heading for the Bar) did not 'network' - the firms came to the unis and wined the students and dined them, often lavishly. It's the firms who do the running. Contacts are not in any way necessary. Merit is a good idea, and mooting, and active participation in law societies and representation units but nepotism is not, and could backfire horribly. Steer clear!

goodbyestranger Mon 23-Oct-17 20:34:54

Law in another language is a very big plus OP - major on that!

MovingOnUpMovingOnOut Mon 23-Oct-17 20:36:49

Nope I meant what I wrote smile I recruit for Vacation schemes and TC. I'm not in house hence plural firms and I speak from direct experience.

Unless I've misunderstood what the op wrote her dd has just begun her third year?? So should have some time to influence her results.

itaintwhatyoudo Mon 23-Oct-17 20:40:26

A big thank you, I'm reporting everything I'm reading.
Yes, just started 3rd year.
I've sent her a link to Aspiring Solicitors, not sure if she's their target audience but she did attend a state school.

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goodbyestranger Mon 23-Oct-17 20:51:58

Oh ok apologies MovingOn it sounded like you recruited later on. My DC doing Magic Circle applications have always dealt with in house assessors (as did I, ages ago) and all the wining, dining etc and all correspondence and interviews have always been with in house personnel.

goodbyestranger Mon 23-Oct-17 21:00:59

OP I'm a bit confused about when her final degree will be awarded. At Oxford they do the year abroad in their third year and take their Finals at the end of the fourth. There are no exams between the second term of first year and the end of the fourth year. I think, re-reading your post, that the exams you're talking about are your DD's second year exams, not first year. If so, how did she do in first year? It might be useful if she shone in those to flag them up too. But does she get her final degree classification in the summer of 2018?

itaintwhatyoudo Mon 23-Oct-17 21:06:05

It's quite a niche course and don't want to be too outing. Final result will be summer 19. Please don't think I'm being rude, I'm finding this all terribly helpful.
2:1 first year, 2:2 second year.

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MovingOnUpMovingOnOut Mon 23-Oct-17 21:10:44

I don't get to do any of the fun stuff. I'm very much hired help wink

I do get to observe a lot including the difference between the public face and the reality though. It also seems to have become a lot harder in recent years to get a place on a vacation scheme or a TC.

I think it's going in the right direction but it's moving more slowly than some other industries.

MovingOnUpMovingOnOut Mon 23-Oct-17 21:19:37

One thing I would say as a general graduate recruitment point, is don't be tempted to move the grade up. So if it's looking like a 2:2 say 2:2 and don't hope it'll end up as a 2:1 and put that optimistically.

Some firms (and not just law) have been known to rescind graduate job offers made to interns if they don't get their original grade.

Best to avoid that if possible because while that's playing out the opportunity to apply to other firms and industries is missed.

But ultimately all is not lost smile

goodbyestranger Mon 23-Oct-17 22:59:37

OP I don't think you're in the least rude.

Hmm. I think that focussing as much as possible in the letter of application on all the other stuff she's done and on her law in another country/ language is the way to go. Her tutors will have to give references and a prediction but that's in their gift, not hers, though presumably they'll predict her a 2.1. I completely agree that she can't falsify the second year results but just focus elsewhere, big time.

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