Recruitment by professionals, for professionals

Just Left Law School?

LOOKING FOR A TRAINING CONTRACT?

HOPING FOR A STARTER ROLE AS A PARALEGAL?

We are often approached by students looking for starter-level positions or hoping to obtain a training contract.  The honest truth?  We can’t help you.  Firms will not usually engage a recruitment agency to source staff for these junior roles; it’s not financially viable for them to do so.   However, we are more than happy to offer you the benefit of our advice.

Where to start?

The Law Society website is a great starting point.  Use the Find a Solicitor search tool to search for law firms by geographical location or area of practice.

When you’ve found a firm that looks promising, look at its website.  Most firms will have a page of vacancies.

Top Tip
If the firm doesn’t have a dedicated page for careers and vacancies, look right down at the bottom of the first page of the webpage.  Very often you will find a link to careers or vacancies (or training contracts) hidden away in the “small print”.

If there are no positions being advertised, you can always submit a speculative CV.  You might just be lucky and your CV arrives the day someone leaves.  Law firms do sometimes keep very good CVs on file, and it’s worth a shot!

Look at a firm located ‘off the beaten track’. There are some fantastic small and regional firms located outside of the major cities that often struggle to recruit good candidates.  There is an awful lot to be said for being a big fish in a small pond. A paralegal role with a firm on, say, the Cornish coast is much more likely to lead to a training contract than in the competitive markets of, say, London, Manchester or Birmingham.

Look on the job boards at the law libraries and also – if you have access to them – places like the Law Society notice board or the Middle Temple office noticeboard.  There are often casual vacancies advertised here, surprisingly – a postcard looking for a paralegal to come in for a short contract to do some document review, something like that.  It’s all good networking fodder!

Legal publications, obviously – The Law Gazette, The Lawyer.

Search the specialist job boards. Lawcareers.net is an excellent resource with new paralegal and junior roles being advertised daily and offers lots of additional information and advice

I’VE FOUND A GREAT JOB!
What do I do now?

Once you’ve found a role being advertised that you would like to apply for, prepare your CV.  We have a fantastic pdf for you to download that will help you get your CV in tip-top condition.

Top Tip
Recruiters and potential employers will probably look you up on your Linked-In and facebook pages.  You might just want to make sure that what you’ve put on your social media pages agrees with what you’ve put on your CV!

Last but not least - the inside story

Here’s a bit of insider information that might help you.  One of our administrators worked for a very well-known top London libel firm.  Part of her role was to sift through the CVs that arrived in response to a job vacancy for a paralegal – more than 300 of them by Friday morning.  Did she read them all?  Er – no!  She had an hour to go through them before going to court.

So: the ones that were written on file paper went straight in the bin.  The ones that didn’t spell her name properly on the envelope went straight in the bin.  The ones that had her name but started “Dear Sir” went straight in the bin… you get the picture.   By this method she whittled down the 300 to about 50.

Of those 50, she threw away the ones that were written in complex legal jargon, then she threw away the ones that started, “X has an unrivalled knowledge of the CPR and a vast knowledge of libel law” (muttering to herself, ‘well then, why do you want a job doing the filing and making the coffee?’) and in this way reduced the 50 to about 25.  By chucking away the ones with spelling mistakes and typos and the inability to use an apostrophe correctly, she reduced the list to ten.

She skim-read those ten and chose two that she thought might appeal to the boss.

The first was written by hand in old-fashioned pen and ink in amusing rhyming couplets.  What was clear was that this candidate not only had the ability to use perfect grammar with no spelling or punctuation mistakes, but also possessed a creative, witty attitude and a willingness to take risks.

The second candidate had composed a beautifully-presented, informative letter, perfectly set-out and accompanied by an easy-to-read CV.  This candidate did not have outstanding A levels or an impressive list of accomplishments or volunteer roles. But what his letter demonstrated was his ability to convey complex information in an easily-understandable format, his excellent attention to detail and his proof-reading skills.

Which candidate got a job?  Both, actually!

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