Just starting your legal career?
We work with firms offering training contracts as well as those offering paralegal positions with the potential to lead onto training contracts. These positions are highly sought after and competitive. We are happy to offer you the benefit of our advice and experience on how to search for an appropriate contract.
Here's some of our top job search tips ...
- Do some research: 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 their website. Most firms will have a page of vacancies. If the firm does not 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”.
- Be pro active: Even if there are no relevant positions or vacancies advertised, you can always submit a speculative CV. Law firms do sometimes keep very good CV's on file, so it’s worth a shot!
- Think outside box: Look at firms or companies located outside of big cities. There are some fantastic small and regional firms located outside of major city centres that often struggle to recruit good candidates. Roles in these kinds of organisations can offer a breadth of experience. For instance, a paralegal role with a firm on, say, the Cornish coast is more likely to lead to a training contract than perhaps the competitive markets in London, Manchester or Birmingham.
- Keep your eyes open: Look on the job boards at the libraries and also places such as the Law Society notice board or the Middle Temple office noticeboard. There are often casual, short term vacancies advertised in these places which could be your way in and build your network.
- Regular reviews and reads: Keep on top of roles being posted in legal publications such as the Law Gazette and The Lawyer and on specialist job boards. Lawcareers.net is an excellent resource with new paralegal and junior roles being advertised daily and providing lots of additional information and advice.
Once you have identified a role...What next?
- Get your house in order: Once you have found a role you to which you would like to apply, prepare your CV. We have a created a pdf for you to download to help get your CV in tip-top condition. [download CV tips]
- Check your socials: Recruiters and potential employers will probably look you up on social media feeds, particularly Linkedin. Take a look through and audit these to make sure the content is in line with your CV!
Getting past the gatekeeper... an inside story
One of our team worked for a well-known top London libel firm. Part of her role was to sift through the CV's that arrived in response to job vacancies for a paralegal. There would typically by several hundred applications for such a role. For one particular vacancy she had one hour to to whittle down 300 CV's.
So, how did she do this?
- Cover letters written on file paper went straight in the bin.
- Those that didn’t spell her name correctly on the envelope went straight in the bin.
- Those that her name correct on the envelope but the cover letter started “Dear Sir” went straight in the bin.
By this method she whittled down the 300 to about 50.
Of those 50, those written in complex legal jargon or started, “X has an unrivalled knowledge of the CPR and a vast knowledge of libel law” were thrown away. A lot of paralegal work involves filing and managing basic admin tasks so this approach is a mismatch.
In this way the list was reduced from 50 to about 25. By then getting rid of those with spelling mistakes, typos and the inability to use an apostrophe correctly, she reduced the list to 10.
She skim-read those 10 and chose two that might appeal to the boss.
- The first was written by hand in old-fashioned pen and ink in amusing rhyming couplets. This showed the candidate could use perfect grammar, but also possessed a creative, witty attitude and a willingness to take risks.
- The second candidate had composed a well-presented, informative letter, well laid-out with an easy-to-read CV. This candidate did not have outstanding A levels or an impressive list of accomplishments or volunteer roles. But his letter demonstrated his ability to convey complex information in an easily-understandable format with strong attention to detail and proof-reading skills.
Which candidate got the job? Both, actually!