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2020-21 Direct Training Contract Applications Discussion

Jacob Miller

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Future Trainee
Forum Team
  • Feb 15, 2020
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    Hi @Jessica Booker

    Grateful if you could help me out with this application/interview question.

    “Why do you want to be a lawyer?”

    My problem is that I’m already a foreign qualified lawyer😅 So how do I go about answering this question?

    Thanks 😊
    If I were in your shoes, I would really focus on the fact that you're already qualified in another jurisdiction and want to expand to English law. The question for you more becomes "why do you want to be a lawyer in this jurisdiction?" so it's really focussed on your motivations for dual-qualifying and the pull factors you have experienced which attract you towards practicing English commercial law.
     
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    Jessica Booker

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    Graduate Recruitment
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    Aug 1, 2019
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    Hi @Jessica Booker

    Grateful if you could help me out with this application/interview question.

    “Why do you want to be a lawyer?”

    My problem is that I’m already a foreign qualified lawyer😅 So how do I go about answering this question?

    Thanks 😊
    I think it’s still important to talk about why you chose your career path and what it is about a career in law that is for you. As @Jacob Miller has suggested, it’s probably a good opportunity to also state why you are willing to start a new legal career in the UK rather than continue to pursue being a qualified lawyer elsewhere - especially if it is a traditional training contract and not an SQE TC that would require you to go through the GDL/LPC.

    Depending how many years qualified you are in you home jurisdiction, explaining why you are wanting to basically start all over again, is quite an important point to try and cover somewhere in your application.
     

    Nadine_Alleear

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  • Jan 12, 2021
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    If I were in your shoes, I would really focus on the fact that you're already qualified in another jurisdiction and want to expand to English law. The question for you more becomes "why do you want to be a lawyer in this jurisdiction?" so it's really focussed on your motivations for dual-qualifying and the pull factors you have experienced which attract you towards practicing English commercial law.
    Hi Jacob,

    I should have probably mentioned this, but I did the BPTC in the UK but then undertook a year of pupillage in Mauritius and qualified in Mauritius. My whole legal background (except for pupillage which is a hybrid system of French and English common law) has been English law.

    Working as a barrister didn’t turn out to be what I expected. I found that working with solicitors was more fun and I prefer the client contact and the aspect of teamwork. I also find that the work here isn’t as challenging.

    I’m just not sure how to turn all that into an answer 😩
     
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    Nadine_Alleear

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  • Jan 12, 2021
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    I think it’s still important to talk about why you chose your career path and what it is about a career in law that is for you. As @Jacob Miller has suggested, it’s probably a good opportunity to also state why you are willing to start a new legal career in the UK rather than continue to pursue being a qualified lawyer elsewhere - especially if it is a traditional training contract and not an SQE TC that would require you to go through the GDL/LPC.

    Depending how many years qualified you are in you home jurisdiction, explaining why you are wanting to basically start all over again, is quite an important point to try and cover somewhere in your application.
    Thanks, Jessica. I think I can convey that better in writing in an application, but I find it harder to do when it is a timed VI. I just struggle with the structure and the fact that my story is a little different.

    I am a NQ barrister with just 6 months under my belt. I realised pretty early on during my pupillage at an international law firm that I didn’t think the job suited me that well. I’ve always wanted to be a lawyer since I was a child - I grew up in a poor country, surrounded by crime and that was what motivated me.

    However, due to the lack of exposure to the legal profession and poor career’s guidance I went down a route that wasn’t meant for me. Growing up, I drifted away from criminal law and found that I preferred commercial law so I qualified at a commercial international law firm in Mauritius. It was from my experience working at a law firm that I realised very early on that I wanted to be a solicitor instead of a barrister.

    lol sorry for the long story, but I just wanted both you and @Jacob Miller to have some context.
     

    Jaysen

    Founder, TCLA
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  • Feb 17, 2018
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    Thanks, Jessica. I think I can convey that better in writing in an application, but I find it harder to do when it is a timed VI. I just struggle with the structure and the fact that my story is a little different.

    I am a NQ barrister with just 6 months under my belt. I realised pretty early on during my pupillage at an international law firm that I didn’t think the job suited me that well. I’ve always wanted to be a lawyer since I was a child - I grew up in a poor country, surrounded by crime and that was what motivated me.

    However, due to the lack of exposure to the legal profession and poor career’s guidance I went down a route that wasn’t meant for me. Growing up, I drifted away from criminal law and found that I preferred commercial law so I qualified at a commercial international law firm in Mauritius. It was from my experience working at a law firm that I realised very early on that I wanted to be a solicitor instead of a barrister.

    lol sorry for the long story, but I just wanted both you and @Jacob Miller to have some context.
    Reading this, it sounds to me like you have plenty of compelling reasons to use:
    • Initial interest based on your background/upbringing (I think this is particularly unique, but I'd keep this brief)
    • What you prefer about being a UK solicitor rather than a barrister, based on your experiences so far (personally, I wouldn't labour the point about why you don't want to be a barrister anymore in your initial answer, this is something you can expand on when they ask you at interview)

    I don't think you being a lawyer makes much difference, it just means you have more experiences to justify why you want to be one.
     

    Nadine_Alleear

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  • Jan 12, 2021
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    Reading this, it sounds to me like you have plenty of compelling reasons to use:
    • Initial interest based on your background/upbringing (I think this is particularly unique, but I'd keep this brief)
    • What you prefer about being a UK solicitor rather than a barrister, based on your experiences so far (personally, I wouldn't labour the point about why you don't want to be a barrister anymore in your initial answer, this is something you can expand on when they ask you at interview)

    I don't think you being a lawyer makes much difference, it just means you have more experiences to justify why you want to be one.
    Thanks for this @Jaysen. I think structure is what I struggle with the most so then I just ramble a lot.

    Alternatively, can I start by saying what sparked my interest in commercial law? It was when I started working as a sales manager. And then jump right to the point and say what I learnt during my time working at a law firm and why that experience has pushed me to pursue a career as a UK solicitor? And maybe briefly describe the transferable skills?
     

    Jaysen

    Founder, TCLA
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  • Feb 17, 2018
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    Thanks for this @Jaysen. I think structure is what I struggle with the most so then I just ramble a lot.

    Alternatively, can I start by saying what sparked my interest in commercial law? It was when I started working as a sales manager. And then jump right to the point and say what I learnt during my time working at a law firm and why that experience has pushed me to pursue a career as a UK solicitor? And maybe briefly describe the transferable skills?

    Understandable. If you have a lot of reasons, you may find it helpful to write up a plan/bullet point the most important 2-4 points for you. I find this makes it easy to move things around/test different structures, without writing up the whole thing.

    Yes, that's completely fine. I would just put a flag against describing your transferable skills - unless there is a particular reason you are including this here and you feel it's necessary to justifying your motivations at this stage, I would leave this out. There will almost certainly be other opportunities to demonstrate your skills in the application form.
     

    Jessica Booker

    Legendary Member
    Graduate Recruitment
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    Forum Team
    Aug 1, 2019
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    Thanks, Jessica. I think I can convey that better in writing in an application, but I find it harder to do when it is a timed VI. I just struggle with the structure and the fact that my story is a little different.

    I am a NQ barrister with just 6 months under my belt. I realised pretty early on during my pupillage at an international law firm that I didn’t think the job suited me that well. I’ve always wanted to be a lawyer since I was a child - I grew up in a poor country, surrounded by crime and that was what motivated me.

    However, due to the lack of exposure to the legal profession and poor career’s guidance I went down a route that wasn’t meant for me. Growing up, I drifted away from criminal law and found that I preferred commercial law so I qualified at a commercial international law firm in Mauritius. It was from my experience working at a law firm that I realised very early on that I wanted to be a solicitor instead of a barrister.

    lol sorry for the long story, but I just wanted both you and @Jacob Miller to have some context.
    The SQE makes your position complicated.

    Is the opportunity you are applying to a traditional TC (eg where you will need to complete the GDL/LPC) or a SQE training opportunity?
     

    Nadine_Alleear

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  • Jan 12, 2021
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    The SQE makes your position complicated.

    Is the opportunity you are applying to a traditional TC (eg where you will need to complete the GDL/LPC) or a SQE training opportunity?
    I have a QLD and I can either do the LPC or the SQE. I am not worried about the course or how to qualify as a UK solicitor, but rather how to fit in my career motivations/career change in a timed interview.
     

    Nadine_Alleear

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  • Jan 12, 2021
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    Understandable. If you have a lot of reasons, you may find it helpful to write up a plan/bullet point the most important 2-4 points for you. I find this makes it easy to move things around/test different structures, without writing up the whole thing.

    Yes, that's completely fine. I would just put a flag against describing your transferable skills - unless there is a particular reason you are including this here and you feel it's necessary to justifying your motivations at this stage, I would leave this out. There will almost certainly be other opportunities to demonstrate your skills in the application form.
    Thanks, Jaysen. That's really helpful. I think I have a clearer structure in mind now :)
     
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    Jessica Booker

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    I have a QLD and I can either do the LPC or the SQE. I am not worried about the course or how to qualify as a UK solicitor, but rather how to fit in my career motivations/career change in a timed interview.
    I understand you will be eligible for both.

    But it isn’t straight forward with the SQE (unfortunately). Basically, if you take the SQE assessments prior to starting a TC, you’d potentially be qualified before you started working and that could be problematic for some firms.

    On the flip side, a firm could question why you don’t just take the SQE when it would be a much quicker route to qualification than the GDL/LPC route.

    The firm in question may want to see you have fully thought through your options as part of your motivation.
     
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    Nadine_Alleear

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  • Jan 12, 2021
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    I understand you will be eligible for both.

    But it isn’t straight forward with the SQE (unfortunately). Basically, if you take the SQE assessments prior to starting a TC, you’d potentially be qualified before you started working and that could be problematic for some firms.

    On the flip side, a firm could question why you don’t just take the SQE when it would be a much quicker route to qualification than the GDL/LPC route.

    The firm in question may want to see you have fully thought through your options as part of your motivation.
    I am skeptical about the SQE tbh. It is very 'new' and many firms haven't crossed over to the SQE route and don't intend to for another few years. This is the reason why law graduates have until 2032 to take the LPC. I have formed this opinion based on the conversations I had with firm representatives. I've also heard that the SQE is harder and not necessarily cheaper than the LPC.

    You also make a good point about qualifying through the SQE and how that could be problematic - I don't want to shoot myself in the foot. I want to start a career that makes me happy.

    I have already been accepted to start the LPC in September this year. It is a huge financial investment #RIP lol but I don't want to keep wasting time. I have considered all my options and I know I truly want this. So I see this as an investment more than anything else. Basically an investment in what I know will contribute towards making me happy - because I have not been truly happy for the past few years despite enjoying the journey and the experience.
     

    Jessica Booker

    Legendary Member
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    Aug 1, 2019
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    I am skeptical about the SQE tbh. It is very 'new' and many firms haven't crossed over to the SQE route and don't intend to for another few years. This is the reason why law graduates have until 2032 to take the LPC. I have formed this opinion based on the conversations I had with firm representatives. I've also heard that the SQE is harder and not necessarily cheaper than the LPC.

    You also make a good point about qualifying through the SQE and how that could be problematic - I don't want to shoot myself in the foot. I want to start a career that makes me happy.

    I have already been accepted to start the LPC in September this year. It is a huge financial investment #RIP lol but I don't want to keep wasting time. I have considered all my options and I know I truly want this. So I see this as an investment more than anything else. Basically an investment in what I know will contribute towards making me happy - because I have not been truly happy for the past few years despite enjoying the journey and the experience.
    I would reference you have made the commitment to the LPC in your answer as this shows you have considered the route suitable for you.
     
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    Georgia12345678

    Active Member
    Jun 4, 2021
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    Their Instagram did state that we should all hear back by the 22nd June!

    Hopefully the good news will come soon! Have a good weekend guys.
    I know just thinking realistically to submit a VI and then review them in time for AC’s starting end of this month, doesn’t leave much time! Hopefully good news will come soon! Have a good weekend :)
     

    LegalLordLox

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    Premium Member
    Jan 3, 2021
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    I know just thinking realistically to submit a VI and then review them in time for AC’s starting end of this month, doesn’t leave much time! Hopefully good news will come soon! Have a good weekend :)
    This is a fair point. Well hopefully we hear back soon and it’s not a PFO.

    Are you waiting on any other applications or is it just this one?
     

    lawnoodle

    Legendary Member
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    Forum Winner
    Feb 23, 2021
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    Hi all!

    I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed/down after my AC.

    I think my interview went really well and the associate said that she would look forward to talking to me again should things work out. And she kept saying she couldn't ask me follow up questions because I'd answered everything on her sheet.

    But the written exercise I just found so difficult. And in terms of the presentation and group exercise, when giving my answers I was always under time. Which makes me think I didn't give enough detail.

    Also, after the group presentation the panel directed additional questions at everyone but me and I can't help but feel that's a bad thing.

    Idk, I don't feel great about it. I just hope it was enough 😔
     
    Last edited:

    MLF

    Distinguished Member
  • Mar 15, 2021
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    Hi all!

    I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed/down after my AC.

    I think my interview went really well and the associate said that she would look forward to talking to me again should things work out. And she kept saying she couldn't ask me follow up questions because I'd answered everything on her sheet.

    But the written exercise I just found so difficult. And in terms of the presentation and group exercise, when giving my answers I was always under time. Which makes me think I didn't give enough detail. Although 4/6 of the group members said they got stopped at the 3 minute time limit.

    Also, after the group presentation the panel directed additional questions at everyone but me and I can't help but feel that's a bad thing.

    Idk, I don't feel great about it. I just hope it was enough 😔
    Hey, first of all I'm sure you did great, everyone is always so self-critical, just take the weekend to relax, no need to obsess over what happened :)

    If it works out that's amazing, if it doesn't it would have been a great experience during which you learnt a lot and that you can use to smash the next AC you do :)
     

    syw

    Valued Member
    May 29, 2019
    100
    108
    Hi all!

    I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed/down after my AC.

    I think my interview went really well and the associate said that she would look forward to talking to me again should things work out. And she kept saying she couldn't ask me follow up questions because I'd answered everything on her sheet.

    But the written exercise I just found so difficult. And in terms of the presentation and group exercise, when giving my answers I was always under time. Which makes me think I didn't give enough detail. Although 4/6 of the group members said they got stopped at the 3 minute time limit.

    Also, after the group presentation the panel directed additional questions at everyone but me and I can't help but feel that's a bad thing.

    Idk, I don't feel great about it. I just hope it was enough 😔
    Hi! This is so strange because I am feeling the exact same way after my AC yesterday. Defeated would be the best word. It was a lot more challenging than I thought. Similar to you, I thought my interview and presentation went well, but the other tasks not so much - so feeling very mixed. :( Fingers crossed for you though, I know exactly how tough the wait is.