Ask A Graduate Recruiter Anything!

kr253

Distinguished Member
Jan 20, 2021
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Thank you so much. This message really touched me at a time where everyone around is telling me I have ruined my legal career, and my life.
I don't have anything profound to add that hasn't already been said but just want to add my support and reiterate that you haven't ruined anything! If you have already secured a TC, you are clearly strong and powerful - and being pregnant does not change that at all!
 

AvniD

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Oct 25, 2021
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You absolutely have not ruined your career or your life. It may look a little bit different than you had imagined, but this isn’t 1950. You have a TC lined up, which is testament to your tenacity, your knowledge and your ability to excel. Being pregnant does not change that in the slightest. Just because your career may not have the “traditional” timeline anymore does not mean it will not be successful, and anyone who suggests otherwise needs to enter the 21st century. While the legal profession still has some way to go, there are so many amazing lawyers who are also amazing parents, and living in a post-pandemic WFH era has been a blessing in making us realize that we don’t need to sacrifice our home lives in order to have a successful career. Obviously being a parent and a trainee would come with challenges, but it is entirely your choice whether you want to take those on, and if you do I’m sure you’ll find the right community of people to cheer you on. Sending you lots of strength! 🧡
@TC fiend your ability to empathise with and support someone is super rare- I'm so moved by this post! @anon239 I really could not have said this better and I really hope you found strength and comfort in @TC fiend's words. My best wishes are with you 🤗
 
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malvern3142

Active Member
Jun 30, 2022
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Roughly what should I set as my salary expectations for a paralegal role in London (Tottenham area)? Glassdoor says £27k, but I have about 12 months legal experience and I am completing a masters degree that will give me a specialisation in the role's practice area. Would asking for +£30k be too much?
 

Jessica Booker

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Roughly what should I set as my salary expectations for a paralegal role in London (Tottenham area)? Glassdoor says £27k, but I have about 12 months legal experience and I am completing a masters degree that will give me a specialisation in the role's practice area. Would asking for +£30k be too much?
It really depends on the role and the firm.

What I would say is that £27k sounds like it could be the average rather than the bottom of the salary range, and therefore by asking for £30k you could be asking for the top end.

However, it’s a candidates market at the moment and so getting to £30k could be very feasible.

If this is for an application (eg you are just having to disclose your expectations on an application form) it is always better to be pretty moderate and then at the point of offer it’s generally easier to negotiate upwards rather than being automatically rejected where your expectations are too high.
 

rayemuse

Active Member
Jan 23, 2022
10
34
Hi! I was just wondering what law firms think of a low 2:1 (with one module 2:2). This will be my second cycle applying and I am scared because my second year grades were much lower than I expected and lower than my first year grades and I feel like I ruined my chances this year. I don’t believe I have any mitigating circumstances too so that’s why I’m worried (if I had to state a reason, I think it was mostly my university changing format to a more time constrained one but keeping expectations high (statistically, like in my 2:2 module my year got the lowest average mark in the last 5 years etc) and for one of the module it was my first closed book in person exam since early 2019). I go to a top Russell group university if that changes anything? I’m just worried for my chances this year, and while I could apply only after I graduate I’m an international student so it might not be preferable. Just wanted to know your thoughts on this 😅
 

Jessica Booker

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Hi! I was just wondering what law firms think of a low 2:1 (with one module 2:2). This will be my second cycle applying and I am scared because my second year grades were much lower than I expected and lower than my first year grades and I feel like I ruined my chances this year. I don’t believe I have any mitigating circumstances too so that’s why I’m worried (if I had to state a reason, I think it was mostly my university changing format to a more time constrained one but keeping expectations high (statistically, like in my 2:2 module my year got the lowest average mark in the last 5 years etc) and for one of the module it was my first closed book in person exam since early 2019). I go to a top Russell group university if that changes anything? I’m just worried for my chances this year, and while I could apply only after I graduate I’m an international student so it might not be preferable. Just wanted to know your thoughts on this 😅

You are right that these won’t be seen as mitigating circumstances unfortunately. Mitigating circumstances are things that are outside of your control and unexpected, so the format of the assessment and not being familiar with them will not be considered mitigating circumstances. The fact it is a Russell Group university doesn’t make any difference either unfortunately.

You still achieved a 2.1 and so this will be sufficient for many firms. How sufficient it will be will depend on the rest of your academics (high school grades as well as first year) and also the strength of your application elsewhere.

You may find it more difficult with firms who stress the importance of academic excellence, and so with them you may want to wait until you have your final year results if they have improved by that point.
 

Jessica Booker

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Hi Jessica, for what reasons would graduate recruitment check your LinkedIn channel in the run up to making offers?
It’s ultimately public information, so if they want to see what you are currently up to (especially if you are applied sometime ago and they don’t have an updated application), it can be the easiest way of obtaining details.

It’s also a lot easier sharing a LinkedIn profile link than an application because the application is private data while the LinkedIn profile is public.

It can just be as simple as looking at the profile to remind yourself of what a candidate looks like though.

Basically it doesn’t mean anything in particular.
 
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Casual

Star Member
  • Nov 6, 2019
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    Hello @Jessica Booker !
    I recently sent an application for a direct TC but realised only now that despite applying to the firm in the previous cycle I forgot to tick the box asking if I applied in the past. I am worried that this may hinder my application - can the firm actually check whether I applied in the previous cycle(s) given that the GDPR does not allow them to store applicants' data for longer than 6 months?
     

    Jessica Booker

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    How do grad recruiters typically view applicants who are currently outside the UK for work/study abroad? Is it a disadvantage?

    I'm currently doing my LLM in Australia to specialise in a few commercial areas of law, and my home address in the UK isn't anywhere close to London since I'm from NI. Is this something recruiters will view against me?

    I'm just confused why I was getting AC, WG invites etc. pre-covid during my Undergrad studies. Now, my CV is much more extensive and specialised, plus my writing skills have definitely improved to sell myself in cover letters and application questions. Yet this year I've gotten PFOs before firms even attempt to assess me beyond the application stage. It's quite disheartening and hard to make sense of, I just don't understand. Is it possible these firms just disregard my application because I'm currently residing in Australia? Maybe they view it as an uncertainty that I would return home to the UK?
    It shouldn’t make a difference in general.

    However, it could put into question your commitment to the U.K. (depending how your motivations are described elsewhere in your application).

    Your LLM, if in a particular niche, could also make recruiters question why you aren’t seeking a firm that specialises in that LLM too.
     

    Jessica Booker

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    Hello @Jessica Booker !
    I recently sent an application for a direct TC but realised only now that despite applying to the firm in the previous cycle I forgot to tick the box asking if I applied in the past. I am worried that this may hinder my application - can the firm actually check whether I applied in the previous cycle(s) given that the GDPR does not allow them to store applicants' data for longer than 6 months?
    If data is not held for more than six months, then no there would be no way they could check.

    However, most data policies are six months after the vacancy closes or the recruitment process is concluded - not from the point you apply, so something to be mindful of that the data might still be available to them, depending on how the policy is worded.
     
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    futuretraineesolicitor

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    Dec 14, 2019
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    Hello, @Jessica Booker hope you are well. Just had a slightly odd question. How do firms decide whether a future trainee should do the PGDL in the September cohort or the January cohort if the future trainee is a recent graduate and could participate in either of the two cohorts? I mean, who decides it for the future trainee? Does the person have a choice or is it something that the firm decides?

    Thanks.
     
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    Dwight

    Legendary Member
    Dec 21, 2019
    401
    194
    Hi @Jessica Booker,

    I have a question regarding paralegaling - do you think a knowledge paralegal role is worth completing in terms of gaining the relevant skills and experience when applying for TCs and VSs. I am just curious because a knowledge paralegal is supervised by KLs and does not actually undertake fee-earning work (e.g. drafting contracts). Also, how does it look to graduate recruitment when I apply for TCs and VSs as a knowledge paralegal. Do you think it matters on the law firm and department? I would love to hear your take on knowledge paralegal roles.
     

    Jessica Booker

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    Hi @Jessica Booker,

    I have a question regarding paralegaling - do you think a knowledge paralegal role is worth completing in terms of gaining the relevant skills and experience when applying for TCs and VSs. I am just curious because a knowledge paralegal is supervised by KLs and does not actually undertake fee-earning work (e.g. drafting contracts). Also, how does it look to graduate recruitment when I apply for TCs and VSs as a knowledge paralegal. Do you think it matters on the law firm and department? I would love to hear your take on knowledge paralegal roles.
    Ultimately you don’t need a paralegal role/experience for a TC, so I don’t think distinguishing between a KP and a departmental paralegal will make such difference. You will be gaining relevant skills, knowledge and experience from both of them that can be transferred to a trainee role, but the same could be said of a lot of other roles outside of law.
     
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    Dwight

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    Dec 21, 2019
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    Ultimately you don’t need a paralegal role/experience for a TC, so I don’t think distinguishing between a KP and a departmental paralegal will make such difference. You will be gaining relevant skills, knowledge and experience from both of them that can be transferred to a trainee role, but the same could be said of a lot of other roles outside of law.
    That's an interesting take - thanks for your perspective, @Jessica Booker.

    If you were in my shoes, how would you approach searching for a paralegal role?

    Also, you have mentioned roles outside of law, so what non-legal roles can one do that will be useful when applying for TCs and VSs?

    Another side question (apologies for bombarding you with lots of different questions): at the moment I can't quite understand how one can paralegal and apply for VS/TC positions successfully at the same time. At university, I had the flexibility to miss a lecture, delay studying etc to take an interview. How would that work with a 9-5? I guess with applications a paralegal will have to do outside their working hours, but what about interview prep its not like that can be done throughout the day because there is work. Also, what about the actual time to complete a VS and even worse if I secure more than one? Is it normal to paralegal and be successful in later securing a TC? In my mind, and perhaps this is because I'm lacking knowledge on the matter, but don't see both working in tandem successfully. Would appreciate your perspective on this, as I am slightly anxious on what to do.
     
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    Jessica Booker

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    That's an interesting take - thanks for your perspective, @Jessica Booker.

    If you were in my shoes, how would you approach searching for a paralegal role?

    Also, you have mentioned roles outside of law, so what non-legal roles can one do that will be useful when applying for TCs and VSs?

    Another side question (apologies for bombarding you with lots of different questions): at the moment I can't quite understand how one can paralegal and apply for VS/TC positions successfully at the same time. At university, I had the flexibility to miss a lecture, delay studying etc to take an interview. How would that work with a 9-5? I guess with applications a paralegal will have to do outside their working hours, but what about interview prep its not like that can be done throughout the day because there is work. Also, what about the actual time to complete a VS and even worse if I secure more than one? Is it normal to paralegal and be successful in later securing a TC? In my mind, and perhaps this is because I'm lacking knowledge on the matter, but don't see both working in tandem successfully. Would appreciate your perspective on this, as I am slightly anxious on what to do.
    I wouldn’t worry too much about finding a paralegal role to improve your chances of a Tc, I would just find a role that you are interested in and works well for you.

    There are a whole range of careers outside of law - I don’t think it’s helpful in being specific as we see plenty of people gain great skills and knowledge from non legal roles that transfer well to a legal career.

    Depending on the time needed for a recruitment process, paralegals either switch their hours around (eg start/end their working day earlier or later) and fit in interviews during the day (especially when remote working or remote interviews). They will take annual leave when they need to take a half or full day to attend an assessment centre.

    Many people who work do struggle to balance application writing/recruitment process prep with a full-time job. Generally I hear that because of that people tend to have a more focused and selective approach to the firms they apply to and also tend to be really diligent in prepping and planning who they will apply to and when.

    The actual time to complete a VS is probably the trickiest part. You may not get the time of work and even if you do use annual leave to attend a vacation scheme, your employment contract may for it you from working elsewhere without declaring it to your current employer. In paralegal roles, there can often be a need to do conflict checks as well and sometimes these checks (whether by your employer or your VS firm) will mean the vacation scheme can not go ahead.

    There are enough paralegals who do VS schemes to show this is feasible though. It really depends on the variables of your unique situation. But it can be challenging, which is why many paralegals/people in full time employment just make direct TC applications instead.
     
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    Dwight

    Legendary Member
    Dec 21, 2019
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    I wouldn’t worry too much about finding a paralegal role to improve your chances of a Tc, I would just find a role that you are interested in and works well for you.

    There are a whole range of careers outside of law - I don’t think it’s helpful in being specific as we see plenty of people gain great skills and knowledge from non legal roles that transfer well to a legal career.

    Depending on the time needed for a recruitment process, paralegals either switch their hours around (eg start/end their working day earlier or later) and fit in interviews during the day (especially when remote working or remote interviews). They will take annual leave when they need to take a half or full day to attend an assessment centre.

    Many people who work do struggle to balance application writing/recruitment process prep with a full-time job. Generally I hear that because of that people tend to have a more focused and selective approach to the firms they apply to and also tend to be really diligent in prepping and planning who they will apply to and when.

    The actual time to complete a VS is probably the trickiest part. You may not get the time of work and even if you do use annual leave to attend a vacation scheme, your employment contract may for it you from working elsewhere without declaring it to your current employer. In paralegal roles, there can often be a need to do conflict checks as well and sometimes these checks (whether by your employer or your VS firm) will mean the vacation scheme can not go ahead.

    There are enough paralegals who do VS schemes to show this is feasible though. It really depends on the variables of your unique situation. But it can be challenging, which is why many paralegals/people in full time employment just make direct TC applications instead.
    Thank you for your comprehensive response, @Jessica Booker. Can I please PM you to provide further detail?
     

    Paaris

    Well-Known Member
  • Dec 18, 2020
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    Hi @Jessica Booker I would be most grateful to get an honest opinion from an experienced professional about my situation.

    I used to work at a magic circle firm for just over 4 years as a paralegal, during which time I was fortunate enough to work on some high-profile cases- and managed to take charge of my own client file. I also worked in two departments, and partners from both departments separately supported my application for a training contract. Unfortunately, I failed to succeed at the final stage both times. I should note, I fall below the minimum academic criteria by 5 marks which was another difficulty I faced when applying but my liaison in the graduate recruitment team at the time said this wasn't a major factor.

    I still keep in touch with the people I worked with at this magic circle firm and my previous manager is persuading me to re-apply. My question is, realistically, given there is much competition for this type of firm, would there be any "point" in me applying? I do think since then I have amassed some great work experience and I am confident in my abilities. However, the previous times I applied, I had considerable insider support which will not be the case this time around. Additionally, as I have already interviewed twice (although 5 years has now passed since my last go), will this count against me?

    Apologies for the long-winded question, I just didn't want to go through the application process just to get a straight out rejection!
     

    Jessica Booker

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    Hi @Jessica Booker I would be most grateful to get an honest opinion from an experienced professional about my situation.

    I used to work at a magic circle firm for just over 4 years as a paralegal, during which time I was fortunate enough to work on some high-profile cases- and managed to take charge of my own client file. I also worked in two departments, and partners from both departments separately supported my application for a training contract. Unfortunately, I failed to succeed at the final stage both times. I should note, I fall below the minimum academic criteria by 5 marks which was another difficulty I faced when applying but my liaison in the graduate recruitment team at the time said this wasn't a major factor.

    I still keep in touch with the people I worked with at this magic circle firm and my previous manager is persuading me to re-apply. My question is, realistically, given there is much competition for this type of firm, would there be any "point" in me applying? I do think since then I have amassed some great work experience and I am confident in my abilities. However, the previous times I applied, I had considerable insider support which will not be the case this time around. Additionally, as I have already interviewed twice (although 5 years has now passed since my last go), will this count against me?

    Apologies for the long-winded question, I just didn't want to go through the application process just to get a straight out rejection!
    Do you think you are a stronger applicant now than you were then? Have you gone on to gain different/better experience since leaving the firm?
     

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