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Ask A Graduate Recruiter Anything!

Jessica Booker

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Graduate Recruitment
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Aug 1, 2019
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Hi Jessica, happy new year!

I've been offered and accepted a TC through a direct TC process (Firm A). I was then offered another TC through a direct TC process with another firm (Firm B). Prior to all of those, I completed a WVS (with Firm C) and agreed to be considered for a TC offer.

My questions are as follows:
1. What's the etiquette for turning down Firm B? I've been given a deadline to accept and was wondering whether an email or a call is most appropriate before this deadline, or whether they'd prefer I just let it lapse. Moreover, when I turn the offer down via either method, will I need to mention I've accepted an offer with Firm A? It's not a problem if so, I just don't want to say something they don't appreciate though I'm sure they've heard rejections for this reason before.

2. Should I withdraw from Firm C's recruitment process? We will hear in Jan whether we've been offered a TC and they don't offer that many people from the VS a TC. I think my chances of being offered aren't that high. Either way, I'd like to receive feedback on my performance on the scheme and I'm not sure I'd get that if I withdraw. Secondly, should this be done by call or email if I should withdraw?

I don't mind phoning instead of emailing for both, but I don't want to make it an awkward call for the myself and the grad rec teams if they'd prefer to hear this stuff by email haha!

Thank you in advance :)

1) just email to say you will not be accepting the offer. They will need something in writing anyway, so email is the best bet. You don’t have to name firm A if you don’t want to, but I would say you have decided to accept another training contract elsewhere. They are likely to reply to you asking where you will be joining though (they like to know to understand who their competitors are), so if you are happy to disclose which firm it is with, then mention you will be joining firm A.

Firms/recruiters are pretty used to rejections so I wouldn’t worry about it too much. If you have an offer that’s better for you, they will prefer you to go elsewhere. They will easily be able to offer someone else, so won’t be too fussed about you turning them down. They won’t care whether you call or email, but they will need something in writing anyway, so it depends on what you want to do/what you feel comfortable doing, as to whether you call first or not.

2) You can just wait for the outcome. No matter what the outcome, you can get feedback. I don’t think they will stop the feedback process just because you have accepted another role. Same goes with the above, you can call if that’s what you’d prefer but you’ll need to follow up in writing or withdraw your application on their applicant tracking system (if you can do this via their system).
 
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azakabam

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Jan 2, 2023
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1) just email to say you will not be accepting the offer. They will need something in writing anyway, so email is the best bet. You don’t have to name firm A if you don’t want to, but I would say you have decided to accept another training contract elsewhere. They are likely to reply to you asking where you will be joining though (they like to know to understand who their competitors are), so if you are happy to disclose which firm it is with, then mention you will be joining firm A.

Firms/recruiters are pretty used to rejections so I wouldn’t worry about it too much. If you have an offer that’s better for you, they will prefer you to go elsewhere. They will easily be able to offer someone else, so won’t be too fussed about you turning them down. They won’t care whether you call or email, but they will need something in writing anyway, so it depends on what you want to do/what you feel comfortable doing, as to whether you call first or not.

2) You can just wait for the outcome. No matter what the outcome, you can get feedback. I don’t think they will stop the feedback process just because you have accepted another role. Same goes with the above, you can call if that’s what you’d prefer but you’ll need to follow up in writing or withdraw your application on their applicant tracking system (if you can do this via their system).
Thank you so much Jessica!!
 

e1996

Star Member
Dec 16, 2021
36
22
Hi Jessica,

I was wondering what CC's policy is on GDL retakes if you have already got a training contract with them but in case you fail a module? Can you retake it ( in time to start your LPC on time), or will they withdraw the training contract?

Thanks!

@Jessica Booker
 
Last edited:

Jessica Booker

Legendary Member
TCLA Moderator
Gold Member
Graduate Recruitment
Premium Member
Forum Team
Aug 1, 2019
13,170
18,920
Hi Jessica,

I was wondering what CC's policy is on GDL retakes if you have already got a training contract with them but in case you fail a module? Can you retake it ( in time to start your LPC on time), or will they withdraw the training contract?

Thanks!
I don’t know the specifics of CC’s policy unfortunately - I would contact the firm directly to speak to them about this.

Also check your offer documents to see if there are any terms and conditions relating to passing the GDL/LPC/SQE first time.

Even when there are terms, firms can use their discretion in applying that condition. So depending on what you failed, how badly you failed, the strength of your other academic results, if there were any personal/mitigating circumstances, you might be able to plead your case and the firm could consider those circumstances and then make a decision.

But training contracts are “revoked” when people don’t pass their GDL/LPC, and now the SQE, even if it is only the first sitting. That has happened all the time I have been in graduate recruitment anyway, and is usually around 2-5% of sponsored trainees.
 

Dwight

Legendary Member
Premium Member
Dec 21, 2019
571
390
Hi @Jessica Booker,

I hope this message finds you well.

I was curious about how lateral recruitment works for associates (NQ - PQE3), particularly for UK law firm --> US law firm. I assume at this stage one would not have built enough of a profile for themselves to be directly poached / regularly contacted by lateral recruiters? Basically, nothing like some of the big name partners who probably regularly receive offers to move firms.

Therefore, at what stage do lawyers start getting recognised and contacted by recruiters for lateral opportunities. Also, how do associates make UK --> US moves (SC/MC --> US etc)?

A lot of lateral recruiting has occurred in the last year or 2, particularly in investment funds, PE/M&A and leveraged finance, so I am curious how it operates in reality. My intuition would say partly by referrals.
 

Jessica Booker

Legendary Member
TCLA Moderator
Gold Member
Graduate Recruitment
Premium Member
Forum Team
Aug 1, 2019
13,170
18,920
Hi @Jessica Booker,

I hope this message finds you well.

I was curious about how lateral recruitment works for associates (NQ - PQE3), particularly for UK law firm --> US law firm. I assume at this stage one would not have built enough of a profile for themselves to be directly poached / regularly contacted by lateral recruiters? Basically, nothing like some of the big name partners who probably regularly receive offers to move firms.

Therefore, at what stage do lawyers start getting recognised and contacted by recruiters for lateral opportunities. Also, how do associates make UK --> US moves (SC/MC --> US etc)?

A lot of lateral recruiting has occurred in the last year or 2, particularly in investment funds, PE/M&A and leveraged finance, so I am curious how it operates in reality. My intuition would say partly by referrals.
Sometimes associates go with partners when they jump firms. So if a partner in your team goes to a US firm, you could find yourself eventually going to that team too (subject to any poaching talent clauses in the partners' contract).

Then it is sometimes down to seeing people on the other end of a deal for the opposing party. Impressing other lawyers who are working for other parties on a matter is another way of standing out.

But sometimes it just comes down to there being a demand for lawyers and your profile fitting the firm. You don't necessarily have to stand out - sometimes the work you do is just sufficient for you to be of interest to another law firm.
 
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The Lincoln Lawyer_66

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Gold Member
Premium Member
  • Sep 25, 2022
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    Hi everyone, hope you are all having a productive and prosperous 2023 so far.

    I am doing some interview prep atm and I wanted to ask what the general attitude of firms is towards bringing in a notepad and pen into an interview?

    I feel as though this would be something useful especially when asking your own questions and jotting down some of the interviewers answers and having some trigger words to guide me through my answers. I understand it wouldn't be desirable to script down whole answers and reading from a notepad but just wondering what a good balance would be and whether bringing notes in is acceptable or not.

    Would be good to hear from those of you that have interview experience across various firms. I would also be grateful @Jessica Booker and the TCLA team if I could have your thoughts on this.

    Thanks!
     

    Jessica Booker

    Legendary Member
    TCLA Moderator
    Gold Member
    Graduate Recruitment
    Premium Member
    Forum Team
    Aug 1, 2019
    13,170
    18,920
    Hi everyone, hope you are all having a productive and prosperous 2023 so far.

    I am doing some interview prep atm and I wanted to ask what the general attitude of firms is towards bringing in a notepad and pen into an interview?

    I feel as though this would be something useful especially when asking your own questions and jotting down some of the interviewers answers and having some trigger words to guide me through my answers. I understand it wouldn't be desirable to script down whole answers and reading from a notepad but just wondering what a good balance would be and whether bringing notes in is acceptable or not.

    Would be good to hear from those of you that have interview experience across various firms. I would also be grateful @Jessica Booker and the TCLA team if I could have your thoughts on this.

    Thanks!
    This is a bit of a marmite answer - some interviewers are perfectly fine with this, some find it slightly jarring. I know some people recommend it though, it is just my personal view that I don't think people need to do it.
     

    Jessica Booker

    Legendary Member
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    Gold Member
    Graduate Recruitment
    Premium Member
    Forum Team
    Aug 1, 2019
    13,170
    18,920
    Hi @Jessica Booker I was wondering if you could give some advice. I completed a video interview about three weeks ago now, but I had extra time for the video interview so I got issued a further link. However, since completing it, I am still getting emails asking me whether I’m still interested and then extending the deadline. I realise now I’ve used the wrong link and not the one with extra time but either way I’m just worried it hasn’t submitted properly. I’m sure it’s because I had two links but I’ve tried emailing grad rec twice and have had no response and I can’t see a phone number to ring up
    As you have contacted them, I don't think there is anything else you can do at this stage.
     
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    badmintonflyinginsect

    Star Member
    Premium Member
    Jan 26, 2023
    36
    7
    Hi @Jessica Booker! Happy new year.

    I'm an incoming first-year law student at Oxbridge. However, I'm an international student. Do you believe my chances of getting more work experience (and eventually a TC) are lower considering that I'm international? I'm aiming to apply for K&E, Latham, and the types.

    Also - what advice would you give to a fresher to make a strong application for future open days/first-year schemes?

    Thank you :)
     

    Helpme12345

    Valued Member
    Nov 19, 2020
    120
    418
    Hi @Jessica Booker, I was wondering if you could help me with something!

    I was previously a long time user of TCLA and it helped me get offers for TCs. One of the main differences between the two I was choosing between at the time was one was offering me the GDL+SQE and one was offering just SQE with Barbri prep course. I was concerned about not doing the GDL at all and raised this quite a lot in my discussions with the law firm but ultimately I chose them because I thought they were a better fit.

    Fast forward two years and I’ve just sat my SQE exams and to say I feel so let down my the Barbri course is an understatement. The questions on their mocks (where I was getting 85%) were no where near the same difficulty and while I think I managed to pass FLK1, I don’t think I will have passed FLK2. The other future trainees in my cohort found the same exam hard but said they were able to rely on some GDL knowledge so I don’t think they found it as difficultI don’t believe I could have revised more and achieved a better result with the Barbri course, but in hindsight I wish I’d looked at more forums etc as then I would have understood the differences in difficulty and prepared better.

    Anyway I was wondering what your opinion was on emailing my firm before results come out? I don’t want to come across like a worrier when results aren’t even out yet nor do I want to seem like I’m playing the blame game after a bad exam, but on the other hand I think maybe saying something now will benefit my case if I find out I have failed in March? Ultimately my TC is contingent on me passing first time, but the contract does say to contact them to “discuss a way forward”.

    Thanks in advance!
     

    Jessica Booker

    Legendary Member
    TCLA Moderator
    Gold Member
    Graduate Recruitment
    Premium Member
    Forum Team
    Aug 1, 2019
    13,170
    18,920
    Hi @Jessica Booker! Happy new year.

    I'm an incoming first-year law student at Oxbridge. However, I'm an international student. Do you believe my chances of getting more work experience (and eventually a TC) are lower considering that I'm international? I'm aiming to apply for K&E, Latham, and the types.

    Also - what advice would you give to a fresher to make a strong application for future open days/first-year schemes?

    Thank you :)
    The only issue for you is you can only work outside of term time. This makes some winter and easter vacation schemes difficult where they are during term-time or cross into term-time.

    Insight programmes and open days tend to not be an issue where they are not paid employment.

    My general advice would be to go to the careers events in Michaelmas term (there will be so many for you to choose from) and attend the careers fair at Oxford too. This will help you get a better sense of the firms and help with your research for applications.

    Also ensure you get involved in some extra curriculars as a first-year student too as firms tend to really value extra curriculars.
     

    Jessica Booker

    Legendary Member
    TCLA Moderator
    Gold Member
    Graduate Recruitment
    Premium Member
    Forum Team
    Aug 1, 2019
    13,170
    18,920
    Hi @Jessica Booker, I was wondering if you could help me with something!

    I was previously a long time user of TCLA and it helped me get offers for TCs. One of the main differences between the two I was choosing between at the time was one was offering me the GDL+SQE and one was offering just SQE with Barbri prep course. I was concerned about not doing the GDL at all and raised this quite a lot in my discussions with the law firm but ultimately I chose them because I thought they were a better fit.

    Fast forward two years and I’ve just sat my SQE exams and to say I feel so let down my the Barbri course is an understatement. The questions on their mocks (where I was getting 85%) were no where near the same difficulty and while I think I managed to pass FLK1, I don’t think I will have passed FLK2. The other future trainees in my cohort found the same exam hard but said they were able to rely on some GDL knowledge so I don’t think they found it as difficultI don’t believe I could have revised more and achieved a better result with the Barbri course, but in hindsight I wish I’d looked at more forums etc as then I would have understood the differences in difficulty and prepared better.

    Anyway I was wondering what your opinion was on emailing my firm before results come out? I don’t want to come across like a worrier when results aren’t even out yet nor do I want to seem like I’m playing the blame game after a bad exam, but on the other hand I think maybe saying something now will benefit my case if I find out I have failed in March? Ultimately my TC is contingent on me passing first time, but the contract does say to contact them to “discuss a way forward”.

    Thanks in advance!
    Quick question - Do you know of any other non-law graduates at your firm who also took the assessment, whether this time around or earlier?
     

    Jessica Booker

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    Aug 1, 2019
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    No - so we are the first cohort to do SQE and I am the only candidate to have never studied law before (law degree or GDL)
    OK - there are probably one of two approaches I would recommend.

    1) If you want to raise it ahead of the results, I think it is worthwhile to write something to graduate recruitment that lays out your concerns. I suggest this approach (in writing) as you are likely to be able to present your case more clearly than in a conversation. I'd keep it as concise as possible, and also try to focus on more factual elements rather than what you are feeling. You can then invite them to discuss this further with you. Taking this approach really depends on what you think you have to present though. I wouldn't rush into doing this though - if you have just sat the exams take some time to reflect on the situation, rather than rush into describing how you are feeling right now.

    Or

    2) Leave it and wait for the results. Ultimately nothing will be able to be done until the results come out. And if they do come back and you haven't passed you can explain you are in a unique circumstance of not having any legal training compared to your peers and explain you feel you are at distinct disadvantage.

    You may also want to try and track down other SQE sitters who attempted it without any legal training (e.g. other future trainees across other law firms but with BARBRI, or people self-funding the course without doing the GDL), to see if there is a general trend of these people doing worse in the assessments. Unfortunately, it is about one of the only measures the SRA does not measure in the SQE assessment reports.
     

    badmintonflyinginsect

    Star Member
    Premium Member
    Jan 26, 2023
    36
    7
    The only issue for you is you can only work outside of term time. This makes some winter and easter vacation schemes difficult where they are during term-time or cross into term-time.

    Insight programmes and open days tend to not be an issue where they are not paid employment.

    My general advice would be to go to the careers events in Michaelmas term (there will be so many for you to choose from) and attend the careers fair at Oxford too. This will help you get a better sense of the firms and help with your research for applications.

    Also ensure you get involved in some extra curriculars as a first-year student too as firms tend to really value extra curriculars.
    Thank you so much!!
     

    M1999

    Legendary Member
    Nov 28, 2019
    518
    1,183
    Hello,

    I have had confirmation from my TC firm that I can use any QWE I might have to shorten my TC if I would like to. I’m not 100% sure I would want to do this given I might be assigned my least preferred seats, but anyway..

    my issue is that I have 1.5 years of paralegal experience at two good/well known city firms. But this is from early 2021 to mid 2022 before I quit to study after I got my TC. I don’t really understand how I am supposed to approach these firms and ask them to sign off on the QWE because although I have a pretty solid memory of what I did and the skills etc I had, I kinda doubt a lot of the lawyers even remember much - never mind know in depth to sign off.
    Does this mean I can’t use this experience if I’m doing it retrospectively? I’m mad at myself as I wouldn’t have quit if I knew I could use this experience. I felt like I did a lot of ‘trainee’ tasks as a paralegal and would hate for it to go to complete waste and if I would have even 6 months it would be great
     

    Jessica Booker

    Legendary Member
    TCLA Moderator
    Gold Member
    Graduate Recruitment
    Premium Member
    Forum Team
    Aug 1, 2019
    13,170
    18,920
    Hello,

    I have had confirmation from my TC firm that I can use any QWE I might have to shorten my TC if I would like to. I’m not 100% sure I would want to do this given I might be assigned my least preferred seats, but anyway..

    my issue is that I have 1.5 years of paralegal experience at two good/well known city firms. But this is from early 2021 to mid 2022 before I quit to study after I got my TC. I don’t really understand how I am supposed to approach these firms and ask them to sign off on the QWE because although I have a pretty solid memory of what I did and the skills etc I had, I kinda doubt a lot of the lawyers even remember much - never mind know in depth to sign off.
    Does this mean I can’t use this experience if I’m doing it retrospectively? I’m mad at myself as I wouldn’t have quit if I knew I could use this experience. I felt like I did a lot of ‘trainee’ tasks as a paralegal and would hate for it to go to complete waste and if I would have even 6 months it would be great
    The work can still be signed off by the firm and realistically they should sign it off - they need a pretty good excuse not to from the SRA’s perceptive. Saying they can’t remember isn’t sufficient really.

    How willing/helpful the firm is a different matter though - they could make it very difficult to do this. Ultimately someone not related to the firm can sign it off too (although they would need to liaise with the firm to get their insight on the work).

    So you could use it. It’s just going to come down to how cooperative the firm is and how easy it is to get it approved by someone. The SRA though have said they will investigate firms/organisations who are unwilling to sign QWE off just because they don’t want to sign it off.
     

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