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George Maxwell

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Hi @Dheepa

I have a few questions regarding a vac scheme I'll be starting very soon! I'd really appreciate your advice on my concerns.

1) In my vac scheme interview, they asked me what firms I applied to and I only mentioned their competitors. However, I actually ended up securing vac schemes at another two firms which are hugely different from theirs- like, completely different- think Latham and Farrer & Co different. Ultimately, their firm is my dream firm but I applied to lots of firms as I know how competitive the process is and how a lot of it comes down to numbers and luck. I feel in my final TC interview they'll ask about any other offers. Should I disclose these firms? I'm worried I'll be scrutinised for my choices and how I can convincingly rationalise this to them. On the other hand, if I kept it to myself, would this be the better approach? I've also heard mentioning you have multiple offers makes you look like a stronger candidate?

2) Do you have any tips on how to remain calm and perform well on group negotiations and presentations? Group assessed tasks always make me the most nervous.

3) And finally, any last minute tips on how to deal with imposter syndrome? I still can't believe I was selected for this vac scheme.

Thank you so much!
Hey @nisadee,

I hope you don't mind me giving some thoughts on the above too!

1. I thought this post where I outlined my thoughts on this question might be helpful here. Ultimately it is a personal choice what you divulge in an interview scenario. That being said, I really do not think that there is any harm in being honest here. Firms know that TCs are extremely competitive. They also know that people often send applications before they are set on exactly the sort of firm that they want to work for. I think this is the norm honestly.

So personally I don't think it is any bad thing to suggest that you are being prudent about the (frankly extremely important) career choice that you are about to make by experiencing a range of firms. For example, I was never criticised by any of the firms I received VS offers from about the firms I had obtained VS offers with. For context, two of these firms were Akin Gump and Herbert Smith Freehills, who offer very different training opportunities.

I will say though, if you do choose to speak about your other offers, be willing (and prepared) to justify your applications!

2. Touching on how to excel in group exercises, broadly speaking my advice would be to view the others on the AC as your teammates rather than competition. Apart from anything, it means that the experience for you (if you are anything like me) will be a lot more pleasant and you may even keep in touch afterwards (as I did in mine). I speak about this in this post, which might be worth checking out.

I also thought it might be helpful to link you to some of the best posts on TCLA about group exercises too. @James Carrabino did two fantastic posts here and here about group exercises and presentations. @Dheepa's post is also definitely worth taking a look at!

I hope that with these tips in mind you might find the idea of group exercises a little less daunting. I empathise with you though. Ultimately remember that you have every right to speak, contribute and make a success out of the exercise (just as much as everyone else). These are stressful experiences, so it is absolutely normal to feel this way.

3. I thought that this thread would be worth checking out on imposter syndrome. Please remember that the community is here to support you. I am delighted that you feel comfortable enough to post questions on here too. As I said above, you are not in the position that you are in by chance. You have been selected because firms have seen something in you.

Feel free to come back with any further questions if you would like! I hope this was helpful 🙌
 
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nisadee

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Oct 9, 2019
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Hey @nisadee,

I hope you don't mind me giving some thoughts on the above too!

1. I thought this post where I outlined my thoughts on this question might be helpful here. Ultimately it is a personal choice what you divulge in an interview scenario. That being said, I really do not think that there is any harm in being honest here. Firms know that TCs are extremely competitive. They also know that people often send applications before they are set on exactly the sort of firm that they want to work for. I think this is the norm honestly.

So personally I don't think it is any bad thing to suggest that you are being prudent about the (frankly extremely important) career choice that you are about to make by experiencing a range of firms. For example, I was never criticised by any of the firms I received VS offers from about the firms I had obtained VS offers with. For context, two of these firms were Akin Gump and Herbert Smith Freehills, who offer very different training opportunities.

I will say though, if you do choose to speak about your other offers, be willing (and prepared) to justify your applications!

2. Touching on how to excel in group exercises, broadly speaking my advice would be to view the others on the AC as your teammates rather than competition. Apart from anything, it means that the experience for you (if you are anything like me) will be a lot more pleasant and you may even keep in touch afterwards (as I did in mine). I speak about this in this post, which might be worth checking out.

I also thought it might be helpful to link you to some of the best posts on TCLA about group exercises too. @James Carrabino did two fantastic posts here and here about group exercises and presentations. @Dheepa's post is also definitely worth taking a look at!

I hope that with these tips in mind you might find the idea of group exercises a little less daunting. I empathise with you though. Ultimately remember that you have every right to speak, contribute and make a success out of the exercise (just as much as everyone else). These are stressful experiences, so it is absolutely normal to feel this way.

3. I thought that this thread would be worth checking out on imposter syndrome. Please remember that the community is here to support you. I am delighted that you feel comfortable enough to post questions on here too. As I said above, you are not in the position that you are in by chance. You have been selected because firms have seen something in you.

Feel free to come back with any further questions if you would like! I hope this was helpful 🙌
Hi George,

Firstly, thank you for your unique insight and advice, it has really eased my mind.

I definitely agree with your point about wanting to try out different firms and having the right to do that. Ultimately, we may say we are interested in one type of law but how do we really know that unless we have tried others? This, paired with how competitive TC offers are, form my rationale for applying to a diverse range of firms. I hope to communicate this to my interviewers and ultimately convince them that they are my number one choice.

Also, thank you so much for all the resources! :)
 
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James Carrabino

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Hi everyone,

Just wondering, if you arrange a quick coffee with someone during your vac scheme, would it be rude to take a notebook with you to make notes? I don't want it to feel like an interview haha
Hi @nisadee this is a great question!

I do not think it would be rude as long as you ask for their permission to take notes first - they may be hoping to keep the conversation off the record! Just tell them that you are really interested in their work and would love to keep notes to jog your memory later on and if they give you their permission, great!

If you have their permission, then as long as you act naturally in the conversation and keep your notes brief (so that there is not a long pause after every time they say something whilst you finish writing it down, for example) then taking notes could actually help demonstrate that you are attentive and engaged in the conversation.

I hope that helps :)
 

James Carrabino

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Premium Member
Forum Team
Junior Lawyer 11
Oct 12, 2021
661
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Hi @Dheepa

I have a few questions regarding a vac scheme I'll be starting very soon! I'd really appreciate your advice on my concerns.

1) In my vac scheme interview, they asked me what firms I applied to and I only mentioned their competitors. However, I actually ended up securing vac schemes at another two firms which are hugely different from theirs- like, completely different- think Latham and Farrer & Co different. Ultimately, their firm is my dream firm but I applied to lots of firms as I know how competitive the process is and how a lot of it comes down to numbers and luck. I feel in my final TC interview they'll ask about any other offers. Should I disclose these firms? I'm worried I'll be scrutinised for my choices and how I can convincingly rationalise this to them. On the other hand, if I kept it to myself, would this be the better approach? I've also heard mentioning you have multiple offers makes you look like a stronger candidate?

2) Do you have any tips on how to remain calm and perform well on group negotiations and presentations? Group assessed tasks always make me the most nervous.

3) And finally, any last minute tips on how to deal with imposter syndrome? I still can't believe I was selected for this vac scheme.

Thank you so much!
Hi @nisadee you have received some exceptional advice from @George Maxwell so I don't have too much to add!

1) First of all, congratulations on getting both vac schemes!! It is especially impressive that you received offers from two very different firms as it demonstrates how versatile of a candidate you are :)

Your question is a bit of a tricky one, because if the firms are as different as Latham and Farrer & Co then they really are very different... you don't want to appear to have applied randomly (although I took the exact same approach - I applied widely, partly to get a sense of which firms did work that interested me and also to work out what kinds of firms took an interest in me)!

To this end, I would be willing to discuss the offers you have as it is incredibly impressive that you received them, but I would not justify your interest in these firms 'because a lot of it comes down to numbers or luck' or because you 'want to try out a bunch of different things'.

As an applicant you need to sound like you know what you are looking for, so I would find one thing at each firm that really stands out to you and be willing to explain why that particularly appealed to you - having multiple targeted interests is fine. I would then assess which of the two firms is most similar to the one you are currently interviewing for and then say why you think that you are going to enjoy that firm's vac scheme more as you really want to get X, Y and Z out of your vac scheme and ultimately out of your career.

To finish off your answer, relate your motivation back to the current firm you are interviewing for and you will have had the opportunity to elaborate on your motivations in addition to answering the specific question addressed to you :)

2) @George has provided plenty of great resources here but I would just add @Jacob Miller's celebrated 'Definitive Guide to Assessed Negotiations'!

3) I don't have much to add here that the imposter syndrome thread doesn't touch on...except you weren't just 'selected for this vac scheme', you were selected for two vac schemes (or more?)! I would never say that getting a single vac scheme is lucky, given how involved the process is - writing a top-notch application form, passing tests/video interviews/performing extremely well at all stages of an AC and beating out hundreds of other candidates in the process - but TWO vac schemes shows that you are absolutely a world-class applicant and nothing can stop you :D


I hope that all of this is helpful - please do reach out if you have any further questions!
 

George Maxwell

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TCLA Moderator
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Premium Member
Junior Lawyer 50
Oct 25, 2021
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Hi @nisadee you have received some exceptional advice from @George Maxwell so I don't have too much to add!

1) First of all, congratulations on getting both vac schemes!! It is especially impressive that you received offers from two very different firms as it demonstrates how versatile of a candidate you are :)

Your question is a bit of a tricky one, because if the firms are as different as Latham and Farrer & Co then they really are very different... you don't want to appear to have applied randomly (although I took the exact same approach - I applied widely, partly to get a sense of which firms did work that interested me and also to work out what kinds of firms took an interest in me)!

To this end, I would be willing to discuss the offers you have as it is incredibly impressive that you received them, but I would not justify your interest in these firms 'because a lot of it comes down to numbers or luck' or because you 'want to try out a bunch of different things'.

As an applicant you need to sound like you know what you are looking for, so I would find one thing at each firm that really stands out to you and be willing to explain why that particularly appealed to you - having multiple targeted interests is fine. I would then assess which of the two firms is most similar to the one you are currently interviewing for and then say why you think that you are going to enjoy that firm's vac scheme more as you really want to get X, Y and Z out of your vac scheme and ultimately out of your career.

To finish off your answer, relate your motivation back to the current firm you are interviewing for and you will have had the opportunity to elaborate on your motivations in addition to answering the specific question addressed to you :)

2) @George has provided plenty of great resources here but I would just add @Jacob Miller's celebrated 'Definitive Guide to Assessed Negotiations'!

3) I don't have much to add here that the imposter syndrome thread doesn't touch on...except you weren't just 'selected for this vac scheme', you were selected for two vac schemes (or more?)! I would never say that getting a single vac scheme is lucky, given how involved the process is - writing a top-notch application form, passing tests/video interviews/performing extremely well at all stages of an AC and beating out hundreds of other candidates in the process - but TWO vac schemes shows that you are absolutely a world-class applicant and nothing can stop you :D


I hope that all of this is helpful - please do reach out if you have any further questions!
@James Carrabino I really like what you have said here about "multiple targeted interests". @nisadee I think this is a key point!
 

futuretraineesolicitor

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Dec 14, 2019
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Hi, everyone. Hope you all are doing well. Quick question please. I secured the third rank in a legal opinion writing contest but I do not know how many people it was against? I tried to access this information by contacting the organisers but they haven't replied to me. What should I do to make my achievement sound impressive? It was a big competition so I'm sure it must have attracted atleast a 100 participants but then I have no idea of how accurate this info is.
 

AvniD

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Oct 25, 2021
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Hi, everyone. Hope you all are doing well. Quick question please. I secured the third rank in a legal opinion writing contest but I do not know how many people it was against? I tried to access this information by contacting the organisers but they haven't replied to me. What should I do to make my achievement sound impressive? It was a big competition so I'm sure it must have attracted atleast a 100 participants but then I have no idea of how accurate this info is.
Just saying you secured third place is impressive to me!
 

nisadee

Esteemed Member
Gold Member
Oct 9, 2019
94
117
Hi @nisadee you have received some exceptional advice from @George Maxwell so I don't have too much to add!

1) First of all, congratulations on getting both vac schemes!! It is especially impressive that you received offers from two very different firms as it demonstrates how versatile of a candidate you are :)

Your question is a bit of a tricky one, because if the firms are as different as Latham and Farrer & Co then they really are very different... you don't want to appear to have applied randomly (although I took the exact same approach - I applied widely, partly to get a sense of which firms did work that interested me and also to work out what kinds of firms took an interest in me)!

To this end, I would be willing to discuss the offers you have as it is incredibly impressive that you received them, but I would not justify your interest in these firms 'because a lot of it comes down to numbers or luck' or because you 'want to try out a bunch of different things'.

As an applicant you need to sound like you know what you are looking for, so I would find one thing at each firm that really stands out to you and be willing to explain why that particularly appealed to you - having multiple targeted interests is fine. I would then assess which of the two firms is most similar to the one you are currently interviewing for and then say why you think that you are going to enjoy that firm's vac scheme more as you really want to get X, Y and Z out of your vac scheme and ultimately out of your career.

To finish off your answer, relate your motivation back to the current firm you are interviewing for and you will have had the opportunity to elaborate on your motivations in addition to answering the specific question addressed to you :)

2) @George has provided plenty of great resources here but I would just add @Jacob Miller's celebrated 'Definitive Guide to Assessed Negotiations'!

3) I don't have much to add here that the imposter syndrome thread doesn't touch on...except you weren't just 'selected for this vac scheme', you were selected for two vac schemes (or more?)! I would never say that getting a single vac scheme is lucky, given how involved the process is - writing a top-notch application form, passing tests/video interviews/performing extremely well at all stages of an AC and beating out hundreds of other candidates in the process - but TWO vac schemes shows that you are absolutely a world-class applicant and nothing can stop you :D


I hope that all of this is helpful - please do reach out if you have any further questions!

Hi James

Thank you for this - it is incredibly helpful!

I will definitely think about how to justify my vac scheme offers before mentioning it in interview.
 
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nisadee

Esteemed Member
Gold Member
Oct 9, 2019
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117
Hi @nisadee this is a great question!

I do not think it would be rude as long as you ask for their permission to take notes first - they may be hoping to keep the conversation off the record! Just tell them that you are really interested in their work and would love to keep notes to jog your memory later on and if they give you their permission, great!

If you have their permission, then as long as you act naturally in the conversation and keep your notes brief (so that there is not a long pause after every time they say something whilst you finish writing it down, for example) then taking notes could actually help demonstrate that you are attentive and engaged in the conversation.

I hope that helps :)
Thank you so much!
 
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futuretraineesolicitor

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Dec 14, 2019
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Hello, @James Carrabino @AvniD @George Maxwell, hope you all are doing well. Could you please help me out with something? So, I applied to Links and CC but got rejected.

Q1: I have now applied to Ashurst and I was wondering how I would handle questions like "What is your application strategy?" I have had no strategy other than applying to firms that do M&A, PE etc. and provide good training. These are the only 2 points that I considered but I do not know if this is sufficient or not. What other commonalities can I include in this answer? I'm just confused.

Q2: Also, Links and CC have large trainee intakes but Ashurst has a smaller intake, so I don't know how to justify this. Can I simply say that the size of the cohort does not matter to me?

Q3: There was also a question that I had read which was something along the lines of "Would you have taken a TC from Links/CC as they were your employers of choice?" I have no idea how to answer this one. I would have obviously accepted the TC but I know that I cannot say this in the Ashurst interview, then what do I say?

Thanks in advance.
 
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James Carrabino

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Oct 12, 2021
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Hello, @James Carrabino @AvniD @George Maxwell, hope you all are doing well. Could you please help me out with something? So, I applied to Links and CC but got rejected.

Q1: I have now applied to Ashurst and I was wondering how I would handle questions like "What is your application strategy?" I have had no strategy other than applying to firms that do M&A, PE etc. and provide good training. These are the only 2 points that I considered but I do not know if this is sufficient or not. What other commonalities can I include in this answer? I'm just confused.

Q2: Also, Links and CC have large trainee intakes but Ashurst has a smaller intake, so I don't know how to justify this. Can I simply say that the size of the cohort does not matter to me?

Q3: There was also a question that I had read which was something along the lines of "Would you have taken a TC from Links/CC as they were your employers of choice?" I have no idea how to answer this one. I would have obviously accepted the TC but I know that I cannot say this in the Ashurst interview, then what do I say?

Thanks in advance.
Hi @futuretraineesolicitor, I think your answer to Q1 sounds pretty good! If you can explain why you are draw to firms that do M&A and PE then your answer will be even better and perhaps you can think of one or two more aspects of the firms you are applying to that are similar (e.g. are they all international?) and then explain why that interests you.

I am not sure that the size of the trainee intake is something that necessarily needs to be justified as it is not a massively important reason to go to a firm. As long as you have strong reasons for Ashurst that seem consistent with the other firms you are applying to then I don't think they would quiz you on the size of the trainee intake.

How would they know you applied to Links and CC? You can just say that if you had been forced to make a decision within a certain timeline then you would have likely accepted but that you really want to go to Ashurst for x, y and z reason. I think it is very unlikely that they ask this though!
 

futuretraineesolicitor

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Dec 14, 2019
745
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Hello, everyone. Hope you are doing well. I just had a question about some terms and I'd be really grateful if someone could simplify them for me. I'm really confused between the meanings/objectives of three terms at the moment:

1 - New Law - Not sure about what this means. Does this mean how the legal world is changing rapidly and firms are looking for softwares so that the efficiency and the speed of the work can be improved?

2- Legal Technology - Same explanation as above but my question here is, who is the one developing these technologies? Firms like Linklaters have an in-house tech startup which creates tech for the whole firm to use but I'm confused whether firms that have in-house tech startups buy/license technologies and softwares from other companies too?

3- Legal Delivery Centres- I've heard that these centers handle admin style tasks - Freshfields has one in Manchester, Ashurst has one in Glasgow if I am not mistaken, but then - if the people at these delivery centres are using technology to handle admin tasks then why can't the trainees/associates do it themselves? I mean why do we need these centers?

Would be grateful if someone could please explain the difference between these terms.

Thanks in advance.
 

Jessica Booker

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Graduate Recruitment
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Aug 1, 2019
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Hello, everyone. Hope you are doing well. I just had a question about some terms and I'd be really grateful if someone could simplify them for me. I'm really confused between the meanings/objectives of three terms at the moment:

1 - New Law - Not sure about what this means. Does this mean how the legal world is changing rapidly and firms are looking for softwares so that the efficiency and the speed of the work can be improved?

2- Legal Technology - Same explanation as above but my question here is, who is the one developing these technologies? Firms like Linklaters have an in-house tech startup which creates tech for the whole firm to use but I'm confused whether firms that have in-house tech startups buy/license technologies and softwares from other companies too?

3- Legal Delivery Centres- I've heard that these centers handle admin style tasks - Freshfields has one in Manchester, Ashurst has one in Glasgow if I am not mistaken, but then - if the people at these delivery centres are using technology to handle admin tasks then why can't the trainees/associates do it themselves? I mean why do we need these centers?

Would be grateful if someone could please explain the difference between these terms.

Thanks in advance.
1) New law is generally a term to describe roles within law firms that are not solicitors but that are fundamental to providing client services. So it can be anything from strategy roles, tech roles etc. Consider it as a consulting role within a law firm.

2) It will be a mixture of the ways you have described. Some are developing the technology in-house, some are licencing it from suppliers, others are creating JVs with tech companies/start-ups. Given the range of technologies available and how they could be applied, you could work with one firm and find they have their own tech team, numerous suppliers they buy products/services from, and have either created JVs/invested in tech companies/start-ups to help future proof their business.

3) There is still admin to do even if some of it is automated. There will still be some manual processes even if its just to ensure the technology has done something correctly. So, rather than getting a trainee to do the work, you pay someone who just specialises in delivering the admin and pay them 50% less. So rather than a trainee taking an hour to do something because they don't do it all the time and it costing a client £250, you get an admin person to do it in 20 minutes and it only costs the client £50. You then also get to charge the trainee out for £250 on something else.
 

futuretraineesolicitor

Legendary Member
Forum Winner
Dec 14, 2019
745
277
1) New law is generally a term to describe roles within law firms that are not solicitors but that are fundamental to providing client services. So it can be anything from strategy roles, tech roles etc. Consider it as a consulting role within a law firm.

2) It will be a mixture of the ways you have described. Some are developing the technology in-house, some are licencing it from suppliers, others are creating JVs with tech companies/start-ups. Given the range of technologies available and how they could be applied, you could work with one firm and find they have their own tech team, numerous suppliers they buy products/services from, and have either created JVs/invested in tech companies/start-ups to help future proof their business.

3) There is still admin to do even if some of it is automated. There will still be some manual processes even if its just to ensure the technology has done something correctly. So, rather than getting a trainee to do the work, you pay someone who just specialises in delivering the admin and pay them 50% less. So rather than a trainee taking an hour to do something because they don't do it all the time and it costing a client £250, you get an admin person to do it in 20 minutes and it only costs the client £50. You then also get to charge the trainee out for £250 on something else.
Thank you for the clarification, Jessica.
 

futuretraineesolicitor

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Dec 14, 2019
745
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Hello, @George Maxwell @James Carrabino @AvniD hope you all are well. Could you please tell me if you know of any article/resource that talks about the advantages and disadvantages of large, small and mid-sized trainee intakes? I could not find anything on the forum. Also, would be great if you could turn this into a starred thread given how this is an important topic and not much is written about this.

Thanks.
 
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Jessica Booker

Legendary Member
Graduate Recruitment
Premium Member
Forum Team
Aug 1, 2019
9,255
13,807
Hello, @George Maxwell @James Carrabino @AvniD hope you all are well. Could you please tell me if you know of any article/resource that talks about the advantages and disadvantages of large, small and mid-sized trainee intakes? I could not find anything on the forum. Also, would be great if you could turn this into a starred thread given how this is an important topic and not much is written about this.

Thanks.
Hi @futuretraineesolicitor - for the starred thread, you’ll need to create a separate thread. Unfortunately we cannot star individual posts.

What I would stress is that a lot of the themes of small vs large trainee intake don’t really work in reality and so you have to tread carefully where using them as reasons for applying. It is often much more about the ratio of trainees to qualified lawyers that is really the dynamic that people need to think about. For instance, people talk about getting more responsibilities/opportunities in a small trainee intake. But in a trainee intake of 10 in a firm with 50 lawyers vs a trainee intake of 100 in a firm of 1000 lawyers, the larger firm could give going to give you more responsibility/opportunities as the ratio of trainees is actually smaller (1:5 vs 1:10).
 

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