Ask TCLA's New Community Managers Anything!

futuretraineesolicitor

Legendary Member
Forum Winner
Dec 14, 2019
745
277
Hello @James Carrabino @AvniD @George Maxwell , hope you are doing well. Could you please help me out with a question that I am trying to have a go at? The question is "Name a story from the news; how does it affect us/our clients?"

My doubts about the question are the following:

1: How is this question different from "Tell us about a news story that you are interested in?"

2: I have absolutely no idea about what story could fit here - I can sense from the language of the question that the story needs to be of huge importance but I reckon that firms would not like the Ukraine Russia war story since it's too common. Could you suggest any story/themes that I should explore if I want to answer this question absolutely perfectly.

Thanks in advance.
 

Jessica Booker

Legendary Member
Graduate Recruitment
Premium Member
Forum Team
Aug 1, 2019
9,255
13,808
Hello @James Carrabino @AvniD @George Maxwell , hope you are doing well. Could you please help me out with a question that I am trying to have a go at? The question is "Name a story from the news; how does it affect us/our clients?"

My doubts about the question are the following:

1: How is this question different from "Tell us about a news story that you are interested in?"

2: I have absolutely no idea about what story could fit here - I can sense from the language of the question that the story needs to be of huge importance but I reckon that firms would not like the Ukraine Russia war story since it's too common. Could you suggest any story/themes that I should explore if I want to answer this question absolutely perfectly.

Thanks in advance.
Hi @futuretraineesolicitor

The question is ultimately the same, but you just don’t need to go into an explaining of why the story interests you.

It doesn’t have to have a massive impact on the firm or clients. It can just be something that does impact them in some way. For instance, does it mean the firm will have to be advising on something more to a range of clients, will it change the type of advice they are giving clients, does it impact how their clients may grow (or stagnate)? It can also be something that just impacts the firm too - does it create greater risk/opportunity for them?

The Ukraine story is just too big a story to do justice in this type of question. However, there are thousands of smaller stories within it. For instance, the Ukraine was a major economy for IT talent/professionals (ranked fourth in the world) and was a location many outsourcing companies used. Rather than talking about the Ukraine conflict more generally, talking about how a particular industry/service/product has impacted the wider economy they serve is probably a way to go. You could do that for a whole range of industries that were so prominent in the country.
 

futuretraineesolicitor

Legendary Member
Forum Winner
Dec 14, 2019
745
277
Hi @futuretraineesolicitor

The question is ultimately the same, but you just don’t need to go into an explaining of why the story interests you.

It doesn’t have to have a massive impact on the firm or clients. It can just be something that does impact them in some way. For instance, does it mean the firm will have to be advising on something more to a range of clients, will it change the type of advice they are giving clients, does it impact how their clients may grow (or stagnate)? It can also be something that just impacts the firm too - does it create greater risk/opportunity for them?

The Ukraine story is just too big a story to do justice in this type of question. However, there are thousands of smaller stories within it. For instance, the Ukraine was a major economy for IT talent/professionals (ranked fourth in the world) and was a location many outsourcing companies used. Rather than talking about the Ukraine conflict more generally, talking about how a particular industry/service/product has impacted the wider economy they serve is probably a way to go. You could do that for a whole range of industries that were so prominent in the country.
Thank you so much for your response, Jessica.
 

Heisenberg

New Member
May 29, 2022
1
0
Hello everyone! My name is Avni and I am delighted to join @George Maxwell and @James Carrabino as a Community Manager here at TCLA!

I am originally from India and moved to the UK in 2015 to pursue my undergraduate education in Law with Politics from the University of Manchester. Moving to the UK was an incredibly rewarding, yet unexpectedly challenging decision for me. Adapting to a new system of education, professional environment and culture without the support of my family and friends was undoubtedly one of the most difficult times of my life, which was also shocking because I expected this new chapter to be nothing but exciting and educational.

It took time, patience and effort to fully settle into life in the UK and embark upon a chosen career path. I followed wherever my curiosity led me and tried to gain an understanding of different legal career options during my undergrad- I undertook a mini-pupillage, attended Open Days and networking events at commercial law firms and gained work experiences with boutique firms as well.

In my final year, I was made the Editor of Manchester University Law Society’s magazine, Mandatory, and became immensely interested in a career in journalism. I worked in journalism in the UK and India to transform this interest into a serious career option. I have been fortunate to experience the inner workings of newsrooms, the camaraderie between different departments in a media organisation and understand the sheer effort that goes into producing a simple 2-minute segment within the 24-hour news machinery.

However, midway through my time as a journalist in India, I decided to move back into a career in law as I missed applying my legal analysis skills and working within the structure of law firms in the UK. I decided that undertaking my LPC MSc in Law, Business and Management would be the best way to get back into the legal world and re-familiarise myself with a career in commercial law, and I began my studies at ULaw Manchester in January 2019.

I essentially added attending careers events as a course in my timetable during my time at ULaw because of the sheer number of events I would sign up to in any given week, whether they were online, in Manchester or another city or on campus. I began making focused training contract applications in the cycle beginning in September 2019 and essentially split my applications into two batches, with the first lasting Sep-Dec 2019 and the second Mar-Jun 2020.

My first batch of applications was entirely unsuccessful and I had to return to India as I was not able to secure jobs with firms that would be willing to sponsor my work visa. I took a break from applications while I was in India and undertook work experience in private equity and venture capital with a boutique firm in New Delhi. I started applying for training contracts again in March 2020 once I felt confident that I had worked hard enough to improve my applications.

I documented my journey through my Instagram blog, Lawgically Yours, and relied on the TCLA forum for support and guidance to get through the ups and downs of the training contract application process. I eventually progressed through all the different application stages and received my training contract offer, which I gladly accepted in August 2020.

TCLA played a key role in demystifying applying for training contracts for me as a first-generation, non-UK, female aspiring solicitor, and I feel incredibly grateful to have the opportunity to pay forward the support I received in my new role as Community Manager.

I believe my greatest strength is the diversity of life experiences I have had- whether it is being a career changer, going through periods of rejection, securing a training contract, approaching the UK job market as an international applicant or approaching a career in commercial law as a student from a non-London university. You can please feel free to ask me questions about any of these experiences, and beyond!

If I had to give one single piece of advice for applying for training contracts, I would say that it is crucial for you to completely dedicate yourself to the training contract application process. Prepare for each stage with sincerity and fearlessly put in the work to get to where you want to be.

I genuinely look forward to being a part of TCLA and interacting with all of you! Please feel free to ask away!
Hi Avni,

Hope you are doing well.

By way of introduction I am a final year law student in India. Will graduate in May 2023. I am keen on applying for vac scheme/training contract positions at international law firms. However, I am unsure as to what I am eligible for at this stage and whether this is even feasible for me. After doing my preliminary research, I have found out that although its not a pre-requisite but most firms roll out TCs to their vac schme candidates. I am aware of the fact that some firms do take in direct trainees as well. It would be great if we can have a detailed discussion on this.

Best,
Heisenberg.
 

futuretraineesolicitor

Legendary Member
Forum Winner
Dec 14, 2019
745
277
Hello, @James Carrabino @George Maxwell @AvniD . Hope you all are doing well. This might be a stupid question but I'd be grateful if someone could clarify it for me.

1. When interviewers ask you "Why law?" vs. when they ask you "Why commercial law?", how is our answer supposed to differ? I'm assuming that with the former, we are being asked why we chose to do a law degree (if we are a law student) but for the other question, the interviewer is looking for our story that highlights the elements of commercial law that we like as explained by our experiences.

2. I'm also wondering if it'd be okay to clarify this during the interview since no approach is really set in stone IMO.

3. Also, for "Why commercial law?", should we automatically cover why we want to pursue it at a big law firm in London as opposed to pursuing it in our home country? (I'm from India and never been to the UK) Or, should we wait for the interviewer to ask us "Why London?" separately?

Chances are I have asked this question on the forum but I'm still sure that I don't get it. Would be grateful if someone could please clarify.
 
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George Maxwell

Legendary Member
Staff member
TCLA Moderator
Gold Member
Premium Member
Junior Lawyer 50
Oct 25, 2021
546
1,048
Hello, @James Carrabino @George Maxwell @AvniD . Hope you all are doing well. This might be a stupid question but I'd be grateful if someone could clarify it for me.

1. When interviewers ask you "Why law?" vs. when they ask you "Why commercial law?", how is our answer supposed to differ? I'm assuming that with the former, we are being asked why we chose to do a law degree (if we are a law student) but for the other question, the interviewer is looking for our story that highlights the elements of commercial law that we like as explained by our experiences.

2. I'm also wondering if it'd be okay to clarify this during the interview since no approach is really set in stone IMO.

3. Also, for "Why commercial law?", should we automatically cover why we want to pursue it at a big law firm in London as opposed to pursuing it in our home country? (I'm from India and never been to the UK) Or, should we wait for the interviewer to ask us "Why London?" separately?

Chances are I have asked this question on the forum but I'm still sure that I don't get it. Would be grateful if someone could please clarify.
Hey @futuretraineesolicitor,

I just wanted to let you know that I have seen your message and will aim to get back to it this afternoon!
 

George Maxwell

Legendary Member
Staff member
TCLA Moderator
Gold Member
Premium Member
Junior Lawyer 50
Oct 25, 2021
546
1,048
Hello, @James Carrabino @George Maxwell @AvniD . Hope you all are doing well. This might be a stupid question but I'd be grateful if someone could clarify it for me.

1. When interviewers ask you "Why law?" vs. when they ask you "Why commercial law?", how is our answer supposed to differ? I'm assuming that with the former, we are being asked why we chose to do a law degree (if we are a law student) but for the other question, the interviewer is looking for our story that highlights the elements of commercial law that we like as explained by our experiences.

2. I'm also wondering if it'd be okay to clarify this during the interview since no approach is really set in stone IMO.

3. Also, for "Why commercial law?", should we automatically cover why we want to pursue it at a big law firm in London as opposed to pursuing it in our home country? (I'm from India and never been to the UK) Or, should we wait for the interviewer to ask us "Why London?" separately?

Chances are I have asked this question on the forum but I'm still sure that I don't get it. Would be grateful if someone could please clarify.
Hi @futuretraineesolicitor,

It's lovely to hear from you again! It feels like quite a long time since we last interacted on the forum.

Just to caveat the below, this is only my opinion. Different interviewers are likely to expect different things from your answer to this question, so as with all questions, it is important that you go with what you feel is right/comfortable. There is no 'right' answer here ultimately.

1. From my perspective, the answers to these two questions should be distinct, although there is likely going to be some overlap in the content of your answers.

I think "Why law?" can be interpreted in two ways: 'why did you study law?' and 'why do you want to become a lawyer?'. This should be made clear by your interviewer and the context of the line of questioning. I will concentrate on the latter. I would therefore interpret this question as aiming to find out why you wish to do a job which, for example, requires high attention to detail, is intellectual, (often) requires teamwork and requires strong reasoning and language skills. It seeks to find out why you are seeking to work in the legal industry in general. This includes a large range of practice areas, such as those listed below (e.g., family and criminal law).

Think about what these different practice areas have in common that other careers lack. To prepare for this question, I would encourage you to compare law with other professional careers from your perspective, such as medicine, accountancy or dentistry. Why do you want to be a lawyer and not a an engineer or a management consultant?

"Why commercial law?" is narrower. It requires you to justify why working in a commercial context, albeit from a legal perspective, appeals to you. Commercial law firms generally work on matters that involve corporate entities, or persons involved (in some way) with the buying and selling of goods/services. Why does this appeal to you more than media, family or criminal law, for example? Do you have any experiences that you can use to demonstrate your interest in commerce perhaps?

2. In short, yes I think it is. Although, I don't think that you should need to as I think it should be made obvious by the context. Even if it isn't, try to incorporate your "Why commercial law?" answer into your "Why law?" answer.

The way I approached "Why law?" in an interview, was to start with explaining why I was interested in law in general, before justifying my interest in commercial law specifically. I always tried to keep my answers as succinct as possible, so if I felt like my answer was too long, I would briefly introduce my reasoning, and offer to go into further detail if they wished. My aim was to make sure my answers logically flowed from one another. I did this by highlighting the specific things about being a lawyer that attracted me, before demonstrating why these were most strongly associated with commercial law.

One thing to highlight, is to ensure that there is consistency between your answers. In interview if you are asked "Why commercial law?", try to cover both bases (i.e., "Why law?" and "Why commercial law?") in your answer if you can. This will avoid your interviewers pursuing searching follow-up questions to try to delineate why you are interested specifically in commercial law. They will only do this if your initial answer raises any doubts. For example, if you highlight in your answer that you really like the idea of interacting with clients in addition to doing a job that requires high attention to detail; your interviewer may ask why you didn't consider family law over commercial law. This isn't necessarily a problem, but as far as possible, you should aim to make your "Why commercial law?" answer logically flow from your "Why law?" answer.

3. I don't think that you need to try to justify why UK commercial law in your answer over practicing overseas specifically. It is of course your decision if you wish to do this, but if your interviewers are interested, they may ask you a follow-up. This is your decision though! I would be careful of trying to fit too much in your answers. Your answer could be fantastic, but if you lose the focus or interest of your interviewer (as a result of speaking for too long), it is likely to negatively impact your interview score.

Hope that helps! 🚀
 

futuretraineesolicitor

Legendary Member
Forum Winner
Dec 14, 2019
745
277
Hi @futuretraineesolicitor,

It's lovely to hear from you again! It feels like quite a long time since we last interacted on the forum.

Just to caveat the below, this is only my opinion. Different interviewers are likely to expect different things from your answer to this question, so as with all questions, it is important that you go with what you feel is right/comfortable. There is no 'right' answer here ultimately.

1. From my perspective, the answers to these two questions should be distinct, although there is likely going to be some overlap in the content of your answers.

I think "Why law?" can be interpreted in two ways: 'why did you study law?' and 'why do you want to become a lawyer?'. This should be made clear by your interviewer and the context of the line of questioning. I will concentrate on the latter. I would therefore interpret this question as aiming to find out why you wish to do a job which, for example, requires high attention to detail, is intellectual, (often) requires teamwork and requires strong reasoning and language skills. It seeks to find out why you are seeking to work in the legal industry in general. This includes a large range of practice areas, such as those listed below (e.g., family and criminal law).

Think about what these different practice areas have in common that other careers lack. To prepare for this question, I would encourage you to compare law with other professional careers from your perspective, such as medicine, accountancy or dentistry. Why do you want to be a lawyer and not a an engineer or a management consultant?

"Why commercial law?" is narrower. It requires you to justify why working in a commercial context, albeit from a legal perspective, appeals to you. Commercial law firms generally work on matters that involve corporate entities, or persons involved (in some way) with the buying and selling of goods/services. Why does this appeal to you more than media, family or criminal law, for example? Do you have any experiences that you can use to demonstrate your interest in commerce perhaps?

2. In short, yes I think it is. Although, I don't think that you should need to as I think it should be made obvious by the context. Even if it isn't, try to incorporate your "Why commercial law?" answer into your "Why law?" answer.

The way I approached "Why law?" in an interview, was to start with explaining why I was interested in law in general, before justifying my interest in commercial law specifically. I always tried to keep my answers as succinct as possible, so if I felt like my answer was too long, I would briefly introduce my reasoning, and offer to go into further detail if they wished. My aim was to make sure my answers logically flowed from one another. I did this by highlighting the specific things about being a lawyer that attracted me, before demonstrating why these were most strongly associated with commercial law.

One thing to highlight, is to ensure that there is consistency between your answers. In interview if you are asked "Why commercial law?", try to cover both bases (i.e., "Why law?" and "Why commercial law?") in your answer if you can. This will avoid your interviewers pursuing searching follow-up questions to try to delineate why you are interested specifically in commercial law. They will only do this if your initial answer raises any doubts. For example, if you highlight in your answer that you really like the idea of interacting with clients in addition to doing a job that requires high attention to detail; your interviewer may ask why you didn't consider family law over commercial law. This isn't necessarily a problem, but as far as possible, you should aim to make your "Why commercial law?" answer logically flow from your "Why law?" answer.

3. I don't think that you need to try to justify why UK commercial law in your answer over practicing overseas specifically. It is of course your decision if you wish to do this, but if your interviewers are interested, they may ask you a follow-up. This is your decision though! I would be careful of trying to fit too much in your answers. Your answer could be fantastic, but if you lose the focus or interest of your interviewer (as a result of speaking for too long), it is likely to negatively impact your interview score.

Hope that helps! 🚀
Thank you so much for this answer, George.
 
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DTB

Well-Known Member
Dec 21, 2019
22
14
Hi @AvniD,

Hope you are well!

I read from your introduction how as an international student you managed to secure a TC while not in the UK. That is amazing! I am from Delhi as well, and worried about my visa status. I am currently in the UK, and planning on applying for the graduate work visa scheme, but I am worried it may not work out. I was wondering if you could talk about your experience of applying from out of the UK and if there are firms that let you apply/interview even if you are not physically in the UK?

You also mentioned you were unsuccessful in your first batch of applications - as someone who will be applying for the first time and has limited time in the country I am worried about not making it in time - I was wondering if you could share guidance on how you improved from your first to second batch of applications and some key mistakes you realised you made during the first round of applications?

Thank you so much!
 
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Jessica Booker

Legendary Member
Graduate Recruitment
Premium Member
Forum Team
Aug 1, 2019
9,255
13,808
Hi @AvniD,

Hope you are well!

I read from your introduction how as an international student you managed to secure a TC while not in the UK. That is amazing! I am from Delhi as well, and worried about my visa status. I am currently in the UK, and planning on applying for the graduate work visa scheme, but I am worried it may not work out. I was wondering if you could talk about your experience of applying from out of the UK and if there are firms that let you apply/interview even if you are not physically in the UK?

You also mentioned you were unsuccessful in your first batch of applications - as someone who will be applying for the first time and has limited time in the country I am worried about not making it in time - I was wondering if you could share guidance on how you improved from your first to second batch of applications and some key mistakes you realised you made during the first round of applications?

Thank you so much!
Out of interest, which uni and what year did you graduate?
 

Jessica Booker

Legendary Member
Graduate Recruitment
Premium Member
Forum Team
Aug 1, 2019
9,255
13,808
Soas, Uni of London in 2021! I am doing the LPC now at BPP University - the window for receiving my final grades and applying for the work visa is very short - so any potential delay by BPP University in releasing grades would make it impossible for me to apply for my work visa
Soas, Uni of London in 2021! I am doing the LPC now at BPP University - the window for receiving my final grades and applying for the work visa is very short - so any potential delay by BPP University in releasing grades would make it impossible for me to apply for my work visa
I very much doubt BPP will delay results - they don’t want to be associated with people not being able to get visas due to their processes.

If you do end up leaving the U.K. and not staying on a graduate visa, many firms will offer virtual recruitment processes, so I don’t think it is the end of the world. The skilled persons visa came in in 2021 and it means it is much easier to secure a visa if you are applying from outside of the U.K.
 

George Maxwell

Legendary Member
Staff member
TCLA Moderator
Gold Member
Premium Member
Junior Lawyer 50
Oct 25, 2021
546
1,048
Hi @George Maxwell

How are you?

I recently secured a vacation scheme (my first ever scheme) with Herbert Smith Freehills and was wondering if you could possibly offer any tips/advice on how to excel during the scheme in order to secure the training contract.

Kind regards,
Hey Ami!

Thank you for this question - I'm delighted to help.

1. The following really is my approach. There is no one way of being successful on a vacation scheme. My approach worked for me, but that's not to say it would for everyone. So first tip: be your authentic self. Follow your interests and be honest with yourself and those around you about what you enjoy. For example, if you would like to speak to people in a particular practice area, let your supervisor and buddy know as early in the scheme as possible, as they may be able to connect you with someone relevant to your interest.

2. This post might be helpful. Further up the same thread, there are also some fantastic posts which I would recommend reading. This and this post also sum up many of my thoughts on this.

3. Broadly speaking and further to the linked posts above, I think enthusiasm, curiosity, proactivity and diligence will carry you far. If you can demonstrate that you tried your best, you are enthusiastic and genuinely interested, you will impress. Remember that your supervisor and buddy are likely to be busy. Try to enhance their week by showing interest in their work. Having a demotivated, unambitious vacation schemer must be miserable.

4. Actively seek feedback. I always explicitly told my supervisors that I would appreciate feedback on all aspects of my work before the end of the scheme (where possible). Telling your supervisor at the very start of the scheme will ensure that they actively consider your performance. This will likely result in you getting more specific, useful feedback. In addition, asking for feedback shows maturity and a willingness to develop. These are (from what I am told) the characteristics which often are the difference between good and fantastic trainees.

5. Don't be afraid to be vulnerable and honest. You aren't a robot. The lawyers surrounding you won't be either. It is ok to admit that you are struggling with something, are nervous, or that you found something challenging. Being open and vulnerable is (in my opinion) a strength. It demonstrates self-confidence and honesty (even perceived authenticity).

I hope that the above helps. Please do reach out any time by tagging me on the forum and I would be more than happy to add value where I can.

For what it's worth, although the scheme was stressful, I really did enjoy it. I learned a lot and met some fantastic people. It is an opportunity to have an insight into one of the most prestigious law firms in the UK, if not the world, so really go for it!
 
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Ami

Star Member
  • Dec 27, 2018
    46
    57
    Hey Ami!

    Thank you for this question - I'm delighted to help.

    1. The following really is my approach. There is no one way of being successful on a vacation scheme. My approach worked for me, but that's not to say it would for everyone. So first tip: be your authentic self. Follow your interests and be honest with yourself and those around you about what you enjoy. For example, if you would like to speak to people in a particular practice area, let your supervisor and buddy know as early in the scheme as possible, as they may be able to connect you with someone relevant to your interest.

    2. This post might be helpful. Further up the same thread, there are also some fantastic posts which I would recommend reading. This and this post also sum up many of my thoughts on this.

    3. Broadly speaking and further to the linked posts above, I think enthusiasm, curiosity, proactivity and diligence will carry you far. If you can demonstrate that you tried your best, you are enthusiastic and genuinely interested, you will impress. Remember that your supervisor and buddy are likely to be busy. Try to enhance their week by showing interest in their work. Having a demotivated, unambitious vacation schemer must be miserable.

    4. Actively seek feedback. I always explicitly told my supervisors that I would appreciate feedback on all aspects of my work before the end of the scheme (where possible). Telling your supervisor at the very start of the scheme will ensure that they actively consider your performance. This will likely result in you getting more specific, useful feedback. In addition, asking for feedback shows maturity and a willingness to develop. These are (from what I am told) the characteristics which often are the difference between good and fantastic trainees.

    5. Don't be afraid to be vulnerable and honest. You aren't a robot. The lawyers surrounding you won't be either. It is ok to admit that you are struggling with something, are nervous, or that you found something challenging. Being open and vulnerable is (in my opinion) a strength. It demonstrates self-confidence and honesty (even perceived authenticity).

    I hope that the above helps. Please do reach out any time by tagging me on the forum and I would be more than happy to add value where I can.

    For what it's worth, although the scheme was stressful, I really did enjoy it. I learned a lot and met some fantastic people. It is an opportunity to have an insight into one of the most prestigious law firms in the UK, if not the world, so really go for it!
    Thank you George, I really appreciate your advice and tips! This is extremely helpful 🙌
     
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