Self-Esteem

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by jennifer.o, Jul 30, 2020.

  1. jennifer.o

    jennifer.o Active Member

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    Does anyone else have any experience of not feeling "good enough" for law firms?

    Like I know that law is hard and I knew what I was getting myself in, but between rejections and seeing people on LinkedIn who have achieved so much more than you, how does one cope with the lowered self-esteem?

    Any advice would be deeply appreciated because I'm the only one in my group of friends in the legal field and I'm tired of crying over rejections!
     
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  2. Daniel Boden

    Daniel Boden Legendary Member
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    Hey Jennifer,

    Thank you so much for sharing this - it's very brave of you!

    Firstly, you should know that what you're feeling is completely normal! Everyone goes through these feelings of not feeling quite good enough and it is totally natural to feel a bit down. Law is an incredibly cutthroat industry and the application process is particularly brutal. Take people's posts on LinkedIn with a pinch of salt, it really is the 'business instagram' where people only put their successes and very rarely put their rejections or failures.

    I remember feeling very down after getting rejected post-vacation scheme with Weil, a rejection made all the harder to take when both of my supervisors told me on the scheme they were recommending me for a TC! But, I'm a believer that everything happens for a reason and had I not been rejected from Weil, I never would have met or accepted Gibson Dunn and am certain they are the firm for me.

    My advice to you would to take a few days/weeks off and completely forget about law and applications. Give yourself a break and regroup, see some friends, eat some nice food, drink some nice wine (if you are so inclined) and then head back into applications with renewed energy and focus.

    The fact you are reaching out to this community is a great first step. @Alice G is fantastic with these kinds of posts so I'm sure she will have some thoughts too :)

    You're not alone in this and it is a question of when not if - just try and stick with it and you will get there :)
     
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  3. Simon Evans

    Simon Evans Standard Member

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    Hi Jennifer

    Thank you for sharing.

    Great advice from Daniel.

    I'm new to the process but as a career changer I am used to disappointment and rejection. I have narrowly missed out on promotion before when I thought it was a cert, only to get it the next year but with a much better location! I often find it is always worse at the time but when you look back, you realise that things happen for a reason. The small things in our lives make us who we are. We're each on our own journey and every setback gets us a little closer to where we are going.

    I haven't got any friends in the legal sector either. Until recently, the only lawyer i'd ever met was when I bought my house but I see there are plenty of supportive people on this forum.

    I would say you are definitely not alone but people often share their successes and not their rejections. That can lead us to think it's only us who haven't secured a training contract, VS etc!

    Have a little break and come back stronger. You are definitely not alone!

    Simon
     
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  4. jennifer.o

    jennifer.o Active Member

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    Thank you guys so so much for your responses.

    @Daniel Boden "cutthroat" is an understatement when it comes to defining a career in law I remember I asked for feedback for a part-time legal role I applied for and I was essentially told that I was good, but other candidates were better!!

    But you're absolutely right. I'm going to watch some Netflix and try to stay away from my emails. Congratulations on Gibson Dunn btw, I've seen your posts in the past and you deserve it so much!

    And @Simon Evans, thank you for uour encouraging words! I really do hope I can look back and laugh at myself for crying over rejections!

    This is why I like this forum so much, I really feel like everyone is on the same boat and trying to help each other "make it" so to speak.
     
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  5. Zsaurcaks1

    Zsaurcaks1 Distinguished Member
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    To add to the good suggestions above, have a look at the ‘hearing back from law firms, assessment centres..’ thread. There is some really great advice on there about avoiding comparison, as well as a nice group of people you can turn to who might be feeling similar. Really hope things get better soon :)
     
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  6. Jessica Booker

    Jessica Booker Legendary Member
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    It would be easier for me to count the number of lawyers I have recruited/worked with that hadn’t experienced some form of major self doubt than it would be to count those who had.

    Lawyers have to deal with being unsuccessful all the time - being told your work needs to be better, not winning a pitch, not get a deal over the line, losing a case in court, getting passed up for promotion, not getting the secondment you wanted. Because of that self doubt has a tendency to creep in from time to time - the main thing is how you deal with that doubt and turn it around into a positive thing, by it either driving you on to do something else, learning something new and thinking how you might do things differently next time.

    Ignore LinkedIn - it’s the worst brag-fest out there (of which I am equally guilty). People tends to put very specific information out there will a very specific agenda. It doesn’t really portray real life at all, so try not to get caught up comparing yourselves to others on there.
     
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  7. CarinaH

    CarinaH Star Member
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    Hey Jennifer,

    thank you so much for sharing how you feel, it’s really brave to put these feelings out in the open.

    I wrote posted the below on my Instagram yesterday, so I thought I share it on here.

    Especially with social media being full of people talking about TC offers at the moment, it’s hard to not forget about the journey it took to get there. My first cycle was absolutely rubbish. I did way too many applications and got through to an in person interview and a phone interview for two of them. I basically had no clue what i was doing. I felt so defeated seeing all the rejections trickle in and having to go into my emails filled me with dread. Some rejections I was able to brush off, while others left me in floods of tears. I had spent so many hours on them and didn’t even make it past the initial application stage. I genuinely didn’t want to go through another cycle and having to deal with all the rejection all over again. After wallowing in my misery for a little bit (dramatic, I know) I started to make a short list of firms I wanted to apply to and did my research early, so I was able to hit the ground running when the applications opened in August/September. I looked back at my applications and quickly realised that many of them weren’t as good as I thought they were, so I spent a lot of time improving them. I did 10 applications for my second cycle (all before Christmas) and got through to the next stage for 9 of them. Funnily enough, the application I didn’t make it to the next stage for was the one I spent by far the most time on. Another painful rejection post WG was by a firm I was convinced was a great fit for me at the time (even though I hadn’t even met them!) and let me tell you, I was inconsolable. It was the day of my office Christmas party and my poor boss and colleagues tried the entire evening to lift me up until I left early and went home to stew in my misery some more. They rejected me because they had already filled all places. Just comes to show that you just never know.

    Getting a TC is just so competitive and when I finally accepted that rejection isn’t anything personal, it became much easier to learn from the failed video interviews and WG tests. I get it, rejection hurts, especially after poring our soul into the application and spending hours or weeks on them. Just know that for almost everyone receiving a TC offer, there will have been a failed cycle or at least rejections from firms that were favourites. I honestly think that when it’s the right firm it’ll work out and I’m so grateful for my rejections now. I was rejected during my first cycle by Links and told by someone (not at the firm) that you wouldn’t fit their profile because I didn’t study at Oxbridge. I reapplies there anyway because it was my overall dream firm and because the application was actually fun to do not having to write any more essays. When I got invited to the AC it was the biggest shock, I genuinely didn’t see it coming.

    During my VS I felt like the biggest imposter. But I just kept telling myself that they must see something in me or else I wouldn’t be there. I spent a lot of time talking to different networks within the firm (social mobility in particular) and that really helped with this.

    Links is the firm that was top of my list and wanted all along. I never thought it would be possible and they rejected me at application stage during my first cycle.

    I know it’s easy for me to say, but there’s a TC for everyone and the only way not to get it is by giving up! Rejections are just part of our journey to finding our best fit and they also prepare us for what lies ahead once we enter the profession.

    I hope it helps to know that you’re not alone in this and that we have all been there!
     
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  8. Adam Gilchrist

    Adam Gilchrist Well-Known Member
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    It's a very painful process, I completely agree with you. For much of the last 2 years, I've felt completely the same way. Rejection after rejection, from firms of every rank. The LinkedIn element makes it even worse - pretty much everyone I knew also at Oxford was going on to become an investment banker/corporate lawyer/management consultant - and there I was, with no graduate job, feeling a complete failure. BA Oxon & a bartender - I got more than my fair share of jokes about that from my pub colleagues.

    The only thing I can really say is to keep plugging away at it - but to refine your efforts. I got 47 rejections over the last 3 years, and each time I tweaked my approach slightly. On time number 48, it worked, I got my first and only invite to a vac scheme interview, a vac scheme offer, a TC interview, and finally a TC, all at Linklaters.

    On the VS, I was constantly worried that I was too old (almost everyone on it was still a student), at a disadvantage because of my non-law degree, at a disadvantage due to my lack of commercial experience (most of the older vac schemers had already worked at banks or law firms), at a disadvantage due to having no other vac schemes to fall back on. None of those things actually mattered - by sheer hard graft on the work tasks, I was able to prove myself.

    I know it sounds a bit lazy of me to say, but you really have just got to keep trying, and to rise above your inner doubts if you can. LinkedIn, like all social media, only shows one side of professional success, and not the struggles or issues the person had to overcome. There are very, very few people in life to whom everything comes naturally and easily, contrary to what social media would have you believe.

    Some people naturally are good at the application process, or have lots of friends/family already in corporate law firms who can give them advice. I wasn't one of them, and by the sounds of it, nor are you. That makes it tougher, I won't lie, but it is still very much achievable, as long as you stay motivated and committed.
     
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  9. btrs67

    btrs67 New Member

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    Appreciated reading this - thanks.
     
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  10. Ren97

    Ren97 Distinguished Member

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    Hi Jennifer,

    I’m not gonna say too much as I will just be repeating most of what everyone else has said.

    But the one piece of tangible advice I have that rlly helped me is deleting LinkedIn. My first cycle I was always on LinkedIn comparing and feeling worse every single time. This time around after deleting LinkedIn I feel like my self doubt significantly reduced just because I wasn’t seeing notifications from people getting 728638 vac schemes/TC offers. I was also just a lot more focused on my applications and myself which I think helped me do 10x better in this cycle as well. Personally, I’ve never derived that much value from LinkedIn and people on this forum are far more genuinely helpful and kind than anyone I’ve ever connected with via LinkedIn. Deleting it seems drastic but maybe try it for a couple of weeks and see!
     
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  11. Adam Gilchrist

    Adam Gilchrist Well-Known Member
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    I’d agree on the limited value of LinkedIn. Especially at the starter, graduate entry level, it is severely limited in its uses. Most of the stuff firms post on there is on their websites anyway, networking doesn’t really work at this stage either when you aren’t even in the company (it’s like mentioning in your application the name of the guy you spoke to at an open day).

    Most advice application-wise/inspirational stuff/firm info you can find on TCLA/LegalCheek/ROF.

    I know in some professions LinkedIn is vital, and additionally once you’re working for a firm it can help you network, but it does have its limitations outside that at entry level, in my opinion.

    Just my 2 cents.
     
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  12. Rachel S

    Rachel S Esteemed Member
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    I second a lot of people when I say how incredibly brave it is to share your feelings @jennifer.o
    Being vulnerable as to how hard this journey is is so important and definitely not something that most openly share sadly. However, it does not bear mention as to the amount of times I have spent curled in a ball on my bedroom floor wanting one law firm to just give me a chance.
    Be exceptionally kind to yourself, take some time off and remember this is all part of the process. Also, it is EVEN harder in the midst of a pandemic so rejections are even more inevitable but that won't last forever. Keep on going!
     
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  13. jennifer.o

    jennifer.o Active Member

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    I'm really contemplating deleting it, or taking a really long break from it too! But everytime I contemplate doing so, I'm hounded by all these graduate recruiters saying it's essential for my career so idek anymore *sigh*

    But you guys have really really helped me and that's why I like this forum so much. Just when I think I'm the only one feeling this way, I'm made feel like my feelings are normal.

    Thank you all so so much for your comments and encouragement!!
     
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  14. jennifer.o

    jennifer.o Active Member

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    Also, I've decided to avoid my email altogether for the next couple of days because I'm so afraid I'll open it to all my rejectiom emails lol.
    I'm going to take a much needed break for now and just hope for the best!
     
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  15. Jessica Booker

    Jessica Booker Legendary Member
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    it’s not essential for any career so whoever is telling you that is going a bit OTT.

    it’s a useful tool - but my advice is to just use it when you really need to. Eg when you need to research firms, if you want to connect with people who might help you with your research. There is no reason to log into it regularly unless you need to. I think a lot of people log into it too regularly, possibly out of boredom or habit along with other social media.
     
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  16. Ren97

    Ren97 Distinguished Member

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    Just to echo Jessica, I’ve secured a TC this year without a LinkedIn profile so I definitely don’t think it’s necessary. I also agree that while it may be helpful for researching firms, you can once again easily reach out to anyone on this forum. In all honesty, a huge reason I managed to secure vacs this year was because of detailed advice on ACs and VIs from people I messaged directly on TCLA (I’m sure any of us that have replied to your post here would be happy to help with anything)

    Other than that would recommend joining Aspiring Solicitors and SEO London for their network of current and future trainees - again just my experience but the most helpful people are always willing to use email if need be/meet up for a quick chat.

    Fully support you taking a break and hope you come back feeling better! :)
     
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  17. SouffléSouffléSoufflé

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    Hi Jennifer,

    I just wanted to let you know that you are definitely not alone in feeling this way. I was ironically going to respond to this post last night to only feel really low as I received another TC rejection. It's such a tough process, especially at the moment as so many opportunities have been put on hold because of the strange times that we are currently living in.

    To be honest I'm pretty anxious at the moment. I finished a vacation scheme a couple of weeks ago to be told on the last day that they had added an extra two rounds of interview to consider us alongside outside TC applications. Most of the other firms I sent applications to this cycle have postponed/cancelled their recruitment. Even the other day I was asking myself why I wasn't good enough - all I could see online were other people getting TC offers straight off their vacation schemes.

    On top of that I went to be a pretty bad state school and was the first person in many years to go to the uni I went to. I'm very aware that only 28% of trainees in the city are state educated and there are certainly times where I have felt like I have had to prove myself a lot more and work twice as hard.

    The key thing to remember is that success is a bit like an iceberg. Weird analogy, I know, but I find its a good representation. As silly as it sounds people only see the "tip" (i.e. the success), rather than the hidden part underneath (all the rejections and hard work).

    Sorry for the ramble here. The key thing is Jennifer is that you are not alone! Everyone has different techniques to deal with feeling like this, for me it's baking. On the one day off mid-week I got with my vacation scheme I literally baked three tarts. As silly as it sounds it really relieved a lot of stress. I would also recommend talking to someone close with you about how you feel.

    Best of luck :)
     
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  18. Alice G

    Alice G Legendary Member
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    Hi Jennifer,

    I am very sorry for this delayed response but I understand entirely how you feel.

    The best thing for me was realising that nobody is perfect and that we all have things we can work on. There were a couple of things holding me back and I honestly felt very empowered when I came to try to overcome these things. I took something negative and felt I was really making positive progress when I focused my energies on improving.

    I also would say that it’s so important to realise your worth and how good you are. Whilst we can often focus on negative things (which is mitigated in trying to self improve like I said above) we forget to focus on our positive values and the things which make us great.

    Everybody who is committed to working in this profession will get there, it just takes time and perseverance. Believe me when I say that the perseverance and resilience I have developed from this process has definitely been a positive thing in the long run and I hope it’ll make me a better trainee.

    wishing you all the best and hope you’re taking some time for yourself! We are all behind you :)
     
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  19. jennifer.o

    jennifer.o Active Member

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    Thank you so much for sharing this, it's very brave of you!

    I completely get what you mean about coming from a not so great educational background, and being the first person in your family to go to university.

    However, I don't think you should be so hard on yourself because getting a VS is a huge feat within itself and yous should acknowledge how great this is. But of course, this is a lot easier said than done, so I completely relate to how you're feeling!

    But as @Alice G said, the perseverance and resilience that we'll get out of this experience will work in our favour.

    We've got this!;)
     
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  20. Jessica Booker

    Jessica Booker Legendary Member
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    not sure where this stat comes from but it is definitely not that low.

    State school applicants are still massively under represented in law firms, but back in 2017 it was just under 50% and since then I would expect slight improvements. I’ll try to track down some more stats, as I know it won’t be as low as 28%

    Found it - see attached from this year’s Chambers Student Guide:
     

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