TCLA Direct Training Contract Applications Discussion Thread 2022-23

Jaysen

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  • Feb 17, 2018
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    Long time lurker, first time poster...

    I've soaked up the guidance on these threads for over three years, when I first decided to move to the London after graduation and began applying for TCs here. I secured two vacation schemes (which ended up being virtual) whilst at uni but then failed to convert, both with little to no feedback. I made the move to London anyway and started work as a paralegal at a top 20 firm. I realised how much I enjoyed the work, and somewhat surprisingly, that I was good at it. I received strong feedback from colleagues and clients and applied internally for the TC, but then got rejected. Over the past three years, I have made well over 100 applications and completed 12 ACs. I'm sure so many of you can understand how I felt - wondering whether there was something intrinsically wrong with me that these people could see that I couldn't, something that told them that I would be a terrible lawyer. Over the last few months, I had given up hope that it would ever happen for me and began to consider moving home, where a TC would be far more easily attainable.

    Last week, I received two TC offers (one from an international firm, and one from a US). Both agreed to bring my start date forward - I will be studying for the SQE for the next year, and starting at the US firm next September.

    I have read so many of these posts over the years, and admit to rolling my eyes when anyone would say that you just have to trust that it will happen - but it will. If you have the resilience to keep up with this (often unrelenting) process, whilst managing whatever other responsibilities you have - you will get there.

    If I can be of assistance to anyone, particularly those applying having not studied in the UK, please do let me know!

    This is wonderful - well done and thank you for coming back to share your story.
     

    lawstress

    Star Member
    Nov 24, 2021
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    Been sitting on it for a couple weeks, but I've received two TC offers! I once made a post on TCLA about how rejection after rejection was affecting me mentally, but everyone on here was very supportive and that made me keep trying! So I want to thank everyone on here who has helped me, and if anyone needs any advice, I'm more than happy to help :)
     

    Jessica Booker

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    Aug 1, 2019
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    Been sitting on it for a couple weeks, but I've received two TC offers! I once made a post on TCLA about how rejection after rejection was affecting me mentally, but everyone on here was very supportive and that made me keep trying! So I want to thank everyone on here who has helped me, and if anyone needs any advice, I'm more than happy to help :)
    Amazing news - congratulations!

    Well Done Applause GIF by The Voice
     
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    birdlawspecialist

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  • Nov 9, 2019
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    Apologies if this has already been posted but are there any TCLA, or other resources people can recommend for scenario-based interviews and competency-based interviews?

    I’m also a bit confused about the difference between the two interviews? Should we be giving personal examples in both?
     

    NatashaS98

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    Sep 30, 2022
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    Apologies if this has already been posted but are there any TCLA, or other resources people can recommend for scenario-based interviews and competency-based interviews?

    I’m also a bit confused about the difference between the two interviews? Should we be giving personal examples in both?
    Hi @birdlawspecialist - great question :)

    Competency interviews are looking for your ability to give fully-developed personal examples of times where you have demonstrated the skills or the personal qualities the firm might be looking for in its trainee solicitors. Competency questions usually take the form of: 'Tell me about a time when you showed [X skill] (for instance, adaptability/innovative thinking/leadership)'. To answer these effectively, it is often advised to structure your answer using the STAR method (S stands for Situation (i.e. explaining the situation at hand), T for task (i.e. explaining perhaps the task you were assigned), A for action (i.e. what steps did you take which demonstrates the skill or personal quality the question is assessing), R for result (i.e. what result was achieved through taking the steps you took? How did your actions ultimately have a positive impact?).

    Meanwhile, scenario-based interviews are not about giving personal examples. Instead, scenario-based interviews present you with a scenario where you are encouraged to think on your feet. The scenario-based questions will be trying to assess your skillset and personal qualities, but through you giving an answer of what you would do if you were presented with that situation.

    Here are some resources that I would recommend using for both competency and scenario-based questions:

     

    NatashaS98

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    Sep 30, 2022
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    When answering an interview question on motivation could I talk about writing my dissertation? Like setting myself internal deadlines and goals e.g. having a chapter done by a certain date, setting aside time to read and reflect. Just worried that this is more of a generic example that most people will have done?
    Hey @lw2000 - I think you could definitely talk about your dissertation if faced with such an interview question. So long as your other interview answers are not solely focused on your dissertation and academic work and that you have a variety of different experiences you are drawing on throughout the interview, then that's fine.

    It's much better to provide a genuine answer - you will be more comfortable elaborating on it. If you chose an example than you feel is less generic, you might then have less to say about it.
     
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    lw2000

    Star Member
    Aug 19, 2021
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    Hey @lw2000 - I think you could definitely talk about your dissertation if faced with such an interview question. So long as your other interview answers are not solely focused on your dissertation and academic work and that you have a variety of different experiences you are drawing on throughout the interview, then that's fine.

    It's much better to provide a genuine answer - you will be more comfortable elaborating on it. If you chose an example than you feel is less generic, you might then have less to say about it.
    Thank you so much!
     
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    birdlawspecialist

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  • Nov 9, 2019
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    Hi @birdlawspecialist - great question :)

    Competency interviews are looking for your ability to give fully-developed personal examples of times where you have demonstrated the skills or the personal qualities the firm might be looking for in its trainee solicitors. Competency questions usually take the form of: 'Tell me about a time when you showed [X skill] (for instance, adaptability/innovative thinking/leadership)'. To answer these effectively, it is often advised to structure your answer using the STAR method (S stands for Situation (i.e. explaining the situation at hand), T for task (i.e. explaining perhaps the task you were assigned), A for action (i.e. what steps did you take which demonstrates the skill or personal quality the question is assessing), R for result (i.e. what result was achieved through taking the steps you took? How did your actions ultimately have a positive impact?).

    Meanwhile, scenario-based interviews are not about giving personal examples. Instead, scenario-based interviews present you with a scenario where you are encouraged to think on your feet. The scenario-based questions will be trying to assess your skillset and personal qualities, but through you giving an answer of what you would do if you were presented with that situation.

    Here are some resources that I would recommend using for both competency and scenario-based questions:

    Hi @birdlawspecialist - great question :)

    Competency interviews are looking for your ability to give fully-developed personal examples of times where you have demonstrated the skills or the personal qualities the firm might be looking for in its trainee solicitors. Competency questions usually take the form of: 'Tell me about a time when you showed [X skill] (for instance, adaptability/innovative thinking/leadership)'. To answer these effectively, it is often advised to structure your answer using the STAR method (S stands for Situation (i.e. explaining the situation at hand), T for task (i.e. explaining perhaps the task you were assigned), A for action (i.e. what steps did you take which demonstrates the skill or personal quality the question is assessing), R for result (i.e. what result was achieved through taking the steps you took? How did your actions ultimately have a positive impact?).

    Meanwhile, scenario-based interviews are not about giving personal examples. Instead, scenario-based interviews present you with a scenario where you are encouraged to think on your feet. The scenario-based questions will be trying to assess your skillset and personal qualities, but through you giving an answer of what you would do if you were presented with that situation.

    Here are some resources that I would recommend using for both competency and scenario-based questions:

    Thank you so much for this! Also, are there any resources apart from the M&A course for preparing for interview case study presentations?
     

    sxw517

    Legendary Member
  • Sep 20, 2021
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    Really struggling to work out what to do, I was hoping someone on here might have some suggestions, other than force field analysis.

    I left a career in accounting and did a brief stint in finance, however, left this to complete a PGDL, my fledgling legal career is starting to take shape, and I am sure I have made the right decision. I have a final TC interview coming up and I have a winter vac scheme lined up at a firm I really like.

    The problem is (well not a problem, more of a predicament) I have been contacted by a recruiter in the financial space regarding an opportunity that seems fantastic, back in finance working as a fund analyst at a PE house. This is something I had always considered, and to turn down the interview I have been offered, seems like I would be going against the old proverb to never look a gift horse in the mouth.

    I am afraid at the moment that flip-flopping from finance to law and back to finance, doesn't really look good on my behalf, signalling to prospective employers that I haven't really got any idea as to what I want to do (when already in my mid-twenties). @Jessica Booker, any suggestions on what I could do, whether it may be an idea to do it for a while since I have completed my PGDL and I apply for TCs? or to stay on the path, for fear of looking unstayed to a potential recruiter?

    Obviously, I haven't been offered a job at the PE house yet, this is just me wondering whether its worth pursuing it.
     

    Jessica Booker

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    Aug 1, 2019
    10,163
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    Really struggling to work out what to do, I was hoping someone on here might have some suggestions, other than force field analysis.

    I left a career in accounting and did a brief stint in finance, however, left this to complete a PGDL, my fledgling legal career is starting to take shape, and I am sure I have made the right decision. I have a final TC interview coming up and I have a winter vac scheme lined up at a firm I really like.

    The problem is (well not a problem, more of a predicament) I have been contacted by a recruiter in the financial space regarding an opportunity that seems fantastic, back in finance working as a fund analyst at a PE house. This is something I had always considered, and to turn down the interview I have been offered, seems like I would be going against the old proverb to never look a gift horse in the mouth.

    I am afraid at the moment that flip-flopping from finance to law and back to finance, doesn't really look good on my behalf, signalling to prospective employers that I haven't really got any idea as to what I want to do (when already in my mid-twenties). @Jessica Booker, any suggestions on what I could do, whether it may be an idea to do it for a while since I have completed my PGDL and I apply for TCs? or to stay on the path, for fear of looking unstayed to a potential recruiter?

    Obviously, I haven't been offered a job at the PE house yet, this is just me wondering whether its worth pursuing it.
    I'd go for the interview and see how it goes - it is only an interview, there is no commitment at that stage.

    I don't think it will be an issue returning to finance, whether you stay in finance or do decide on a career in law.
     
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    birdlawspecialist

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  • Nov 9, 2019
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    @NatashaS98 For case study interviews where we are given time to present a case study, how does that work? You’re outside of the room preparing and then you come back in? And give a presentation? Standing up or? Or you sit down with the interviewers and walk them through the legal advice you would give? Is there a recommended order to go through things?
     

    law12

    Active Member
    Oct 28, 2021
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    Sorry if this is a silly question, I’m not entirely familiar with the whole process as an international applicant. I currently have two training contract offers, both starting in 2024. I’m wondering whether it’s allowed for me to accept both in order to buy myself some more time to think, and then back out of one later on (again as they don’t start until 2 years time). Thank you!
     

    Jessica Booker

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    Aug 1, 2019
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    @NatashaS98 For case study interviews where we are given time to present a case study, how does that work? You’re outside of the room preparing and then you come back in? And give a presentation? Standing up or? Or you sit down with the interviewers and walk them through the legal advice you would give? Is there a recommended order to go through things?
    Hi - not @NatashaS98 but I can give you some insight.

    Typically you will prepare in another room and then be taken into a room where your assessors/interviewers will be. Sometimes, when your prep time is up, the assessors/interviewers will come into the room you are preparing in though when your prep time is up.

    The format of the assessment will be explained to you. This could be anything from a short presentation through to more of a discussion of various points.

    Depending on that format, you can choose to stand if it is more of a presentation format, although even in those instances, it typically is the case you’ll be sat down at a table with your interviewers. Your interviewers tend to guide you a little on this, or offer you the chance for you to choose which way you would like to present.

    The order of things really depends on the exercise - it’s really difficult to state there is a certain order, as these exercises vary so much. It’s best to read through the instructions carefully and also the content you have in front of you, and then make a judgement of the order/structure you want to go with, rather than having a fixed idea of what this should be going into your prep time.
     

    Jessica Booker

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    Aug 1, 2019
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    Sorry if this is a silly question, I’m not entirely familiar with the whole process as an international applicant. I currently have two training contract offers, both starting in 2024. I’m wondering whether it’s allowed for me to accept both in order to buy myself some more time to think, and then back out of one later on (again as they don’t start until 2 years time). Thank you!
    Technically you can do this. But I would advise against it. The first step would be to ask whether you could have any additional time to decide from both firms. I would also speak to both firms to see if you can speak to people from the firm (or even come to their offices) to try and help you make the decision.

    Although they may not start for two years time, the reality is it becomes harder for the firm to fill that role with less than two years, given they need to invest in the time for the PGDL/SQE/LPC for their trainees in most instances. Therefore holding on to that offer for too long could ultimately lead to that vacancy never being filled. Therefore turning down one of the two firms in a timely manner is likely to allow someone else the opportunity to take that TC up (and get all the appropriate support and sponsorship before their TC starts).
     

    NatashaS98

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    Sep 30, 2022
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    Thank you so much for this! Also, are there any resources apart from the M&A course for preparing for interview case study presentations?

    Hi @birdlawspecialist, you're welcome. A couple of resources you might want to look at include the following:

    Hope this helps! :)
     
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