Vacation Scheme Didn't Work Out? Things You Should Consider About Making Direct TC Applications

jo

Star Member
Sep 11, 2021
42
100
Hi all, was hoping to get a bit of insight about direct TC apps. I have a vac scheme in July, but I was planning to send a few direct TC applications (deadlines vary between May and July) in case I fail to convert.

1. Should I include my vac scheme (which I have not completed yet) in my direct TC application?
I've had some legal work experience in the past, but I think the vac scheme I'll do this July will probably the most substantive legal work experience under my belt - but I would not have completed the vac scheme yet when I send out my direct TC apps (but would have completed the vac scheme if I do get invited to interview for direct TC in August/September). Should I still include it (noting that it's forthcoming, of course)?

2. No networking
For all of my vac scheme applications this cycle, I included interactions I've had with trainees at open days, law fairs, Legal Cheek and AllAboutLaw events (e.g. questions I asked, what I learnt from the conversation and how that made the firm appeal to me etc) to demonstrate my personal interest in the firm. I'm at the point of the recruitment cycle where it's too late to apply for open days, and I've not had any interaction with people from the firms I plan to make direct TC applications to. How do you write a TC application that still shows that you are genuinely interested in the firm if you've not interacted with them personally?
 

James Carrabino

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Oct 12, 2021
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Hi all, was hoping to get a bit of insight about direct TC apps. I have a vac scheme in July, but I was planning to send a few direct TC applications (deadlines vary between May and July) in case I fail to convert.

1. Should I include my vac scheme (which I have not completed yet) in my direct TC application?
I've had some legal work experience in the past, but I think the vac scheme I'll do this July will probably the most substantive legal work experience under my belt - but I would not have completed the vac scheme yet when I send out my direct TC apps (but would have completed the vac scheme if I do get invited to interview for direct TC in August/September). Should I still include it (noting that it's forthcoming, of course)?

2. No networking
For all of my vac scheme applications this cycle, I included interactions I've had with trainees at open days, law fairs, Legal Cheek and AllAboutLaw events (e.g. questions I asked, what I learnt from the conversation and how that made the firm appeal to me etc) to demonstrate my personal interest in the firm. I'm at the point of the recruitment cycle where it's too late to apply for open days, and I've not had any interaction with people from the firms I plan to make direct TC applications to. How do you write a TC application that still shows that you are genuinely interested in the firm if you've not interacted with them personally?
Hi @jo congratulations on your vac scheme and I really admire your drive to continue putting in applications! Both @AvniD and I had success with the direct TC route so I think that your approach is quite resourceful :)

To answer your first question, I would put down your vac scheme in your direct TC application, because, in my view it cannot hurt and basically serves as a way of showing the recruiters that you have been vetted by another top firm. See my post about this here. Also, given that you will have completed the vac scheme by the time of your interview, it will mean you have actual work experience to discuss, so I see no harm in mentioning it pre-emptively.

I would not worry too much about networking - I only ever went to a couple of open days and I am not sure they made a huge difference. As long as you have well thought through motivations for the firms you are applying to then you should be fine :)

I hope that helps!
 

shootingstar

Star Member
Premium Member
Junior Lawyer
Jul 6, 2020
26
36
Hi @jo congratulations on your vac scheme and I really admire your drive to continue putting in applications! Both @AvniD and I had success with the direct TC route so I think that your approach is quite resourceful :)

To answer your first question, I would put down your vac scheme in your direct TC application, because, in my view it cannot hurt and basically serves as a way of showing the recruiters that you have been vetted by another top firm. See my post about this here. Also, given that you will have completed the vac scheme by the time of your interview, it will mean you have actual work experience to discuss, so I see no harm in mentioning it pre-emptively.

I would not worry too much about networking - I only ever went to a couple of open days and I am not sure they made a huge difference. As long as you have well thought through motivations for the firms you are applying to then you should be fine :)

I hope that helps!
Hi James!

Thank you so much for your insight, I am in a similar position as @jo and your reply really helped!

May I ask when was it that you submitted the direct TC applications back then and if you know whether firms review direct TC applications on a rolling basis? As I was thinking about how I should prioritise sending in direct TC applications and preparing for the VS!

Thank you so much for your help!
 
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James Carrabino

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Oct 12, 2021
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Hi James!

Thank you so much for your insight, I am in a similar position as @jo and your reply really helped!

May I ask when was it that you submitted the direct TC applications back then and if you know whether firms review direct TC applications on a rolling basis? As I was thinking about how I should prioritise sending in direct TC applications and preparing for the VS!

Thank you so much for your help!
Hi @shootingstar, I am really glad to hear that my reply helped!

I submitted a lot of applications between June and July - you may be able to have a sense for which firms review direct TC applications on a rolling basis by referring to these three lists side by side:

Firms which recruit significantly from direct TC

Firms by rolling/non-rolling

Upcoming training contract deadlines

I hope that this is all helpful :)
 

shootingstar

Star Member
Premium Member
Junior Lawyer
Jul 6, 2020
26
36
Hi @shootingstar, I am really glad to hear that my reply helped!

I submitted a lot of applications between June and July - you may be able to have a sense for which firms review direct TC applications on a rolling basis by referring to these three lists side by side:

Firms which recruit significantly from direct TC

Firms by rolling/non-rolling

Upcoming training contract deadlines

I hope that this is all helpful :)
Hi James,

Thank you so much for directing me to the posts! They are extremely helpful and I will definitely consolidate all the information together!
 

arian

New Member
Jun 9, 2022
1
1
Hi! This concerns deciding whether to make a direct TC application based on the route to qualification for international students (in this case, an Indian law student).

Indian law degrees are not considered qualifying law degrees. Hence, Indian law students are treated as non-law for the purposes of qualification. All firms that I reached out so far take the approach of requiring a PGDL (time commitment of about 8 months) before commencing preparation for the SQE (time commitment of about 10 months to a year).

Hence, the timeline looks like this: securing a direct TC in your final year of a non-law degree in 2022/23, commencing preparation for the PGDL in 2023, commencing preparation for the SQE in 2024 and finally commencing the TC in 2025 with qualification in 2027. The issue I have is that I am unable to devote, for personal reasons, an extra year (for the PGDL) before commencing the training contract.

The SRA does not require the PGDL and I understand that this is a measure that law firms have taken. Does anyone have any idea whether there are law firms that do not require you to study the PGDL even if you are a non-law student? Alternatively, does anyone know if there are law firms with accelerated programs to finish the PGDL and the SQE within a year?

Does anyone have an idea about how lateral transfer works for an Indian graduate? Specifically, whether some parts of the SQE are waived and do not need to be attempted? And finally, how the requirement for qualifying work experience is satisfied?

Hope to hear from @AvniD and @Jessica Booker. Thank you for your time!
 
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Jessica Booker

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Graduate Recruitment
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Aug 1, 2019
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Hi! This concerns deciding whether to make a direct TC application based on the route to qualification for international students (in this case, an Indian law student).

Indian law degrees are not considered qualifying law degrees. Hence, Indian law students are treated as non-law for the purposes of qualification. All firms that I reached out so far take the approach of requiring a PGDL (time commitment of about 8 months) before commencing preparation for the SQE (time commitment of about 10 months to a year).

Hence, the timeline looks like this: securing a direct TC in your final year of a non-law degree in 2022/23, commencing preparation for the PGDL in 2023, commencing preparation for the SQE in 2024 and finally commencing the TC in 2025 with qualification in 2027. The issue I have is that I am unable to devote, for personal reasons, an extra year (for the PGDL) before commencing the training contract.

The SRA does not require the PGDL and I understand that this is a measure that law firms have taken. Does anyone have any idea whether there are law firms that do not require you to study the PGDL even if you are a non-law student? Alternatively, does anyone know if there are law firms with accelerated programs to finish the PGDL and the SQE within a year?

Does anyone have an idea about how lateral transfer works for an Indian graduate? Specifically, whether some parts of the SQE are waived and do not need to be attempted? And finally, how the requirement for qualifying work experience is satisfied?

Hope to hear from @AvniD and @Jessica Booker. Thank you for your time!
I don’t know the specifics of whether there are firms that don’t require you do the GDL or not. What I would stress is that all the time the SQE is new and untested, forms will want people to be thoroughly prepared, and one way to do that is the GDL.

For lateral hires, as long as you are in a recognised jurisdiction and qualified, you’d still need to pass both the SQE1 and SQE2, but you wouldn’t need to complete two years of qualifying work experience.
 

AvniD

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Oct 25, 2021
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Hi! This concerns deciding whether to make a direct TC application based on the route to qualification for international students (in this case, an Indian law student).

Indian law degrees are not considered qualifying law degrees. Hence, Indian law students are treated as non-law for the purposes of qualification. All firms that I reached out so far take the approach of requiring a PGDL (time commitment of about 8 months) before commencing preparation for the SQE (time commitment of about 10 months to a year).

Hence, the timeline looks like this: securing a direct TC in your final year of a non-law degree in 2022/23, commencing preparation for the PGDL in 2023, commencing preparation for the SQE in 2024 and finally commencing the TC in 2025 with qualification in 2027. The issue I have is that I am unable to devote, for personal reasons, an extra year (for the PGDL) before commencing the training contract.

The SRA does not require the PGDL and I understand that this is a measure that law firms have taken. Does anyone have any idea whether there are law firms that do not require you to study the PGDL even if you are a non-law student? Alternatively, does anyone know if there are law firms with accelerated programs to finish the PGDL and the SQE within a year?

Does anyone have an idea about how lateral transfer works for an Indian graduate? Specifically, whether some parts of the SQE are waived and do not need to be attempted? And finally, how the requirement for qualifying work experience is satisfied?

Hope to hear from @AvniD and @Jessica Booker. Thank you for your time!
@Jessica Booker has given you some top advice here and I really don't have much to add except maybe researching and reaching out to recruitment agencies that specialise in lateral hiring or firms that have a dedicated India desk so that you can properly evaluate the merits and scope for success of the possibility to shift laterally if the training contract route is not the right route for you.
 

wolfwoman

Active Member
Aug 1, 2022
12
2
Hi! I'm not sure if this might be helpful, but I did primarily Direct TCs last year and made a list of firms that said they recruit heavily (30%+) from direct applications. Of course this might vary based on the year, and based upon the actual size of the intake (for example, Farrer & Co says it recruits half its intake from Direct Application, but that's still only 5 people). I'd be more than happy to pop you a copy of the list if it might be helpful! :)
Hi, I was wondering if you still have this list and would be willing to share?
 
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