When I first started writing applications, they weren’t very good and I got lots of rejections. I was ecstatic to get my first telephone interview only to stumble on the final question: ‘what are the advantages and disadvantages of interest rates going up’. I was rejected a few hours later by an automated email. That sucked.
I managed to get a few interviews and assessment centres with mid-sized firms that round. I assumed they’d be easier, but I was proven wrong quickly. My hardest ever interview – including silver circle/magic circle and US law firms – ended up being at one of these firms.
After a string of rejections, I was starting to give up hope. A few days later I received an interview invite from the last firm I’d applied to, minutes before the deadline on the 31st January. That was one I’d written off (I had realised shortly after applying that I had spelt the name of the firm wrong throughout my application form!). I’m still not sure why I got that interview.
Fast forward a bit, that interview became my first vacation scheme and my first training contract offer. Battling through more rejections helped me get my second scheme, then my third and then my fourth.
Rejection is tough. Writing an application is exhausting: it means hours of drafting, editing and proof-reading. And the more you’ve tailored your application, the more you’ve invested into a law firm. It gets worse the further you go: a rejection after an interview hurts; a rejection after a vacation scheme feels like a confirmation that you aren’t good enough.
But time spent isn’t time wasted. As you write more applications you get better: you pick up typos, revise sentences and dig deeper into your interest in law. With more interviews you become more confident, better able to understand how firms differ and more familiar with the business world.
One of my favourite examples is a student of mine who had really poor first year grades. He worked exceptionally hard, went to events and honed his application technique, but two years went by and he kept getting rejected without an interview. That third year was going to be his last before he packed it in. He starts the LPC in September as a future trainee at Linklaters.