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As junior and aspiring lawyers look to apply for the annual run of Training Contract openings and the VAC Scheme, I joined the Junior Lawyers Division Cardiff for a webinar in October to share our experiences and offer advice.

I was delighted to lead the JLD Cardiff in this event to share some of my own experiences as a lawyer and as a legal recruitment specialist, and to share tips on what employers are looking for in the application and assessment process – and how aspiring lawyers should present and prepare themselves.

In this free event, hosted by Legal News Wales, I was joined by Abigail Salter (JCP Solicitors) Andrew Cook (Welsh Government) and Kelly Pratt (Martyn Prowel) who shared their personal insight into their experience in both applying for and managing their Training Contract. All three junior lawyers shared some unmissable and pertinent tips for delegates and we’ve decided to share the recording, below, with Legal News readers and a recap of my top tips!

Event highlights

My top tips

Here are my six top tips to consider for those applying for Training Contracts – and preparing for any interview in the legal sector!

Find your USP

One of the questions I always asked on a training contract panel is: ‘out of all the people I am seeing today, why you?’

Have an answer prepared in detail. The most important tip is to develop your unique selling point.

What separates you from the thousands of other law graduates? What have you done that sets you apart? How will you add value to the firm or chambers? How do you stand out?

Get some legal work experience

You never know if you impress, this could lead to a training contract in its own right.

You may want to consider applying for jobs at organisations that run businesses involved with the type of law you are interested in. For example, if you are interested in banking and finance law, apply for a job in a bank where you can develop your commercial awareness a different angle.

Perseverance – never give up

It is no small feat to attain a training contract and there is no substitute to thorough preparation if you want to excel.

The fierce competition between candidates that share similar academic achievements, extracurricular activities and knowledge of the firm means that you have to own your moment.

Dig deep and believe that you will be an invaluable asset to the firm when your resolve is tested by an unexpected question, your opinion is challenged or further elaboration on a tricky commercial issue is requested.

Don’t worry!

Worry leads to procrastination, procrastination must be avoided! If you are worrying rather than doing then you will worry more about what you haven’t been doing. Vicious cycle, isn’t it?

5. Do your research! Know the firm-specific sector knowledge

Be commercially aware. Commercial awareness is most effectively shown by the ability to discuss legal, economic and geopolitical issues about a firm’s clients.

Know how to interview

For example:

  • Research the industry and firm.
  • Clarify your ‘selling points’ and the reasons you want the role.
  • Anticipate the interviewer’s concerns and reservations.
  • Prepare for common interview questions.
  • Line up your questions for the interviewer.
  • Finally, practice, practice, practice.

Check the Yolk Recruitment website for more tips and don’t be afraid to ask questions in advance. The more certainty in the process and knowledge you have, the better prepared you will be!

Most of all, our very best wishes to you all. Now seize the day!

JLD Cardiff

For more information on the JLD, its resources, events and to join, click here.

Latest vacancies

For the latest legal sector vacancies, please click here, or head to the Yolk recruitment website.

Daniel Mason

Dan Mason

Executive Consultant

Dan Mason is an Executive Consultant at Yolk Recruitment, specialising in the legal sector. He is a former qualified solicitor and former speechwriter to the Shadow Minister for Business and Enterprise at the National Assembly for Wales.