Getting a training contract is tougher than it’s ever been before, and, having been there, seen it and done it, I empathise with those seeking a training contract.
Our starting point at Darlingtons (we are a 6 partner, 30 staff firm) is that good academic qualifications are now a given. Perhaps 20 years ago a firm of our size wouldn’t perhaps be able to be choosy on academic criteria but times have changed.
However, whilst academics are important, those that have not qualified from a top 10 University are far from excluded from successfully applying to our firm.
Academics are just one factor for us among many, which include :-
- An outgoing, friendly and positive attitude. This really matters. Our trainees are very much client facing and a big selling point for our firm is the way in which our clients are treated. Teamwork within the firm is also vital.
- A practical, problem solving and common sense approach – practicing law is different to learning what the law is. Increasingly, clients expect lawyers to understand business and other considerations which determine their attitude to law. We expect our trainees to demonstrate an ability to see the “bigger picture” when it comes to applying law
- Enthusiasm and a willingness to learn and to accept constructive criticism. We all learn by making mistakes
- An understanding that law has become very competitive. Many trainees, through their own experiences in applying for training contracts, with many having spent some time working as paralegals, now understand that law has radically changed. We expect our applicants to be able to show us that they are determined and understand the legal market. A good, but by no means the sole example of understanding the new legal marketplace is by demonstrating being active on social media and online generally and that marketing generally matters and all members of the firm are expected to contribute
- An “X factor” – impossible to describe what this might be, but some kind of differentiator, whether in personality or approach, something which stands out from the crowd. Prospective trainees that can show something different are more likely to gain our attention.
Good luck and if you feel that you have what it takes to succeed at Darlingtons, get in touch.