Let me tell you a story about a law graduate who found an unusual way of securing his training contract with a firm that I worked for. He was studying his Legal Practice Course at the time, but was aware that the end of his studies was approaching and he still didn’t yet have a training contract.
Instead of writing letters to every firm in the area, he got dressed in his smartest suit, printed off a reem of copies of his CV, packed them in his briefcase and hit the streets. He turned up at the reception of every law firm in our town in search of any opportunities. He spoke politely to every receptionist that he encountered and explained that he was looking for a chance to speak with the Managing Partner about any opportunities there may be within the firm. He assured them that he would be happy to work as a paralegal and work up to a training contract, or even start as an office junior if it meant getting his foot in the door.
When he walked into the office of the firm where I was working at the time, the Managing Partner just happened to be in reception and overheard his conversation with our receptionist. She was so impressed that she called him into her office there and then to discuss his CV. She hired him as a paralegal on the spot and within 3 months he was offered a training contract.
This approach may seem very scary to some, as you will have to have a thick skin and be prepared for lots of rejection. But you can see why it worked. For the Managing Partner, she was able to look at the long term prospects of hiring someone like him. Firstly, he was clearly passionate about reaching his goals, since he was willing to walk door to door until someone helped him. Secondly, he was polite to her receptionist – which is always a good sign (I will be doing a post about this issue at a later date!). Finally, he was someone prepared to think outside the box when things got tough. This means that, in the future, if he was struggling with a low workload or the firm didn’t have many new clients, she knew that she could rely on him to think outside the box in order to bring new contacts into the firm. Particularly as he was clearly a confident individual, so was also likely to be successful at networking.
I’m not saying that you should immediately go out and try this approach, but it is worth thinking about if you are having trouble finding a training contract. It helps people to see that you are friendly, confident and serious about qualifying – all of which are crucial personality traits in any trainee solicitor.
Have you heard of any unusual ways that trainee solicitors have found their training contracts? If so, please let us know in the comment section below!