Solicitors provide expert legal advice to clients, who can range from individuals to multinational corporations to public bodies. Advice can be in regards to commercial, personal or individual rights issues and once qualified, a solicitor can work in a variety of settings such as private practices, commercial organisations or for a government. Whilst the sector is open to graduates from a variety of subjects, there are a number of training courses that need to be completed to qualify as a solicitor such as the Legal Practice Course (LPC) and graduates typically begin their careers on a training contract.
Here are some insights taken directly from graduates training to be solicitors:
“My workload is largely reliant on being handed work from other members of the team and will involve receiving instructions, carrying out the task, and then reporting back to the colleague for feedback. In certain circumstances, I advise the client direct via email, letters, telephone and in meetings.” Trainee Solicitor, at Clyde & Co LLP
“I currently work as part of a large commercial property team. I assist on each stage of the transaction and typical tasks include legal research, drafting and assisting with negotiations.” Trainee Solicitor, Real Estate at DWF LLP
“Often my work entails looking after the admin and paper work of a particular matter. Often I undertake legal research and liaise with clients. Occasionally I attend client meetings and take notes. I have attended court on a few occasions. Some of my work includes assisting with the preparation and management of internal know how projects. I attend internal training sessions and seminars.” Trainee Solicitor, at Bird & Bird LLP
“Real responsibility, client involvement and working with an approachable, friendly team. There is sometimes photocopying to do but as you are mostly involved in client work or are copying documents to enable you to understand a deal, this is actually often a good thing.” Vacation Scheme Student, Commercial at Shoosmiths
“Interesting, diverse work, interaction with many people across the firm, using my German language skills regularly. Sometimes unpredictable and long hours.” Trainee, at Clyde & Co LLP
“I’ve got a great amount of experience so far, that I don’t think I would have got in another seat. The team I work with are excellent, and I’ve learned a lot from them. The very low salary has been difficult to cope with. There’s a huge amount of (I think unnecessary) bureaucracy in the firm – it takes quite a while to complete even the simplest admin task.” Trainee Solicitor, Real Estate at DWF LLP
Application Advice: Always check and recheck your application for typos – many typos show a lack of attention to detail, which certainly does not make a good impression. Also make your application specific to this firm – what deals has the firm worked on that has interested you?
Interview Advice: Prepare thoroughly for interviews, keep up to date with legal news and world news, make sure that you have thought about what questions might come up at interview.
Trainee Solicitor, Litigation at Hogan Lovells International LLP
Application Advice: Start your applications early! Apply early! Make sure your application is very commercial.
Interview Advice: Keep your responses very commercial, be yourself and do your best to get on with the interviewer.
Trainee Solicitor, at Linklaters LLP
Application Advice: This firm will value you for what you are; if you bring something different to the table than others, do not be afraid to show it.
Interview Advice: Let your personality shine through. Demonstrate not only legal knowledge but an awareness of the wider commercial context in which legal transactions take place.
Trainee Solicitor, at Ashurst LLP
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