LAW CAREERS SEMINARS
for second-year students
No. 3, 29th November 2011
Jenny Keaveney, Careers Advisory Service
The slides from this and the two previous
presentations are available at
www.kent.ac.uk/careers/slides.htm
How to apply for vacation work
training contracts and pupillages
•
•
•
•
The selection process
What employers look for in applications
How to complete an application form
CVs and covering letters
THE SELECTION PROCESS
Application Form
or
Curriculum Vitae + Covering Letter
then?
Interview
perhaps
Selection Centre
WHAT ARE EMPLOYERS LOOKING FOR ?
• We are not looking for academic achievements alone but rather
for people who enjoy working as part of a busy team, respond
positively to a challenge and have what it takes to deliver
results to clients (DWF)
• “You need to be able to deal comfortably with a client with a
limited understanding of the law who may be in a stressful
situation, such as a police cell” (Criminal practice)
• “The key attributes I look for in prospective trainees are
character and evidence of ability to react and think on their
feet” (Farrers)
• “Intellectual ability is only part of it: a successful barrister
must have confidence, ambition, common sense and an ability
to get on well with clients, solicitors, other members of
Chambers and the clerks”
WHAT ARE EMPLOYERS LOOKING FOR ?
SUMMARY
• Academic ability
• Awareness of what being a lawyer
involves
• Awareness of the environment in which
the firm/chambers and its clients
operate
• Motivation and commitment
• Competencies
COMPETENCIES
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
Written communication
Verbal communication
Analytical and problem-solving skills
Teamworking
Working under pressure
Adaptability/flexibility
Planning and organising
TYPES OF EMPLOYER
APPLICATION FORMS
No application form
Just the facts
Autobiographical
Structured
Combination
“JUST THE FACTS”
 Much the same information as on a CV
 But don't underestimate them!
 There may be just one nasty question - but
this could be the decisive one!
e.g.
“Why do you want to work for us?”
“What is your greatest achievement?”
WHY ARE YOU APPLYING TO US?
THE REAL QUESTION
•
Have you prepared properly?
•
Have you read the information we produce
for applicants, thought about what we are
seeking and what you have to offer us?
•
Are you committed to this career?
SOME POSSIBLE ANSWERS
The firm's reputation among clients and as an employer
The opportunities it offers for training and career
development
Information you have gathered from reading the business
or legal press or searching the Internet
Information you have gathered from talking to people
who work for the firm, or its competitors
Personal experience of the firm, e.g. through an open
day or insight course
For large employers, the “True Picture” section of the
Chambers & Partners guide may give some inspiration!
http://www.chambersstudent.co.uk/
WHY THIS FIRM?
• “I have chosen to apply to X because the firm offers varied and
challenging training opportunities in a friendly and supportive
environment. The firm’s trainee programme is well respected
and I believe that a training contract at X would be an excellent
start to my legal career”
• “The relatively small trainee intake (40 trainees per year)
makes X particularly appealing to me. I want to train in an
environment where I do not simply feel like a small cog in a
large wheel. I was also interested to read that X won The
Lawyer’s award for ‘Excellence in Training’ last year, and as such
I believe that the firm would offer me a first class training
experience”
AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL
• Just one big section for everything beyond
the basic facts
• You will need to select the appropriate
information, decide how much weight to
give to each item and structure them into a
narrative
AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL
Example: Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer
"Please write about yourself in no more than 850 words.
You may wish to mention any posts of responsibility held
at school or subsequently, any regular employment or
other work experience, any sporting or other
achievements and any particular interests and personal
qualities which are relevant. Please also state briefly
why you are making this application”
STRUCTURED APPLICATION FORMS
These work on the principle that:
PAST PERFORMANCE IS THE BEST PREDICTOR
OF FUTURE PERFORMANCE
The selector will therefore be seeking examples of
past behaviour that provide him/her with concrete
evidence that you have the necessary competences
to succeed in the job.
STRUCTURED
Look for evidence of the personal qualities
which you will need to do the job well
Example: Ward Hadaway
Please give details of any important contribution
you have made to any group of which you were a
member. Outline how your contribution helped
the group achieve its goals
THE REAL QUESTION
How do you get on with other people? What role
do you take in a group? Are you able to focus on
goals and targets?
Some possible examples:
• Putting on a drama or music production
 Planning a holiday with a group of friends
 A business game or “Young Enterprise” scheme
 Working in a fast-food restaurant
 Sports teams and university committees
SOME OTHER QUESTIONS …
• Describe an event which has recently been in the
news and explain why this has been of interest to
you (SJ Berwin )
• What three key attributes do you think clients
expect from their legal advisors? (Mishcon de Reya)
• Who would be your ideal dinner party guest and
why? (Taylor Wessing)
DOs AND DON’Ts
DO
• Read the question
• Use plain English
• Pay attention to
spelling and grammar
• Proof read
• Keep a copy of your
application
DON’T
• Leave gaps in your work
experience or academic
history
• Cut and paste from one
application to another or
use one answer to fit
several application forms
• Leave it until the last
minute to apply
QUOTES
“Most applications for mini-pupillages come from
quite young and inexperienced candidates – we
mostly have to select on the basis of academic
results and anything original or unusual in the
application”
“Be concise – a few well-chosen words or sentences,
properly spelt and punctuated, are preferable to
long rambling essays”
CVs FOR APPLYING TO
LAW-RELATED EMPLOYERS
Personal details
Education and qualifications
Work experience
Interests
Practical skills
Referees
PERSONAL DETAILS
• Your name! (use this as the heading)
• Your contact details:
– Postal address(es)
– Phone number(s)
– Email address
• You may also include (but don’t have to):
– Nationality
– Male/female (but only if this isn’t clear from your name)
LEE GALLIGLE
Home Address: 10 London Road, Middlemarch,
MM2 6AZ
Term Address: 1a Wildwood Court, Park Wood,
University of Kent, Canterbury CT2 7SZ
Tel:
01789 12345
Nationality:
British
Email: [email protected]
Sex:
Female
EDUCATION & QUALIFICATIONS
• Combine both: head each section in
this category with the name of the
university/school/college, then the
subjects studied and exams taken
there, with dates
• Law firms like detail: list all your
modules/subjects and grades
EDUCATION AND QUALIFICATIONS
2010 to date
The University of Kent
LL.B. Law - expect to graduate June 2013
First year: Introduction to Law
(Distinction); Legal Process (Merit);
Constitutional and Administrative Law
(Merit); Obligations I (Distinction)
Second year: Criminal Law; Company
Law; Obligations II; Property Law
2003 - 2010
Casubon High School, Middlemarch
2010
A-levels:
English (A); French (B); History (C)
2009
AS levels: Music (B); Media Studies (B)
2008
GCSEs: English Language (A); English
Literature (A); French (A); German
(B); Mathematics (C); History (A);
Geography (C); Biology (B); Music (A)
WORK EXPERIENCE
• If you don’t have much experience at this
stage, list it all – even if you don’t feel it’s
“relevant” – and highlight the skills you have
gained from it
• If you have a lot of experience, you may:
– Separate it into “law-related” and “other”
– Summarise the less-relevant experience
• “Experience” doesn’t just mean “paid work”
– include volunteering, work-shadowing etc
if you like
WORK EXPERIENCE
Summer 2011
Bulstrode Insurance Ltd, Lowick
Clerical Assistant: data inputting, liaison with clients;
general office duties
This developed my skills in dealing with business
customers, chiefly over the telephone, and in working
accurately under pressure.
Summer 2010
Hawleys, Middlemarch
Two-week work placement with a partner in the property
department of a general practice solicitors' firm. I carried
out research in relation to a boundary dispute, attended
Court and observed interviews with clients.
2008 - 2010
Flora Motley Ltd, High Street,
Middlemarch
Saturday Sales Assistant in fashion store:
customer service, stock control, cash
handling. This involved me in advising and
assisting customers, coping with problems
and unexpected situations (such as a fire
alarm) and taking responsibility for
counting up and banking money.
INTERESTS AND ACTIVITIES
• Anything a bit “different” or “interesting” in
this section can help you to stand out from
other candidates
• These can also demonstrate your skills and
competencies
• Don’t worry, though, if you have little to put
in this section provided that other sections
(especially work experience) can
compensate
• Make your interests interesting!
INTERESTS AND ACTIVITIES
Music
I play the violin in the University orchestra
and was leader of the school orchestra.
Sport
Badminton (member of the University
badminton club); tennis (played for the
school team) swimming; trampolining.
Car
Looking after my twenty-year-old Mini and
Maintenance meeting other Mini owners at rallies
Travel
Summer 2011 - two-week international
voluntary workcamp in Spain
One month Inter-Railing through France and
Italy in summer 2010
Tours with school orchestra to France,
Belgium and Norway.
SKILLS
This section should include just your practical,
relevant and work-related skills, such as:
SKILLS
Languages
Good command of French and
German
Computing
Familiar with Windows
packages including MS Word,
MS Access and Internet Explorer
Driving
Full, clean driving licence
REFERENCES
• Give the name and contact details of two
referees
• If you have run out of space on the CV you
can just say “references available on
request”
• Ideally, one academic and one work-related
or character reference
• ALWAYS ask permission before giving
someone’s name as a referee!
COVERING LETTERS
Introduce yourself:
-
what are you applying for?
where did you hear about the firm?
Sell yourself:
-
your motivation
your past experience
your skills
your knowledge of law/of this firm
your ability to communicate effectively in writing!
Provide essential information:
-
your availability
refer the reader on to your CV/form
FURTHER HELP AND INFORMATION
• Making Applications - Careers Service booklet
• Making Applications - AGCAS booklet
• AGCAS DVDs - Looking Good on Paper (CVs)
and Your Job’s On-Line (application forms)
• www.kent.ac.uk/careers/interviews/lawAppsIVs.htm
• TARGET Jobs http://targetjobs.co.uk/career-sectors/lawsolicitors/applications-and-interviews advice from graduate
recruiters in the legal sector
GOOD LUCK!
Careers Advisory Service
Opening hours: 9am - 5pm
Monday – Friday
http://www.kent.ac.uk/careers
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