My year of applications

The training contract deadline period for application has now passed for another year. It appears that I have been unsuccessful again this year in securing a training contract, which means that if I am successful next year, I am looking at a 2007 start.

I thought it would be useful to give an overview of this year’s applications and rejections and non responses. So here goes, “a year in the life of a rejected candidate”.

I applied to Capsticks, a law firm in Putney, London, for a vacation placement and training contract. I received a reply on 1 March, rejecting me.

April was a particularly successful month, as I was called for two interviews out of five applications. I sent off an application to Stone Rowe Brewer on 1 April, but was rejected. On 19 April I sent one to Mary Ward Legal Centre, and was called to attend a written test on 28 April. A week later, I received a letter to say that they were inviting me for an interview on 11 May. I was not successful.

I also applied to Islington Law Centre, and had no reply. I emailed Harding Evans in Newport enquiring about training contracts at their firm on 26 April, to which a reply was received on 27 April stating that it was the wrong time of year to apply, but that if I emailed my CV, they would keep it on file for the next round of applications. I also sent off a very last minute application to Hillingdon Law Centre on 19 April, at the last minute because I’d only arrived home from New York the day before. They did call me for interview on 27 April. I didn’t get the training contract, but they did say that I was one of three of the strongest candidates out of six, and was pipped at the post by another candidate who had a bit more experience than me.

I sent applications to Swansea City and Borough County Council and to Bridgend County Borough Council this month. I did not receive a reply from Bridgend, and did not hear anything from Swansea until 31 August, inviting me to attend a presentation and short interview. Unfortunately, I was on holiday at the time, and they would not reschedule. If I had been able to attend, I would have had to travel approximately 5 hours each way to Swansea to attend a 5 minute presentation and 20 minute short interview, and if they liked me, I would have had to go back for a final interview. Perhaps it was a good thing that I couldn’t go!

I applied to Lawcomm Solicitors in Southampton, but was unsuccessful.

July was an incredibly busy month applications-wise. I applied to a total of 12 firms, in the following order: Cartwright & Lewis in Birmingham, Stone Rowe Brewer in Twickenham, the Government Legal Service, Charles Russell, Edwards Geldard in Cardif, RadcliffesLeBrasseur, Bevan Ashford in Bristol, MLM Solicitors in Cardiff, Thomas Graham in Cardiff, Hugh James in Cardiff, Morgan Cole in Cardiff, and Eversheds LLP in Cardiff.

I was called to an interview for the Government Legal Service, but was unable to go because of a holiday in Majorca, and they would not reschedule. This wasn’t a huge loss because this was only a “guaranteed” interview, as I ticked the box saying that I’m “disabled”. Still, I could have a training contract by now.

I am still waiting to hear decisions from Cartwright & Lewis and RadcliffesLeBrasseur. The others have either rejected me or have simply not bothered to reply. So that was a waste of time. Each application form takes on average about two to three hours to complete, which makes you wonder whether it’s really all worth it.

Even though July was exhausting, I still managed to apply to six places this month: Beachcroft Wansbroughs, Olswang, Lovells, Clyde & Co, Simmons and Simmons and Surrey County Council.

The only success of a sort was Surrey County Council, who offered me an interview on 3 September 2004. The interview was a great success, and they would have called me for a second interview, but of course, I was on holiday, and they couldn’t wait for my return. So that was another opportunity wasted. The other firms listed did not even give me an interview, nor did they give me any feedback, apart from Beachcroft Wansbroughs who were really helpful.

Bearing in mind that most of the deadlines tend to be in July and August of every year, the number of applications I will be completing every month from now on until the new year will be relatively low (a good thing perhaps!). In September I applied to CVS Solicitors LLP and Capital Law. I have yet to receive a reply from either of them.

I applied to Deighton Guedella, a civil rights firm in Islington, London. I’ve still yet to hear from them.

To sum up, I have completed a total of 30 applications this year, from which I obtained just three interviews. On top of this, I applied for numerous paralegal jobs, both in Wales and London, and only obtained one interview, which went really well, but I was pipped to the post by someone with a bit more experience, again.

Is it any wonder that so many law graudates give up trying to get a training contract?