As part of our "Lost Footage" series of video interviews (recorded in 2010 and disastrously mislaid) comes this gem with Marie-Louise Orre, a City LPC graduate. She talks us through her life as a shipping lawyer, covering what drew her to law, offering interview tips, discussing commercial awareness and the importance of a great academic record with interests outside of law.
Happy New Year!
I hope you all enjoyed the break and have arrived back ready to face the testing times ahead.
If you followed my advice in November you will have made your focused and timely applications and be waiting eagerly for the emails and letters inviting you to take part in the range of tests and activities which firms have put in place to select their future stars.
The range of these is increasing year on year so much so that I am doing a blog on the topic in both January and February .
My focus this month and next is to help you predict what these might be and prepare yourself.
Online ability tests
These are commonly used these days as the first sift, generally you will face all or one of the following:
And this year’s new entrant ......................Tests of Deductive/Inductive reasoning
So what's the bad news...?
These tests have been rigorously developed to ensure they measure an actual ability rather than something which can be improved by repeatedly taking the test as such you cannot substantially improve your score with practice. However I do have some tips which will help you show your true ability when doing these...
LLB1 student, Ghazi, reviews a talk by Robert Sutton (Senior Adviser at Macfarlanes) about the City legal market, past, present, and future, in which Robert shared some of his experiences of City Law.
Robert divided his talk into categories:
A. At the firm
B. Information about the law firm
C. Qualities which a lawyer should have
A – At the firm:
When doing interviews, Robert expresses how important it is for you as an applicant to be proactive and ask the firm questions.
Thus being confident is very important. Here are a few examples of questions you could pose to the firm:
1. What is training like?
2. The impact of outsourcing adopted by the law firms on young lawyers/trainees: Keep in mind how important Outsourcing is in terms of increasing efficiency and cutting costs.
3. What is the turnover? Keep in mind, the higher the worse.
4. Where do profits go? Are they ‘retained’ back into the firm? If yes ask by how many percent, if not ask why?
-Talk to participating solicitors at the firm:
This helps you to see the firm through the eyes of the lawyers (generally, this is a more accurate approach). Ask them of how they’re treated? Do partners treat trainees well? This helps in assessing the motivation and atmosphere of the firm.
Getting an edge
You’ve done your due diligence and submitted your training applications. Now you can breathe a sigh of relief and get on with the business of the LPC while you are waiting for the invitations to interview to roll in. But don’t waste this opportunity to give your interview that extra edge.
You want law firms to be interested in you, but they also want to feel that you are truly interested in them. The impression that most law firms want to give is that they are solid enterprises, concerned with the problems of their clients but with few real difficulties of their own. Look beneath the surface, however, and you will find that legal decisions and government policy may be giving them real cause for concern. During interview you will sometimes be asked questions that apparently have nothing to do with your CV or your motivations for becoming a lawyer.
The Macfarlanes Dinner organised by the City University Law Society at 'Smiths of Smithfield' restaurant on the 17th February 2009 was certainly one worth going for. With £25 per head, and free flowing drinks, Macfarlanes invested both their time and wealth of knowledge to 15 very lucky City University students.
Sharing a table with three trainees at different levels, a partner and a graduate from City University now on the LPC provided an excellent opportunity to understand what life might be like as a trainee at Macfarlanes. It surely provided the students with an opportunity to learn some of the much sought after skills and dare I say hat tricks needed for application forms and interview.
Even if you know for certain that you want to apply for pupillage during the GDL, with such a hectic schedule, preparing for Pupillage Portal in advance can easily be overlooked. However it is never too soon to start planning ahead! In fact, it can be a huge advantage. To help in the process, here are a few ideas that might be worth considering:
Preparing for the application process
Start off by thinking about the areas of practice you would be interested in. Most of you will already know; but if not, many begin by asking whether they want to be part of the criminal bar or not. This not only narrows the sets to trawl through, but will probably also alter your priorities for the forthcoming year. For example, those applying for ‘crime’ are generally under a higher expectation than their civil counterparts to have experience in mooting, understanding of the features of the criminal system and a particular interest in the Criminal Law module of the course. It is of course entirely possible that you will want to have a mixed criminal and civil practice, but even then the above requirements would probably still stand.
Craig's interview is wide-ranging; offering Future Lawyer readers an insight into how Craig's career in law has panned out, from his experience of studying at City, becoming a commercial lawyer, right through to his current role as author of The Ultimate Guide to Training Contract Success and creator of The Ultimate Law Guide website.
Craig has developed The Ultimate Law Guide to help students sketch their path out to a training contract - his website offers the following snapshot of his mission:
We are a team of qualified solicitors, who were the first in our families to go to university and come from backgrounds not traditionally associated with law. We beat all the odds to achieve our ambitions of becoming lawyers at leading law firms, and now want to give back - by helping to inspire the next generation of talented students to get-ahead and successfully forge careers in law.
Hot content in this interview includes Craig's tips for training contract interview, the most difficult question he's been asked at interview and some thoughts on demonstrating commercial awareness successfully.
To find out more about Craig - read the piece featured in The City Law School's In Law Magazine Spring 2009
As a City Law School alumni, Keith Abel (of Abel & Cole organic fruit and vegetable distributors) is interviewed for City, the magazine for friends and supporters of City University London.
Find out how the business started, how his ethos developed, his views on higher education and what's he's been up to since selling the business 2 years ago.
Keith has strong words of advice for those graduates facing a tough jobs market.
Get inspired here!
See another piece on Keith from 2007 on thisismoney.co.uk
In terms of life experiences, going to China and learning a new language, culture, and perspective on life was the best thing I could have ever done. I believe that it also helped me indirectly to secure the all valuable training contract.
This is how: Having to compete with the sheer number of training contract applicants, I had to do something to catch the eye of prospective employers.
When I was 17 years old I was convinced by an uncle to get as much work experience as possible for my CV. So, I set myself to this course during the first year of A-Levels, all the way through to my final year at Law School. I did everything from 2 days, 2 weeks and up to 2 months at different law firms. The most frustrating aspect of this accumulation of life experiences was that I didn't get paid a penny. I did, however, gain a wide range of work-related experiences from asset tracing at a magic circle firm to attending police stations for a High Street firm.