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The autumn/winter application cycle is in full swing

The autumn/winter application cycle is in full swing

The Abled Lawyer


Reading time: three minutes

The nights have drawn darker, the candles are lit and many pumpkin-spiced lattes will be drunk during this season. Importantly, the autumn/winter application cycle for training contracts and vacation schemes is now in full swing.  

When applying for training contracts I like to create a routine and structure my approach. If you're about to commence this process, I’ve shared a few of my tips below that may help you to start your application process.

  1.  Shortlist your firms

I’d recommend choosing around four to five firms. It’s important to be realistic about how many firms you can apply to during this round. You could apply to lots of firms, however, you then run the risk of submitting a generic application that won’t be tailored to any firm.  

  1. Look at upcoming deadlines for applications

Rank your shortlisted  firms in order of priority of the firms you want to apply to, and then use LawCareers.Net’s deadline tracker for vacation schemes and training contracts to see which deadlines are upcoming.

Top tip: ensure you have an LCN account and keep all your deadlines in one place using the MyCalendar feature.

  1.  Attend events

Look for any events your shortlisted firms they’re hosting or attending, for example open days and law fairs. Attending events such as these is a great way to meet solicitors from the various firms and their graduate recruitment teams. It’s important to note that some firms record their events and post them online, so when you get a chance try to give these a listen too.

Top tip: remember to try to post about the event afterwards on social media but make sure you’re saying something meaningful. Try commenting on what you found interesting, what you learned or who you met.

  1.  Create a word document to list out all application questions

It’s incredibly helpful to create and list of all the questions from the firm’s application form in a Microsoft Word document, for example. You can then use this to draft your application throughout the next coming months and take each question one at a time before submitting it. This will allow you enough time to prepare your responses and seek valuable feedback.

Top tip: you may see some similarities in the questions asked!

  1. Create another word document to list your skills and experiences

There are certain skills recruiters want to see in their future solicitors such as communication, organisation and attention to detail. Firms will want to see your skills demonstrated in your written applications and within your interview answers. One thing that helped me with previous job applications involved creating a list of the necessary skills and adding my key experiences to them to demonstrate how I had used that skill. Your skill set will start to build over time and can be used when writing your applications, particularly the section on work experience.

  1.  Seek feedback on your written applications

If you’re a current university student, try to seek feedback from your careers service. My university runs sessions on CVs, cover letters and application reviews, which are incredibly beneficial.

Want to know more? Check out this LCN Says on five things your university’s careers service can help you with.

Hopefully, these initial steps will help you to kickstart your application season. Good luck!