Travelling and training contract prospects

Dear Oracle

I am planning to take some time out to travel before taking the Legal Practice Course – will this affect my chances of a training contract in the future?

The Oracle replies

Taking time out to travel will not have a negative impact on your career prospects. If anything – and provided that not all of the experience is completely debauched – it will furnish you with valuable experiences and stories which you can talk about in your applications and at interview. It’s great to experience other cultures and ways of life, and hopefully you will learn a few things along the way.

However, this is not to say that travelling is an essential step to securing a training contract. Circumstances mean that some people are simply not able to go travelling at this point in their lives, and they should not be at a disadvantage to those privileged enough to be able to drop everything and go. The Oracle remembers one law firm being called out for asking candidates to describe an experience that they have had while travelling on its application form in the past, but this kind of flagrant disregard for equality and meritocracy is elitist, ignorant and unacceptable in 2018 – any firms still peddling this attitude should be called out for doing so.

The opportunity to go travelling is a fantastic one that should be seized, and on its own it will neither secure you a training contract nor prevent you from landing one. Like all constructive experiences, what you do while travelling may well be worth a mention in future applications, but those who do not go travelling before launching their careers should not see themselves as at a disadvantage, as they will have other experiences to draw on which are just as valuable. Ultimately, successfully securing a training contract will be influenced by your academic and personal achievements and competence, your legal and non-legal work experiences – and the skills you gained from them – and your knowledge of and passion for the law, whether you have been travelling or not.

For informative examples of solicitors from various backgrounds at all kinds of firm, see LCN’s Meet the Lawyer section. 

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