Can I work at another firm in between finishing my LPC and starting my training contract?

Dear Oracle

I’m fortunate to have secured a training contract while I’m studying the LPC and I’m wondering what to do with the intervening year between finishing the course and starting my training contract. Would my firm frown on me gaining further experience as a paralegal at a different firm?

The Oracle replies

Firms appreciate that many future trainees need to work to support themselves during the two years in between accepting an offer and starting a training contract. This is often especially important for those who have completed/nearly completed their legal studies when they secure a TC.

All options are valid, whether you’re working in a call centre for six months in order to save up to go travelling, or pursuing legal work experience opportunities in preparation for life as a trainee. As you are set on the latter, the first thing you should do is ask the relevant contacts at your law firm if they have any suggestions. There may be an opportunity to work as a paralegal in one of the firm’s departments, while we also know that some future trainees who contact their firms about pre-training contract opportunities have been set up with paralegal placements at one of the firm’s clients.

If no such vacancies are available, it shouldn’t be a problem to cast your net wider for paralegal opportunities not related to your firm. Just check with the HR team that this is alright – it’s good to be open and transparent about your plans.

It is worth noting that is not essential to pursue legal work experience in between finishing the LPC and starting your training contract – you won’t be at a disadvantage if you don’t. However, pretty much all legal experience is useful and a good addition to your CV.

One last thing to be aware of – you may find that paralegal opportunities are more limited for people who are definitely going to leave to start a training contract after a year. That said, fixed-term and temporary paralegal vacancies do come up fairly regularly.

You can apply for a range of immediate start legal vacancies, including paralegal roles and training contracts, through the LCN Jobs board.

See this previous Oracle answer for more advice on finding postgrad work experience opportunities.

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