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Meet the recruiter

Samantha Bracey

Samantha Bracey

Samantha Bracey is the future talent advisor at TLT. She is based in the Bristol office and joined the firm just over a year ago. 

Is TLT running vacation schemes in 2020-21?

Yes, we are. We are hoping to run normal, physical vacation schemes but if we cannot do this due to covid-19 we will be running them virtually.

If virtual – what should candidates expect from the virtual scheme?

The schedule of the virtual vacation scheme (if required) is still being planned. That said, students can still expect to go into a team of their choice and get involved with real client work. There will be lots of video calls, workshops and assessments throughout the week as normal so candidates can still apply for our training contract via that route. There will also still be an interview and presentation assessment, both would be via an online platform.

What advice would you give to candidates who will be participating in a virtual vacation scheme?

I would urge successful applicants to give it their all. A virtual vacation scheme is just as important as an in-person scheme. If you are interested in certain areas, then still reach out to our lawyers and trainees to develop an understanding of the firm in that way. You can still network via virtual vac schemes so send emails or arrange Zoom chats – lawyers at the firm will still be really interested in talking to vac scheme candidates in the same way they would be during a face-to-face scheme.

Will the firm be decreasing the size of its trainee intake due to the impact of covid-19?

TLT’s future talent recruitment planning is still business as usual.

Does you firm run a vacation scheme? (How many – winter, summer, one specifically for first years?)

In England we have offices in London, Bristol and Manchester where we hold a spring and summer vacation scheme. In Glasgow we run only a summer one and Belfast is on a slightly different timescale, so we run their vacation scheme in September.

How important is your vacation scheme as part of the recruitment process?

The vacation scheme is an important part of the recruitment process as it is the best way for aspiring solicitors to get to know the firm and make sure it is right for you, in a way that you wouldn’t be able to on a one-day training contract assessment day. However, we do recognise that not everyone can attend a vacation scheme for a week or two, so we have brought our training contract deadline forward so we can bring all assessment centres in line with the vacation scheme assessments.

The vac scheme is also an opportunity for the firm to get to know you – it is definitely a two-way process.

What key skills does your firm look for in candidates when they apply?

TLT looks for a great team player, someone who is enthusiastic, willing to learn and get stuck in. We of course want our lawyers to be academically bright, but they must also be commercially agile in their thinking – for example, able to identify solutions for clients and apply the law in that sense.

What is the most common way that candidates let themselves down in their applications?

The most common way that I have seen a candidate let themselves down is by not talking about themselves enough. We do something called strength-based interviewing, which is all about showing examples of things that you have done – this could include previous work experience, as well as university or personal experiences. Candidates do themselves an injustice when they stop talking too soon. If you have something that you think is a good fit for that question, I would really encourage applicants to explain their experience in detail – talk about what you achieved and how you achieved it.

Should candidates use examples of non-legal work experience in their applications?

Transferrable skills are very important. Even if you haven’t been able to get legal experience but you have worked in hospitality, for example, you will likely have developed those interpersonal skills that are essential for building client relationships.

How important is it for candidates to show they have researched the firm? What key things about your firm should any good candidate be able to talk about?

Researching a firm will help you to tailor your application, which will subsequently indicate a genuine interest in the firm, rather than peppering lots of firms with applications. When applying to TLT, it’s important that applicants are aware of our different sectors and sector-based approach and not get confused with practice areas.

How important is commercial awareness and how can candidates show they have this skill in their applications?

Commercial awareness is an important skill that candidates must showcase. Clients don’t just want generic advice – our lawyers need to be able to consider how a client can apply such advice to its business. To successfully showcase this skill in an application, it’s important that candidates don’t just make a statement about the commercial world, but also explain why they think that and why they have come to that conclusion.

There are several resources available for aspiring solicitors to use to expand their commercial awareness, including the Financial Times. TLT have also contributed articles to LawCareers.Net’s Commercial Question section and having read our articles and other firms’ these are a great way for students to see how lawyers use their commercial awareness and what they think of different subjects.

Will you be attending any virtual law fairs this autumn?

Yes, we have quite a lot planned and will be present at a number of virtual law fairs this autumn. TLT was at the University of Glasgow virtual fair at the end of September and we will be at the AllAboutLaw virtual law fair week, various Aspiring Solicitors’ fairs, Legal Cheek fairs and various university fairs.

What is your main objective when you go to a law fair?

Our main objective is to answer questions from candidates who have heard of us before but also to raise awareness of TLT and our brand. We are currently a mid-market firm so it’s really important to me that we advertise what we can offer to aspiring solicitors that may not have heard of us, giving them an alternative option to consider.

Before speaking to you at a law fair, how much should a candidate have researched the firm? Is it different for first years compared to second and third years?

If you are coming to a law fair having already heard about TLT before, I would recommend doing some research. One of the hardest questions for us to answer at these fairs is “can you tell us a bit about your firm?” because there is so much for us to tell you. So, it’s worth coming with specific questions about the application process, certain sectors or work that the trainees do, for example.

However, if you haven’t heard of us before but see us at a law fair, it is absolutely fine to approach us if you haven’t done any research. Law fairs are a great opportunity for you to learn about different firms, speak to people you have not met before and get a better idea of the type of firm you would like to train in.

If you’re in your second or third year of university, it is likely that you have been to one or two law fairs before and will have met law firms on campus, so will have more of an idea about what questions to ask. Freshers shouldn’t be put off going to law fairs – everyone at TLT is really friendly and we love to speak to interested candidates and answer any questions we can.

What advice would you give to anyone interested in a career at TLT firm?

Candidates interested in a career at TLT should use their resources to talk to people, such as LinkedIn. We also have a graduate inbox, so you can email me any questions. Come and meet us at law fairs. We will be doing some future talent webinars as well, which you can sign up to. It’s just really important that you try to meet us at every opportunity because it will really give you things to write about and talk about in your application, at the assessment centre and during the vac scheme.

We love to see applicants with a real can-do attitude and enthusiasm to train with TLT.

You can register for the TLT Future Talent Webinars here.

What's your guilty pleasure?

Sometimes I will get a nice loaf of bread and eat an entire camembert to myself while watching a film or documentary on Netflix.